An Executive Search Firm’s Guide to the Hiring Process
Today, with the growth of LinkedIn and other online tools, the CEO, business-owner or hiring executive may think that HR or staffing people can find the right candidates with ease, especially in a recession. Perhaps they can find the names, but are they the “best candidates” out there for the position? Search firms specialize in placing candidates, and are better equipped to handle critical steps toward recruiting successfully key employees.
Negotiating compensation with candidates is delicate, and search firms have the experience to handle it. It is not uncommon for a company to find their “ideal” candidate only to discover that there is a misunderstanding about the compensation. When dealing with negotiating compensation it is important to verify that the candidate is not being aspirational or using a figure that they want to earn, rather than the reality of what they currently earn. We document current compensation early in the process, and we advise the candidate to be completely accurate in representing his or her compensation because we will verify it. Beyond a candidate’s current compensation, we also require their target bonus, benefits, vacation time, and car allowance.
A candidate’s references also makes a huge impact on the hiring process. When talking to references, ask who else in company worked with the candidate to expand the list of references you will talk to. With references, compare your own comprehensive notes you took interviewing the candidate about all the places the person has worked and the titles they’ve had. If the person has had different bosses at the same company—but hasn’t given you those other names, ask the reference to tell you more. Most importantly, identify gaps in the candidate’s resume and ask the candidate and the reference to elaborate.
Relocation is another critical roadblock in the hiring process. It is expensive to relocate, and differences range from real estate sales to homesickness to finding a new school–if the candidate has children. Early in the process, verify that the spouse of the candidate is willing to move and that the children are at an age when they can relocate.
As an executive search firm for 18 years, we constantly manage all the factors associated with hiring a new executive.