What do you need to know before partnering with an executive search company?

Paul Merlin our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 01 September 2020
Did you know that passive talent makes up 70% of the global workforce? This means that if your recruitment strategy doesn’t target both active and passive candidates, you might be missing out on the market’s best talent. But what if your strategy is limited by time, resources, or a poor candidate network? What if your in-house recruitment team has been reduced or you don’t know where to find the specific people you’re looking for?  

These are just some of the myriad reasons why organisations choose to partner with specialist executive search firms. Doing so offers so many benefits – but how can you make sure you select the right partner, and what steps do you need to take to do so?  

Understand what executive search is 

Executive search is different from contingency recruiting for more junior level roles. For a start, executive search is all about seeking out the best possible candidate for both the role and the organisation. This includes identifying and approaching passive talent who may not be actively looking for a new role. Different firms will have different approaches, including Hanover’s agile methodology which treats every client on an individual basis and ensures they feel completely involved in the solution delivered. Hanover’s seven-step process is as follows: 

  • Initial information gathering 
  • Proposal agreement 
  • Delivery of candidate mapping 
  • Candidate approaches 
  • Final shortlist presentation 
  • Client interviews 
  • Service review 

How to choose the right executive search partner 

A good executive search partner will act as an extension of your business. They will be able to identify and engage with candidates who are best suited to your organisation, taking the time to understand your requirements and what makes your business unique. Executive search is not about filling an immediate vacancy but rather forming long-term relationships and developing strategies tailored to you, so it’s essential to work with a partner who truly understands and acts as an extension of your organisation.  

You should also consider how an executive recruitment partner can contribute to your overall business goals. For example, if you’re specifically looking to add diverse talent to your senior leadership team, you’ll want to work with a partner that specialises in D&I strategies. If you’ve identified a need for succession planning, look for a partner that can assist with leadership solutions. Whatever your long-term goals look like, share these with your executive recruiter to make sure they can help you achieve them. 

Steps to engaging with an executive recruitment firm 

1. Make a list of requirements you’d like your executive recruitment partner to help with 

2. Set realistic timeframes for the role/s you’re looking to fill  

3. Research the market. You should look for a specialist executive search company that has a deep knowledge of your market, whether that’s banking, life sciences, insurance or another industry vertical. A good executive recruitment partner will be someone you work with time and time again, so make sure they’re a good fit and you’re prepared to build a long-term relationship with them 

4. Ask your selected executive recruitment company for guidance on the external market, including steer on the competition, candidate availability and honest feedback on the challenges and opportunities you’ll likely face when recruiting 

5. Define the search and selection process with the company so you have a full understanding of expectations and timeframes. A good firm will only send you a shortlist of fully vetted candidates they are confident will meet your criteria, but this process – and indeed, the time it takes – will vary from company to company 

6. Don’t be afraid to ask potential recruitment partners for examples of their success, including case studies or industry recognition 

How Hanover can help with your executive search requirements 

At Hanover, we’re experts in executive search. We’ve been voted the number one firm by Executive Grapevine for Financial Services and Retail, and apply our executive search expertise across all our specialist areas. Our swift research and process-led methodology delivers a 90% success rate, often within three weeks of contract signing, and we start every assignment with a deep dive into your preferences, business, background, culture, strategy and team and job profile. We guide you through the process and make sure you feel as included as possible. 

Find out more about Hanover’s executive search solutions here or contact us to find out how we can work together. 

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