Using a Search Firm to Find Top Leaders

Using a Search Firm to Find Top Leaders

If you’re contemplating using a search firm to hire someone, chances are you are looking for top leaders to join your team. There are thousands of search firms to choose from and making the right choice depends on the criteria you use in your selection process.

Here are a few useful tips to think about when looking for a search firm:

Purpose, Culture, and Values Matter

As you consider your search firm’s options on your hunt for top leaders, dig into the overall philosophical alignment between your company and that of the search firm. Do they align? Will that search firm challenge your thinking and push you to hire a better leader?

Make sure you select a search firm that understands your company’s purpose, values, and culture. Most search firms know how to find individuals with the technical aptitude for the job, but that’s the easy part! The top search firms find top leaders who are profoundly connected to your purpose, align with your values, and fit into your culture.

Core values are what you’re left with in times when your company is seeing major transformation. They are like a strong internal compass for you and your team when you need to pivot with speed and integrity.” – COO Alliance

Engagement Matters

The Gallup organization states that the number one reason why employee engagement is so low is due to poor leadership. People are more than just a resume and it takes more than experience to be a top leader.

Does the search firm you chose to hire top leaders have a process that helps you benchmark the performance objectives of the available role, uncover the requisite behavioral/personality profile of the position, and deliver an individual who cares about the same things your company cares about? They should.

Finding a leader who can influence real change and win the hearts and minds of your team can be the difference-maker. Make sure you find a search firm that is capable of all that.

People Matter

The best leaders are constantly being poached and bombarded with job offers. Is the search firm you hired or are looking to hire setting themselves apart through their outreach efforts/approach? Are they merely using the same Rolodex they’ve always used?

Transformational and top leaders have higher expectations. They want to know what your company stands for, the difference you are trying to make in the world, and that you care about more than just their resume. You need to find a search firm that can show that. They’re the ones that will find the top leaders.

Make sure that you’re thoughtful in which search firm you select. Their philosophy and process will have a tremendous impact on the future of your company.

Why Use a Search Firm at All?

Now that you’ve heard all about how selective you have to be with your search firm, especially regarding things like their connection to company values, you may be thinking that it may be easier to just do it yourself. In truth, that’s probably not the best idea when looking for top leaders.

Here are five reasons to use a search firm when looking for top leaders to join your team:

  • Confidential representation – Search firms provide you with confidential representation and a proactive approach to connecting with quality candidates and leaders, often with a replacement guarantee. Hiring a third-party agency gives you the ability to discreetly call into your competitors for top leaders.
  • Hiring experts – Search firms provide consultation and guidance to further define the role you are hiring for and pinpoint ideal candidates.
  • Resources and outreach – Search firms have the strength and focus to reach out to many more candidates than you yourself would possibly be able to. They have the ability to expand your pool of candidates and save your company time.
  • Stay focused on your care business – Search firms are always hiring and reaching out to thousands of professionals each and every day, Outsourcing a critical hire can save you and your team countless hours sourcing, screening, interviewing, and doing reference checks.
  • Objectivity – Professional search firms offer a consistently objective hiring process, which avoids biases, building continuity throughout the hiring process. They streamline the hiring process, eliminating many of the variables involved in a critical search. It is the vital kind of objectivity you need to find top leaders that will benefit and grow your company.

Search firms are very important for finding top leaders, but even once they’ve done their job and found you some amazing candidates, it’s important to use other strategies to make sure the one you do end up choosing is perfect for your company. This includes getting employees to help with the hiring process and gaining their input on the candidates.

Hiring takes many steps, especially when hiring a leader, but the thing that can elevate a lot of that and benefit the quality of the candidates that you get is a search firm. Have you ever used a search firm before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and someone from my team will get in touch with you!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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