The 10 questions to ask your Executive Search firm

~ The 10 questions to ask your Executive Search firm ~

As an SME owner with a critical leadership (or future leadership) appointment to make, you’re understandably keen to get it right first time.

There is a wide choice of organisations offering true Executive Search services, but what can you ask the organisation you engage with to gauge their chances of a successful outcome?

These are the top ten questions we recommend, based on a decade in the industry, solely working with SME owners to appoint leaders and future leaders.

1. How long have you worked in the market you serve?

2. How will this appointee affect my SME’s future growth plans? (Here at Rowan, we will look to establish a long-term Value Creation Plan, and how the new appointee will contribute to effecting the success of that plan.)

3. What is your success rate in filling the mandates you work on, as a percentage?

4. How are your internal teams structured, and what are their specialist areas/market verticals? (For instance, at Rowan we have teams that focus on; C-Suite, Finance, Sales & Marketing, HR & Ops and Non-Exec/Chair.)

5. What particular industries do you have expertise in?

6. Do you operate on a retained or contingent model, and how will that affect the process? (And ‘what does this all mean?’, if it’s new to you!)

7. Can you explain your pricing structure?

8. What feedback do/would candidates give you? Would it differ between successful/unsuccessful candidates?

9. What is your general reputation in the market? (This can also be gleaned in other ways; Linkedin, Google reviews, word of mouth etc.)

10. What are your values and what do you do to evaluate/improve your firm’s ESG? (For example, our five key values are…

* Authenticity
* Commitment
* Progressiveness
* Collaboration
* Rigour

…and we always work on appointments and hire internally with these at the forefront of our mind.)

These questions should allow you to develop a thorough understanding of your Search firm’s practices, values and the chance of success, not only of appointing a new senior hire, but whether they are likely to bring your own ambitious growth plans to fruition.