If you have never done an executive search before, you may not be sure how to reach out to an executive search consultant for assistance. It’s not hard to do, but having a good understanding of what an executive search firm does. will help you understand what you should expect and what questions you may want to ask.
First, it’s best to evaluate your needs before approaching an executive consultant. To do this, I recommend creating an internal search team. This team of people would act as the search committee and be collectively responsible for determining the purpose of the hire and deciding who to hire.
It is best for this team to include the head of HR as well as the leaders in your company the new executive will report to. For many C-suite positions, this would likely mean the CEO and the head of HR would for the committee. If we are talking about replacing the CEO, then the committee would likely be organized at the board level, usually including the most senior HR executive on the management team.
To be better prepared, here is a list of questions I would recommend agreeing on as a search team, before you talk to an executive search consultant:
- What are the titles role/roles are we hiring for?
- Are we replacing a current standing role or is this a new position? Is there a backstory the search firm should know?
- Does it need to be a confidential search? (is it OK if the current employee knows you are searching for a new candidate for their role?)
- Where will they be working? (onsite/ remote/ hybrid)
- Are there any absolute needs in the skills/qualifications/experience for this role? Do you have a draft copy of the job description to share?
- What does success look like for the placed candidate in the first 3, 6, 12 months?
- Are there factors that would rule out a candidate immediately?
- What is your target compensation for the position? What does the bonus look like? Are there any long-term incentives?
- Who will the position report to?
- Will they have a team reporting to them? If so, what size? How many direct reports vs. indirect?
- What’s your Company size in terms of revenue, number of employees, locations, etc.?
- What types of companies or industries would you like the search firm to focus on? Are there any specific companies to be targeted?
- and this one is very important, but rarely asked: Are there any companies that need to be avoided during the search? Companies that you may have a commercial relationship with that could be negatively impacted if your stole one of their team members?
Of course, you can reach out to an executive search firm with nothing prepared, but be ready for a lot of questions! Some things need to be known by the search firm to get your position filled as quickly as possible with the most highly qualified candidates. Having many of the required questions answered in advance will make the first conversation more productive. Your first and following meetings will go a lot smoother.
Depending on the executive search firm you work with, the process could differ significantly. Some may ask you to complete questionnaires before or after the first meeting. This also can be aided by having the initial conversation with your team, as it will help you complete information requests faster. The better firms will be able to extract from you what is needed through your conversations. Usually, the only extra required from you is the draft position description
Finding the Right Executive Search Consultant to Contact
Most executive search consultants have an industry specialty and may even focus on specific functional roles. I would strongly suggest discussing with your search firm about providing examples of similar positions they have helped fill and providing a sample of relevant clients. When using a search firm, you will enjoy benefits such as:
- The ability to leverage the entire group of global consultants. This can aid you if you have specific geographical needs or if you would benefit from using a collection of functional specialists to help you in your search.
- A more efficient execution of your search as you will be able to benefit from a collection of talent as opposed to that of just one professional.
- The peace of mind that comes with a guarantee of performance. Most executive search firms will stand behind their candidates’ success for at least a year. If the executive is not working out for some reason, a replacement search would be conducted at no additional cost except for relevant expenses, such as travel related to interviewing candidates.
Contact Robert To Get Connected The Best Boyden Partner For Your Business Needs
Global Executive Search Services Boyden Offers
- Executive search (retained executive headhunting)
- Confidential executive search
- Leadership guidance
- Find and build full leadership teams
- help international and domestic expansion
How to Best Reach Out to an Executive Search Consultant or Firm?
With your pre-work prepared, I recommend you reach out to them by their on-site contact us/email/LinkedIn/ or call them. Most search firm websites will break down their team by geography and practice specialty such as industrial, technology, consumer, life science, etc. If you reach out to me by email or my “Contact Robert” form, I can help determine the best course of action. Possible options include:
- Directly conducting the search on your behalf
- Leading a team at Boyden to conduct your search and acting as your main point of contact
- Referring you onto a colleague or team of colleagues who could better assist you
- Help answer any questions you may have
- Request more information from you, to help better understand your specific needs
Depending on what I determine to be the best way forward, I would either call or email you to organize a meeting. If your matter is urgent, please say so in the comment field on the contact form.
Looking for help with your executive search?
Please contact me, I’ll do my best to aid you in your search. I’m Robert Travis, Managing Partner at Boyden and I have 25+years experience in executive search across a wide range of industries and across continents. As mentioned above, I will do my best to help you directly or refer you to a partner or team within Boyden best suited to address your needs.