Best Executive Search Firms: 5 Tips to Find Them in the USA

Whatever the size and nature of your business, the one thing you’ve learned along the way is that talent and leadership are the true markers of real success. Attracting, rewarding and keeping the right people on board and ensuring their commitment to your success can be one of the biggest challenges that you face.

Apart from finding the right talent, you also need to make sure that this person syncs seamlessly and comfortably with your goals, values, ethics and aspirations as a company.

Leadership is important, but so is the right kind of leadership.

In the early years of growth, businesses focus more on brand building, product development, marketing and financials.

As the business matures, puts down roots and begins to expand, the original team may disband or it require different elements to sustain it.

Finding C-suite executives requires much more than what your in-house recruitment department can provide. This is where you need the services of highly connected, experienced and capable professional executive search firms.

Why Should You Partner With An Executive Search Firm?

Drive Growth: The very fact that you feel the need to take your business to the next level is a good indicator that you need professional inputs. Senior managers and executives provide critical leadership and direction that enable growth. They have the experience to guide development, expansion, the instinct to recognize new and diverse opportunities, instill operational efficiency and capability, industry experience and they can impact profitability.

Talent Pool: High level recruitment operates in areas that don’t usually feature in the conventional job market. “Passive recruitment” is a cornerstone of this process. It taps into talent pools that are already functioning successfully in your competitor firms or similar industries, locally and globally. These executives may not necessarily be looking out for a change, but when presented with exciting and interesting opportunities, they would be ready to explore.

Connections: Executive recruiters are people with connections and contact in the highest echelons of industry. They have networks that extend nationwide and internationally and have built their firms solely based on these relationships. Their databases have been built with careful thought and screening of candidates. In case they are unable to access someone in their own database, they have the connections to identify, locate and present the right candidates, with objectivity and professionalism.

Costs: Some firms work on a contingency arrangement, where you pay them only on successful recruitment. Others may partner regularly with you on a retainer fee. They may also be open to one-off searches for very high positions. Usually, their fees work out to a percentage of the candidate’s CTC. However, this is a relatively small price to pay when you consider the fact that poor hiring choices result in 80% of employee turnover. Bad hires can cost your company up to 30% of their first-year salary in terms of disruption, poor choices, functional incompetence and more. Executive search firms ensure that the candidates have the right qualifications and experience, background checked, vetted and tested. Most importantly, they can ensure the right fit.

Privacy and Confidentiality: Hiring for top positions can be a highly secretive process. Changes at that level could impact your brand, reputation and stock values in the market. You may be launching succession plans or exploring a new area of business. This information could be very valuable to your competitors, and it could also have an impact on your own organization. Approaching talent that you want from a competitor company can only be done by a third part firm that guarantees confidentiality.

How To Hire The Best: Top 5 Tips

1. Analyze and Understand Your Requirements: Firm up on what exactly you want. Define the position, compensation, perks, location and key result areas clearly. If you find it difficult or challenging, the executive search firm team can help you put things in perspective. You also need to do the math. Analyze the cost of hiring vs how much profit the candidate can generate, and also the cost of a poor hire.

2. Evaluate their Connections: It’s important to know exactly how wide, deep and strong their connections are. If you’re hiring a niche firm, make sure that they have access to the rare and elusive talent that you know can make a difference to your company. However, such talent may not be ready to risk a good position that they already hold, nor would they want it to be known that they’re seeking a change. This is where a well-connected, reputed and discreet high-level recruiter can be a game-changer.

3. Ask The Right Questions: This may be a first-time experience for you, or you may have gone through the process before. Note down the questions you want answered before you meet with them. Ask about the time-frame between reaching out and closing the process. You need to know about how many candidates will be screened and sent to you for decisions. Check the screening, evaluation and testing process used by the hiring firm, especially for technical positions. Assess whether they can be objective and keep your best interests in mind. The right kind of firm can also offer you important advice and assistance. They can help you hone your requirements, identify and locate the bottlenecks and pain points in your own organization.

4. Give the Right Information: It’s crucial that your search firm has the right information about you and your company. Potential candidates at higher positions want information about the culture, values, goals, history and aspirations. Large and more spread-out firms may have multiple sub-cultures that must be integrated and respected. Potential hires also need to know what kind of growth cycle they’re expected to lead.

5. Post-Recruitment Services: Hiring the candidate is not the final step in the process. The executive search firm must provide a certain level of post-recruitment services. These may include on-boarding help, socialization, helping with issues such as personal and political dynamics, and negotiating relationships within the organization. Most reputed and well-established search firms have probably helped other clients to go through these experiences before. They can bring these learnings to the table when they work for you.