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How to set up your search for success

We’ve seen a clear pattern amongst searches that result in success versus searches that result in failure. Here are the elements that will almost always result in a successful hire:

The company's leadership is aligned and supports the search.

  • The organization’s senior leadership team is aligned on the need and actively supports the search initiative 

  • The organization’s CEO supports a consistent process even at executive levels 

The need is well-defined.

The most common reason we see searches drag on or fail is that the need is not well understood or defined. This can result in wasted time sourcing irrelevant candidates, and worse, passing on the right ones. Before starting your search, ensure:

  • Purpose of the search is clear

  • Reporting relationships are clear

  • Location and job features are established 

  • Criteria for culture fit are measurable 

  • We know where this role fits within the organization 

  • There is consensus on the above points across the stakeholders:  the hiring manager, executives, superiors, and peers understand and agree on the specific need

Compensation expectations are realistic. 

  • You, or your search partner, has a good understanding of the market compensation for similar roles

  • You can persuasively articulate the value of joining your company beyond the financial compensation 

You’ve partnered with the right search firm. 

The best search firm for you should not only have experience and knowledge of your industry, but should be willing to provide guidance and insight when needed for the greater good of the search, rather than just wishing to please the hiring manager. 

  • Knows the client’s organization

  • Knows the industry well 

  • Has relevant, recent experience 

  • Has capacity to make the search a priority 

  • Has access to a deep and broad talent pool

  • Will represent your organization well 

  • Is client-service driven

  • Can add value beyond filling the position with market intelligence and other consultative information 

Rigorous search that goes beyond LinkedIn.

  • Extensive sourcing strategies to reach the top players 

  • Unique, creative efforts to find diverse prospects 

  • Going above and beyond finding “the usual suspects” to ensure we’re bringing fresh talent to the organization 

Persuasive candidate development strategy.

  • Recruiters have the skills to generate interest among the most difficult-to-attract candidates

  • Pursuit of out-of-box possibilities

Expectations are clear, but flexible if need be.

  • Job description should be specific and complete

  • Compensation range is set, but realistically flexible

  • Time frame is understood (a good search takes at least 3-4 months)

Solid interview process.

  • Consistent, structured behavioral interviews 

  • Immediate feedback after each candidate interview 

Excellent candidate experience.

  • Candidates are treated like customers 

  • Candidates leave the process with a positive perception of the company regardless of the outcome

  • Top executives have many options; providing a great candidate experience is crucial to keeping the strongest candidates engaged in our process

  • Talent decisions are made quickly and aren’t drawn out 

Effective communication.

  • Regular, clear and concise updates

  • Tracking where each candidate stands at any given moment in time 

  • Updates on what the search firm is hearing in the market 

  • Coordination of roles (i.e. who is responsible for checking references, background checks, etc.) 


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