When providing an executive level search, several areas must be addressed; for example, a thorough understanding of the client company, obtaining a clear definition of the position, conducting research of the best candidates, evaluating those identified candidates, presenting the candidates to the client, and finally dealing with the offer process. Each of these areas is vital to the overall success of the search. In every successful search, there is a work effort required by the client as well as the search firm. This joint participation ultimately ensures that both parties have a congruent thought process regarding how to get the very best candidate in the desired position.
In all successful executive level searches, the search firm must have as good and clear of an understanding of the needs of the client company, its culture, business plans and product development, as possible. A potential executive candidate needs as full of an understanding of the client's values, business objectives, history, current corporate structure, financial plan, product development and long-term strategic goals, in order to assess their interest in becoming a serious candidate for the client.
In order to have a productive search, it is vital to have a complete picture of what will be expected of the ideal candidate. This is accomplished through identifying the skill set and responsibilities for the position. In addition, there are usually certain qualities of the individual that are desired by the client, and those too must be as clearly described as possible.
Frequently the client has an idea of what target companies or industries they feel would likely produce an appropriate candidate for them, and those targets will be researched. Based on the "identification" of the ideal candidate, the research and networking process are initiated to create a pool of qualified candidates. The candidates from this "target industry/company" group will be combined with other candidates whose qualifications make them viable for consideration based on the pre-established criteria.
Those candidates are screened through a phone and resume interview process, and the results evaluated to determine which candidates are most likely to be an overall fit for the client's position. This "top grading" process is based upon the initial interview process with the client to ascertain the criteria for the search. At this point, the search firms, with the prior approval of the client company, will either bring in the top two or three candidates for an in-depth interview with the search firm, or a representative of the search firm will travel to the candidate and interview them at their own office. A summary of those "top graded" candidate interviews is then presented to the client for their review. After the client's review, a follow-up discussion regarding those candidates is set, and usually from that meeting the first candidates are picked for initial face to face interviews with the client company.