8 Questions to Ask Potential Executive Search Firms


If you are starting the hiring process, working with experts in hiring and recruitment makes a lot of sense. Experts at executive search firms can be very helpful in hiring new staff that will stay with your company for a long time. It is estimated that 22% of new hires leave their jobs within 45 days. Common problems they encountered were include poor performance and temperament issues. Employment issues can cost a company anywhere between 30% to 150% of that person’s salary. Companies that have programs for employee programs report that their workers are happier. Here are some questions you should ask before you hire an executive search firm.

  1. Get their completion rate. Not all searches are successful. You need to find out from the talent acquisition management service how often they are able to successfully place applicants in jobs. You want some assurance that the time and money you put into the hiring process will be worth it. You need to get specific numbers on this point.
  2. Ask about who at the executive search firms will do the actual work. Often executive search firms do not have the same staff member who signed a new client do the actual job search work. When working with HR executive recruiters, it is important to know when you sign the paperwork who exactly will handle your project.
  3. Ask about how many search projects they have at the same time as yours. That can change at just about any time. If they have a lot of projects make sure yours will get the attention it needs and deserves.
  4. Ask for a timeline. You should be able to get a timeline from the executive search firm. They can tell you when they will complete the research phase into the process and start bringing in candidates for you to talk to. Some of this has to be flexible as your time has to scheduled so they can really get to know you and determine what you needs are and to develop a plan to address them. You can get from them a basic estimate of how long they expect your project to take.
  5. Ask about their guarantee. Many executive search firms offer guarantees of their work so if they are not successful the first time they try to place an applicant in a position. They basically will do the job a second time if the first placement does not work out. This gives you a sense of security and gives the firm more of an incentive to get it right the first time.
  6. Ask about happens if a search needs to started over mid process. The vast majority of executive search firms will stick it out with you until they find the right person for your opening but there are times when that is just not possible. If something changes so drastically that you have to alter your arrangement with them and start everything all over, you should know what your options are. It is always preferable to stay with the same company throughout the search but sometimes that is just not possible.
  7. Ask how they do their interviews. There are a lot of ways companies screen job applicants. There are regular phone calls, Skype call or in person. Each offers its own distinct pros and cons. You can also get different amounts of information from each method. You will want to know what the executive search firms do about interviews and what their methods are. Some use personality tests and others use skills tests to measure their candidates.
  8. Ask about their deliverables. You want to get a schedule for the deliverables they will give you for the hiring process. You should know what is expected of you and them to keep everyone on schedule and on task. The hiring process is longer than people expect and you want to know that progress is being made on your project.

The task of finding and hiring new staff is long and arduous but it is critically important to the success of your business. When you go with an executive search firm, you have experts in hiring on your team and you up the chances that the new hire will be successful.

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