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How to choose good executive search agency

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Ted Blackwater ▼ | July 25, 2016
Choosing the right executive recruiting firm, or headhunters as they are also called, is an important task if you want your company to be the home of the best executives out there.
Headhunters   A good firm will save you money, time and nerves
You may have your own big human resources department, or you may not, but good executive search firm can't be replaced with anything else. They will relive your people from huge burden of going through numerous CVs, evaluation and interviews. And they will save you a ton of money along the way. At the end, you'll get - most often - three best candidates and it's on you to pick the best.

So, how to choose a good recruiting firm?

First, keep in mind that executive recruiters are not just people looking at CVs and doing interviews, they stand between you and your future managers and they act like your brand ambassadors, shrinks, friend and protectors - one wrong decision may mean millions of dollars spent in vain. Take a look at some numbers companies are paying when top executives are leaving, and you'll get the picture.

On the other hand, headhunters have an indirect influence on your future business. They are presenting you candidates and - although you have the final words - they in a way influence your top management. To make sure they will do the right job, the first question is to ask do they know your company and if they don't how fast they can learn about you.

After that, you should get a straight answer who will be in charge for your company. You don't want a junior employee reading CVs, interviewing and making crucial decisions, you want an experienced senior headhunter with years of experience.

The next question is what resources your company must put on their disposal. Will there be regular meeting, if yes how many, what is the time frame for finding good candidates and - this is especially important - are there companies they work with from which you can't expected candidates because of the firm-company agreement.

During the conversation, try to figure out does the firm understand your company culture and did they work for other companies in your field. Some executive recruiting firms are experts for some industries and it's always better to hire an agency that knows your industry well than an "all in one" firm.

One of the natural question is how long they are in business. Recruitment agencies sometimes have a high turnover so it's important to have experienced people at your disposal, those who are not in the firm while waiting for another job.

You may also ask how many positions they are able to fill in, say, month. Just a few means they are not spectacularly successful, dozens of them means they are not very selective.

After that, set check points. A good agency will have several meetings with you to learn more about your company, several meetings with possible candidates, and they will keep you informed along the way, doing their job without taking too much of your time.

And then, let them work. They will go through all those CVs, look around, search, talk with candidates, conduct interviews, go forth and back, do some background check on the candidates and then they will usually give you three names.

That was said shortly, but good executive recruiting firm will do a tremendous amount of work to find you good people. So, next time when you need a manager, forget an ad and asking around; find yourself a good headhunter agency and go back to your work.

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