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Best Practices for Firms Using Executive Recruiters

Executive hires are without a doubt among the most important hires that will happen in the lifetime of your company. Often, they are key decision-makers and finding the right candidate can help propel your company forward. Knowing this, here are five best practices to help you prepare and make the most of your experience with your executive recruiters.

Understand the Model of the Firm

There are two common models that search firms follow: retained or contingency. It is important to realize the differences that come with these models in order to make the best-suited choice for your company’s growth.

Contingency: Contingency search firms have payment structures that are — as the name indicates — contingent. When working with a contingency firm, you will only pay their fees upon the successful placement of a candidate. Don’t be fooled by the upfront low-cost of this. Due to the payment structure, while this often drives faster placement of candidates, there tends to be a lack of thoroughness and detail orientation.

Retained: Retained search firms work on retainer and often come with exclusivity especially in a given industry. Unlike contingency firms, retained firms receive payments throughout the engagement, not exclusively upon candidate placement. Because these firms are not racing to the placement finish line, they are motivated to partner more closely with their client. Retained search firms provide a much more attentive and consultative approach, helping ensure that they find the best possible executive candidate for your role.

DSML Executive Search follows a retained search model, however, we also believe in offering our clients customized pricing models to fit each client’s unique needs, including fixed fee and subscriptions solutions.

Consider Areas of Expertise

While all executive search firms specialize in filling executive roles, some specialize even further. It’s important to understand the expertise of any search firm you are considering hiring. Specialization areas include geography, company stage and size, industry, departments, and of course, seniority.

For example, here at DSML Executive Search, we specialize in helping European companies find the managerial talent they need for their growth in the US. We bridge the gap for by finding the right U.S.-based candidates to work with European headquarters to enable prosperous growth. We work within industries like industrial manufacturing, food, and beverage, life sciences, to name a few.

Know Your Company

Before calling upon an executive recruiting firm, it’s important to have a clear holistic vision of your company. Ideas like mission, strategy, growth trajectory, position in the marketplace, and competitive landscape need to be clear before enlisting an executive recruiting firm.

The better you know your company’s big picture, the better your recruiting firm will know your company too. At DSML we acquire information about our clients through several stages to ensure we really know your business well.

Clarity is Key

You want to give your recruiter as much information as possible not only about your company but about your expectations. Having a clear sense of priority, timeline and stakeholders will enable a successful client-firm relationship. Here are some questions DSML recommends your company seek clarity around and have answered to share with your executive recruiting firm:

● What are your objectives for this role?
● What is the company culture? What is the candidate looking for in a company culture?
● What is management like? Who will this potential candidate be working with most closely?
● What does the interview process look like?
● What is your ideal hiring timeline? What urgency is there surrounding filling this role? In today’s competitive market, companies often need to be willing to act quickly.
● Where are the growth opportunities? What are some of your biggest challenges?

Communicate Openly and Frequently

Communicate frequently with your recruiting firm. As the search continues, while business needs to continue as usual, keep the lines of communication open. Provide your recruiting firm with as much information as possible. In the end, the more information and more frequently that you can communicate with them, the better chances are that the executive recruiting firm will fill the role with the right candidate.

Above all else, in order to maintain a successful firm-recruiter relationship, transparency is key. It serves neither party involved in the partnership to see the other a bill of goods. The more honest and transparent communication within the partnership, the higher likelihood you have of seeing role fulfillment and successful candidate placement.

Contact us today to kick off your success-based search strategy if your company is seeking to recruit for a key position, such as CEO, COO, President, VP, or another senior-level role.

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