November 29, 2016 lauren

Tips For How To Work With An Executive Search Firm

If you’re looking for hiring help, you’ll want to know how to work with an executive search firm. These tips will point you in the right direction when you’re working with an outsourced recruiter to staff your team.

The 101 Rundown: How To Work With An Executive Search Firm

Any executive search involves finding the people who develop policies and strategies, and who oversee the organization’s operations. These may be leaders like the CEO, COO, CFO, CIO a VP or the head of an individual business unit, such as director roles.

As you may predict, the dynamics of an executive search are different from the search for other types of roles. For starters, the hiring manager might be the CEO. The search will most likely require more time and attention than would the recruitment process for, say, a department head.

At big organizations, managing an executive search generally falls to the CHRO or the VP of HR, and staffers may find themselves in supporting roles as their boss labors to keep the effort on track. In smaller firms, HR directors or managers may have to step up to the plate. Many organizations, however, choose to use a firm such as TruPath to fill a crucial role to save the company time and efforts.

How To Work With An Executive Search Firm: HR Department + Outsourced Recruiters

While HR may not make the final hiring decision, executives and board members typically look to HR to ensure things get accomplished—both by the search firm and within your company. This requires three things: frequent communication, thorough preparation and transparency on both sides.

Search firms need organized information. They are often pursuing candidates who have many years of experience and do not need the job. These candidates will also surely ask difficult questions about the role, the company, its culture and its future goals and plans.

When it comes to how to work with an executive search firm, the HR department and the firm they’re working alongside need to be on the same page. Establish a common understanding regarding your priorities as well as the level of urgency with the search. Is there anything non-negotiable? Can you pinpoint areas where the recruiter has more leeway?

In order to attract great candidates, a recruiter has to describe what the first 6-12 months on the job will look like and demonstrate where it could head after that. The bottom line: Paint a picture of the short-term and long-term opportunities at your company. Provide a unified stream of information from both your organization and the executive search firm.

Make It A Point For Execs To Take Part

In an executive search process, HR must ensure the company’s higher-level executives provide what the recruiter needs. This includes information, feedback and access.

For instance, most executive search firms coach the executives before they interview candidates. The HR department must likewise make sure the recruiter’s coaching has been effective. Thus, the interviewers will know how to dig for the answers they need. For best results, coordinate this process. (It will help you avoid asking the candidate the same question by five different interviewers.)

In addition, your business cannot be afraid to combat unreasonable expectations on either side.

Keep A Team Mentality

So, how do you know which search firm is right for your organization?

Of course, a firm should offer expertise in your industry and the role you’re filling. Great recruiters often keep a network of candidates that would mesh well with your organization’s needs and challenges.

Look for a track record of past successes, and go for trust and open communication. When it comes to how to work with an executive search firm, your company should view the firm as an extension of your brand.

How interested is the executive search firm in getting familiar with you and your organization? They must ask great questions and have done thorough research on your business. This will help demonstrate if the firm will have a true passion for filling your executive-level roles.

So, what tips for how to work with an executive search firm would you add to this?

For all your hiring needs, contact the professionals at TruPath to find the right fit for your team.


As a trusted recruitment source for more than a decade, TruPath has the industry knowledge and a proven model to help our partners feel comfortable in their search for a candidate.

Through our TruProcess, we are able to consistently deliver exceptional candidates that help organizations continue down successful paths. Contact TruPath today to tell us about your staffing needs.