You can’t go to University to study Executive Search. Until that day comes and without a certification requirement, the standards of practice and code of conduct are only what any one individual firm deems them to be.

One of the biggest challenges in buying search services is that recruiters on every end of the business – retained to contingency; true professionals to ambulance chasers – introduce themselves as a CONSULTANT. These people not only take on the title of CONSULTANT, worse yet, they believe that they really are consultants.

Our view is that executive search consulting goes beyond the task of recruiting and presenting candidates.

A competent consultant will not automatically step in and begin a search. He or she will first determine whether a search is needed, and if there are any organizational problems which may preclude a search or prevent any selected candidate from being successful in the job.

They kick tires. They push back. They probe – relentlessly – for the truth.

Here are 5 factors which separate a true search consultant from a would-be recruiter

  1. Your interests will always be placed ahead of the consultant’s interests.
  2. Prior to the initiation of any search, a thorough analysis of the needs will be undertaken. A professional will not accept a client assignment unless the organization truly has the need to undertake the search.
  3. All candidates presented will be appropriate for the job at hand.
  4. The consultant will remain objective and present all information on candidates – pro and con – such that the best decision can be made, even if that means starting over.
  5. The search consultant will continue to work actively and enthusiastically on a project, even after all of the retainer fee has been paid.

The best consultants recognize that a search is not over when a candidate is hired. But rather, when one year later those involved – client and candidate – look back and admit that the new relationship worked in everybody’s best interests.

David Perry
Perry-Martel International Inc.