Interpersona Group
Global Executive Search Solutions

Retain A Genuine Search Firm

Unfortunately, many so-called “search” firms don’t conduct a real search. They attempt to find candidates from their database, or job boards or LinkedIn. They only surface superficial candidates, or candidates looking to make a move, which is only a small percentage of the potential target population.

A true search firm will conduct a bespoke search, starting with a thorough research phase where target companies are identified, and then potential target individuals within those businesses. All target individuals are approached in confidence by a professional head-hunter with a compelling opportunity on the client’s behalf.

This approach allows access to all potential candidates and surfaces exceptional individuals who often were not seeking to move when first engaged. This methodology is rigorous, exhaustive & painstaking, and inevitably produces an exceptional shortlist.

Feel Comfortable with your Choice

You will be working closely with the search firm you retain, entrusting them with sensitive information to allow them to engage with, and attract executives, on your behalf.

Are you comfortable with the people you’ve met? Will they be the one’s responsible for delivering on your assignment? Do they have the sector expertise, credibility & gravitas to engage with candidates at the level they search? Are they capable of presenting your company & opportunity to senior candidates in a compelling & persuasive (but not pushy) manner? Are they passionate about your company & the opportunity?

A skilled head-hunter should have the same attributes as the candidates they seek – sector expertise, executive experience, persuasive skills &, above all, be passionate about the opportunity they are presenting. If they’re not passionate about it, the candidate won’t be.

Large Generalist Search Firm or Boutique Search Firm?
Off-Limits Companies

If your search is wide-ranging & targets a large number of direct or peripheral competitors, there’s little point choosing a large search firm which is likely to have off-limits agreements with many of those companies. In a niche market, any potential head-hunter will be unable to approach some firms, but you need to ensure they are free to approach enough to secure talent in sufficient numbers for a strong shortlist.

Boutique search firms work very closely with a few, select clients, and the rest of the pond is their pool to “fish” from. The perfect reason for choosing the right executive search firm and then keeping them very close to you!

Strategic Value-Added Services

The best boutique executive search firms, working tight well-defined niche markets, gather a staggering amount of commercially sensitive information through a properly conducted & rigorous search process.

This includes information such as competitor salary data, new product launches, mergers & acquisitions activity, and competitor penetration into new geographic markets.

Exceptional search firms can offer significant added value to clients by aligning this market intelligence with the more traditional head-hunting skills of discreet market penetration at senior level, thereby providing a powerful combination of competitor information and strategic market intelligence, above & beyond the search they were retained for.

Resources & Search Fees

A professional search firm will request access to your company to allow benchmarking, direct decision-maker contact, and the budget required to conduct a thorough search. Give them these resources to allow them to do an excellent job for you.

The right appointment will produce a return on investment many times the multiple of the search fee. It is short-sighted to reduce fees. This reduces the budget available for a comprehensive search, forces the search firm to take short cuts, compromises the quality of the shortlist, and then neither the search firm nor the client is happy.

If their fees seem low, be suspicious. They are unlikely to conduct a thorough search & may just conduct a database search or a partial search.

There is a reason some “search” firms are cheaper than others – both know the true value of their services!

Agree Time-Frames

A search firm should agree & commit to a time-scale for the assignment in terms of key deliverables:

  • Research phase complete
  • 1st Interviews
  • 2nd Interviews
  • Longlist
  • Shortlist presentation
  • Client interviews
  • Offer stage
  • Start date (taking into account extended notice periods & potential gardening leave)

A professional search firm will keep the client fully appraised of progress between each of these milestones so that clients have confidence that the search is progressing productively & on schedule.

Executive Retention &
Post-Appointment Support

A senior-level search is costly & time-consuming. It's hard to find talented individuals, and even harder to prise them out of their current roles. To lose them after they've joined represents a failure of the search process. So it is critical that the placement proceeds productively, and this is how a professional search firm should judge it’s success. Not just in recruiting talented individuals and ensuring that they join their clients with a motivated & enthusiastic mindset, but also in ensuring their longevity within the organisation, and successful achievement of their targets.

To this end, a search firm should provide the following services:

Rigorous Candidate Evaluation & Assessment - To ensure candidates have the right personality, attributes & culture fit to enable both longevity & target achievement at their new organisation.

Post-Appointment Support - The search firm should engage with both clients & candidates, quarterly for the 1st year at 1, 3, 6 & 12 months, post-candidate commencement, to ensure that both parties feel the placement is proceeding productively. Should the candidate express concerns, these should be discussed with the client to ensure they are rectified before insurmountable issues arise

A Thank You

To thank you for reading our article, we would like to offer you the following 2 opportunities:

Undertake a bespoke piece of consulting for you - a unique piece of research such as:

  • Market mapping
  • The evolving management structure of a chosen market competitor (off-limits agreements apply)
  • Uncovering mergers & acquisition opportunities
  • Or an alternative piece of research of your choice
  • We will offer this on a significantly discounted "cost-only" basis to just cover our overheads, with no profit margin, to demonstrate our unique capabilities

A completely confidential discussion with our Group CEO, Dr. Sachdev, to explore either:

  • Corporate strategy development & key strategic hires over the next 24 months
  • Advancing your own career & exploring potential opportunities

All discussions are in absolute confidence.

To take advantage of either of these opportunities, click here.

Why InterPersona Group?

We share important common ground with our clients: a passion & understanding for our chosen market sectors.

We assemble dedicated specialist search teams, experienced in high-level executive search within your market sector. This allows us to quickly pinpoint & attract executives from both direct competitors and, where appropriate, parallel talent from related markets sectors.

Our ethos is that with good people, everything is possible. And without them, nothing happens. We apply that philosophy not only to recruiting exceptional individuals for our clients, but also to our own teams. Our people have extensive senior management experience, often at board level in the sectors we operate, and bring this expertise to bear on the searches they conduct. So we bring credibility, knowledge & experience to our clients, and apply these attributes to every candidate we engage with on behalf of our clients.

Investing in the right people is paramount to an organisation's success. Investing in the RIGHT search firm, to find those people in the first place, is no less important.

About the Author

Image of Harpreet Sachdev

Dr. Harpreet Sachdev has more than 25 years of experience in board-level Executive Search. He is the founder & CEO of InterPersona Group (IPG), a global Executive Search firm, and the former Managing Director of a division of a £500m FTSE 250 business, running operations across Europe, Asia Pacific & North America.

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