We are constantly being asked by potential new clients to differentiate BarkerGilmore from our competitors. While it may not seem difficult to find an executive search firm, keep in mind that hiring a firm can be compared to hiring an in-house counsel or compliance officer; it takes a little work and investigation to find the right fit, but it will pay off in the end.
In addition to credentials and a stellar track record, chemistry between the firm and your organization plays a big role in the deciding factor of selecting a firm. After the execution of a search agreement, a search assignment requires three to four months of constant collaboration between the executive search consultant and the hiring authority. The chemistry and relationship formed between the two really need to work. Beyond a strong sense of trust that the search team has the capability of recruiting and assessing the best possible talent, there must be an unwavering commitment to trust, transparency, and ethics from both sides. Throughout the duration, the search consultant will interact with the candidate considerably more often than client company representatives. Any discovery which may lead to the disqualification of the candidate must be raised and evaluated. This can be painful at times but learning about a potential issue early in the process will save a lot of time in the long run. You need to be able to trust that your executive search consultant has your best interests in mind and can deliver exactly what you need.
Metrics are often useful when evaluating a firm. We track metrics in three-year cycles. Some search firms use a shorter duration, but three years is a more stringent measure. The metrics that seem to matter most over a three-year period include:
- Success rate of successfully completing search assignments
- Placed candidate “stick rate”
- Percentage of women and diversity placements
- Time to completion
- Post-search customer satisfaction rating
Some hiring authorities choose to evaluate search firms based on sheer volume of placements, while others prefer the high level of service and craftsman-like approach of a boutique firm such as BarkerGilmore. Flexibility of the firm and customizability of the process are key to getting the right fit. No two searches — even for the same company — are exactly the same, so why should your recruiting solution be? Boutique firms are also not weighed down with hands-off lists limiting outreach and tend to offer a better value overall.
The bottom line is that an executive search should be an exciting time where a company can meet incredible people who can bring a new perspective, elevate the role of the incumbent and/or develop an entirely brand-new role. Next time you hire a search firm to recruit an in-house counsel or compliance officer, ask discerning questions to reveal the answers you need to make an informed decision before you sign on the dotted line.