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The "Invisibles" of high-quality Search | Part 3

Updated: Jun 1

Experience of Consultants

In agency recruitment firms, consultants are often given the title within a year of joining, with less experience compared to their counterparts in executive search firms. The difference lies in the strategic nature of executive search processes, which require a deeper understanding of candidate evaluation and market dynamics. Agency consultants primarily focus on LinkedIn mining for candidates, whereas executive search consultants undergo a more rigorous training path. Typically, graduates start as associate researchers, assisting in desk research and market mapping. They then progress to researchers, conducting active telephone research and screening potential candidates. Senior researchers take on project management responsibilities, overseeing the research strategy and team. Finally, associate consultants lead the search execution, evaluate candidate fit, and pitch roles to senior candidates. This progression takes significant time and maturity, typically 8 to 10 years, to develop the necessary skills for a fully credible role in executive search. This experience, skill, and judgment are often unseen by clients but are essential for delivering high-quality results. This costs time and money, hence the higher fees charged by executive search firms.


Scope of Research

In any search process, how candidates are identified and assessed is crucial. The depth of research, however, is often unseen by clients. Consider two contrasting approaches: Company A Relies mainly on LinkedIn and recycled lists from previous searches, resulting in a list of around 40-50 candidates identified through keyword searches and limited qualitative assessment, based mainly on reading CV profiles. Company B: Maintains a proprietary knowledge base, mapping out thousands of professionals in specific job roles or sectors. This allows for a more comprehensive and strategic approach, narrowing down the list to 80-90 high-potential candidates. Through careful screening and reference checks, ultimately, they end up with a list of 40-50 well-qualified targets. While superficially similar, the lists generated by the two firms differ significantly in quality due to the breadth and depth of the research approach employed by Company B. While both firms may start with a similar number of candidates, Company B’s approach demonstrates a higher quality of research and strategic evaluation, resulting in a stronger list of potential candidates compared to Company A’s more ad hoc approach.


Client Reporting

Context matters greatly. Companies invest in a search process to ensure they secure the best candidate available in the market at that time. The only way to ascertain this is by understanding the context of the shortlist. High-quality search firms offer full transparency, providing clients with not only the shortlist but also the wider target list of potential candidates, typically comprising 40-50 individuals. At Godliman, we also share the full research universe, demonstrating the breadth of our research and explaining the inclusion or exclusion of candidates from certain companies. By comparing the target list to the broader research universe, clients can appreciate the thoroughness of the search process. This clarity facilitates decision-making when meeting the six or seven shortlisted candidates, ensuring confidence that they are the best available options. Without this context, decision-making becomes more challenging and the process more protracted. Hence, it’s no surprise that 90% of our searches last year were successfully completed within four months of the mandate. By offering valuable market intelligence and adding context to the interview process, high-quality search firms clients give peace of mind in making hiring decisions and so facilitate faster hiring.

Last edited 10th April 2024


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