What is Executive Search/Headhunting?
First and foremost, both “executive search” and “headhunting” refer to the same specialized service in which companies pay a third party to recruit qualified candidates for high-level positions.
If you’re looking for strategically important roles, namely the C-Suite or middle-level management, an executive search firm (or a “headhunter”) is definitely who you need to work with. Executive search consultants focus on attract experienced experts who not only have the capability but also need to be aligned with your company’s culture and goals.
6 Key Steps in Every Executive Search Process
Though we offer customized solutions to each client, here’re the essential steps in the executive search process that we’ll all go through:
Step 1: Initial meetings
Sure, you’ll meet the search firm for negotiation on terms and conditions, also signing contracts. But here, from the perspective of recruitment experts, these very first interactions are dual-purpose.
From your end, you’ll get a clearer picture of their team – who possibly represent you during the coming recruitments and hire your next talents. So, keep your eyes open.
What’s more, the search consultants also need to gather crucial information about you, namely your structure, future directions, hiring requirements, and timeline, etc. More importantly, they need firsthand experience with your company culture and management styles so that they can find you the best fits.
Step 2: Create a candidate profile and job description
From your specific needs, the search consultants will draft a detailed description that includes every little thing candidates want to know about the job. Responsibility. Qualification. Objective. Compensation. Reporting relationship. Opportunities and challenges. Then, once you already approved, they will use this paper to attract and communicate with candidates.
And to avoid veering off course, they also create a role profile of the perfect match, which is closely related to the description. Some headings in this list can be core competencies, educational and professional experience, characteristics, preferred soft skills, and working styles.
Step 3: Approach candidates
As search consultants already know who to look for, next they’ll determine how to look for them.
Typically, people will think of job boards and ads on social media. But executive search firms gain extra points for their considerable talent pool. Their internal database and broad network will surely speed up the whole executive search process. Not to mention their techniques to proactively approach and recruit passive candidates – who remain employ yet available for new opportunities.
Successfully attract the top-notch? Let’s move to the next step!
Step 4: Shortlist Qualified Candidates
The process of evaluating and sourcing happens concurrently. Applicants will be put through the wringer for both their professional and cultural suitability. There will be multiple appraisals, from phone screening to in-person interviews with the search firm. Also, some candidate assessments or aptitude tests, if required.
During this stage, consultants will follow up regularly, so you always stay involved. Remember to notify them if you have further updates on the role so that they can promptly change tack and maintain the established timeline.
In the end, search consultants will draw up a shortlist of 3-5 first-rate candidates. And now it’s time for you to step in.
Step 5: Interviews with the candidates
Base on their performance from the previous step, you can decide to meet every name on the list or cherry-pick the preferable ones.
The consultants are always open for thorough discussions on the candidates’ qualifications, so feel free to toss around. Their comments possibly hint to some aspects that you want to dig deeper into.
If your perfect match isn’t on this list, then give the consultants clear reasons. It’s essential for the next screenings.
Step 6: Close the executive search process
Finally, we’re here!
When you happily pick out “the one”, the consultants now act as a go-between. They will mediate the job offer and salary negotiation to ensure both sides are happy with the outcomes. They also assist with the onboarding and induction phase to ensure a smooth transition.
Depend on the specific specialty of the position, the entire executive search process can last from 2-3 months. For some, it sounds to be a long and tedious task. But each step is a must if you want to hire for success. After all, it’s much better to be patient than wasting your time, money, and productivity for bad hires, right?