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Relevant factors when selecting a search firm

When considering whether a search firm is well suited to meet your needs, it is worth keeping the following
questions in mind:

1) What position in the company needs to be filled? This, of course, is the very start of the process! From the non-executive directors, all the way to the ground staff, each member of the organization is important. But they are not, so far as the organization is concerned, equally important. It follows that whether you are looking for an interim manager or a senior one you will probably be willing to invest more resources in the search than if you were looking for lower level positions.

2) What type of a search firm is it? A traditional job agency may be satisfactory when looking for a secretary to replace the one leaving, but, to acquire a director, an executive search firm would be appropriate. Perhaps you have in mind the kind of person who is unlikely to be looking for work, and who is, already, highly in demand. Success, in such a case, may only be possible with a headhunter. The situation differs if what you really need is someone who is uniquely specialised in a very particular area. For this, it would be best to approach a niche executive placement firm.
Type of Search Firms

3) How well does it know the industry? It is important that the firm is operative within, or at least involved with, the industry in which the vacancy occurs. A firm that has most of its resources in the mining industry, for instance, may not be ideally placed to find the best retail executive.

4) What kind of cost model does it work with? The client needs to consider not only his overall budget, but also the kind of cost model that would most suit him. Working on a contingency model a search firm would only require payment once a suitable client has been found and hired. But if the firm is working as a retainer then a payment will be due before the search even begins. Reasons why a retainer model may actually serve the client better have been outlined in the page on cost models.
Cost Models

5) Where: in which region does it operate best? Most executive positions require some proximity to the premises. The candidate must either live nearby, or else be willing to relocate. A search firm with contacts in the relevant region would, of course, be better placed to find the most appropriate individual.

6) Has it been recommended? The reputation of a search firm will depend on its reliability, both in terms of its success rate, and in terms of its general integrity. To appear on our database each firm has had to submit two references from former clients and to remain on our database, each firm must fulfill a number of criteria across several dimensions, ensuring customer satisfaction.
Firms on our Database

7) Are its current client limits in conflict with your interests? Some search firms have been tainted with disrepute after recruiting members from the very companies for whom they have recently worked, for newer clients. Off-limit policies are now often signed so that clear parameters can be agreed to in advance. In this way, amicable relations are maintained. It is worth remembering, however, that such limits on a firmís search capabilities may not be in your favour and may be worth inquiring about.
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