Insight Blog

Engaging a Search Firm (Part 1/3)

Engaging a Search Firm (Part 1/3)

Why Engage an Executive Search Firm

Organizations engage an executive search firm to help fill an open position in a variety of situations. In 2021 and 2022, the clients within Helbling’s three focus areas—architecture, engineering, and construction; facilities management; and real estate development—retained us with hiring needs stemming from the following.

Reasons for Helbling's Retained Executive Searches in 2021 and 2022
Newly Created Role – A new role created by the organization needs to be filled
Retirement – A person in the position has or is planning to retire
Replacement – A person involuntarily left the position
Resignation – A person voluntarily left the position
Reorganization – A role emerged due to organizational restructuring
Vacancy – The position has been vacant for at least three months
Client feedback has shown that external search consultants are able to:
  • Generate better results in less time.
  • Assist in recruiting for very specific, highly specialized roles and in a competitive talent market.
  • Act as an extension of the client’s internal team and collaborate on search efforts.
  • Understand the organization’s needs and how they align with candidates’ qualifications as well as convey the position’s importance in relation to strategic goals.
  • Utilize their reputation, network, industry contacts, and other resources to identify otherwise-unattainable candidates.
  • Proactively reach out to candidates who may not have considered a new opportunity and who an organization cannot reach through traditional methods.
  • Explain a newly created role to candidates and identify those who would be willing to navigate uncharted territory and embrace the opportunity.
  • Thoroughly screen all candidates to save clients the time and effort of weeding out the unqualified.
  • Produce strong, diverse, and highly qualified applicants from different backgrounds.
  • Provide candidates who are properly vetted for technical expertise as well as cultural fit.
  • Present candidate packets that are thorough, clear, and paint a portrait of the prospect's work history and future engagement as a member of the team.
  • Provide critical insight into candidates’ abilities and motivations and clearly convey why each candidate is being considered.
  • Help develop a comprehensive and thoughtful set of interview questions and provide intelligence about the interview process.
  • Move a search along effectively and efficiently while helping the internal team to remain focused.
  • Offer sound professional advice throughout the search process and guide organizations in making hiring decisions based on insight and vast experience.
  • Act as a liaison between clients and candidates and help "close the deal" with the perfect candidate.
  • Secure new hires who not only perform but are enthusiastic about their roles.
  • Help new hires adapt by remaining engaged through the orientation process.
  • Follow through after the hire to ensure that the client organization and the candidate are successful.

What to Consider Before Engaging an Executive Search Firm

In order to maximize the return on investment of an executive search, it helps to conduct research prior to engaging a firm. A reputable firm will appreciate you asking questions at this stage, and its consultants will be pleased to discuss any concerns you may have. The process will also provide your organization’s representatives and the search firm’s an idea of what to expect from one another. 
Suggested Questions
About their experience
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they specialize in your industry or type of organization?
  • Do they specialize in identifying and securing professionals for the function and at the level of the open role?
  • Are they familiar with your organization and the markets it serves?
  • Do they have the ability to provide insight into market conditions and the pool of potential candidates?
About their operations
  • Do they operate on a retained or contingency basis?
  • What are their standard fees?
  • How many team members will be working on your search?
  • Do they have experience managing confidential searches, if applicable?
  • Have they represented organizations you consider competitors, and, if so, are there any restrictions that prevent them from recruiting candidates from those organizations?
  • Do they offer a guarantee once a candidate is hired, and how is it defined?
  • Do they have client and candidate references you can contact?
About their process
  • How do they generate candidates?
  • How do they market your employment opportunity to candidates?
  • How do they qualify candidates?
  • What details and insight about submitted candidates will they share with you?
  • How will they manage the interview process?
  • Will they conduct references checks on candidates and provide written feedback?
  • Will they conduct background and employment checks on final candidates prior to an offer being extended?
  • Will they assist with compensation discussions and negotiations?
  • Do they follow up with you after the secured individual begins employment? 
If you would like to discuss a hiring need at your organization or learn more about working with a search firm, please contact us to connect with a Helbling search consultant.