Partnering To Optimize Results
How to Partner Effectively with your Search Consultant
Review research and source materials with the consultant on a periodic basis.
You are a partner in the process. Be timely in your responses to keep the process on schedule.
- Appoint one staff person to have responsibility as project manager for the search from beginning to end. Lack of continuity equals lack of accountability.
- Set a timetable, target dates and closure strategy for the search at the beginning of the engagement. An open-ended search is a search without an end.
- Recognize that it is our goal to present a diverse panel of candidates, but by limiting your candidates to special requirements, e.g. a person of color, a woman, etc., you also limit the prospect pool significantly. Remember that qualified diverse candidates are in demand by many organizations, and, therefore, more challenging to recruit to yours. The candidates who meet your special requirements and who are willing to talk with you are even fewer in number.
- Be hospitable and courteous to your candidates. Remember that candidates also are interviewing you as a prospective employer, and are seeking the optimal cultural fit within an organization. All candidates should have a positive sense of your organization following their interview, and will take this message into the community.
- Give the consultant direct and detailed feedback on each candidate following your interviews. Specific reactions help fine tune search strategy and speed the process along. Second-hand reports do not allow for dialogue.
- Listen to feedback from the prospects who decline to pursue your position or from candidates who withdraw. If there are issues about your organization, the position, management style, etc., be prepared to address them in a positive way.
- Interview candidates as a panel whenever possible. Avoid interviewing candidates singly over a long period of time, as this makes it more difficult to make a meaningful comparison, and it has a tendency to prolong the search indefinitely and increases the risk of losing candidates to other organizations.
- When time and diligent search efforts fail to identify the ideal candidate, consider being flexible on your requirements. What characteristics are essential to do the job? Which tasks could be delegated, if necessary, to an able subordinate?
- Appoint an internal candidate champion for a good candidate. The longer a search goes on, the more unlikely it is that any candidate will be acceptable to everyone. This has proven to be an effective way to resolve differences of opinion when there are multiple stakeholders involved in the selection.
- Use references throughout the search process to address issues or points of concern about a candidate. First impressions are not always totally accurate, and interviewing skills aren’t necessarily the same as performance ability.
- Act decisively and with dispatch when you have a good candidate. A top performer is a rapidly wasting asset. Either s/he will have other offers if you delay or s/he will lose interest if the selection drags on. Determine at the outset which decision makers need to agree on a candidate and keep this group to a manageable size.
- Talk to the search consultant often and allow him/her to consult with you, especially before you decide to make an offer. Surprises are not helpful during negotiations to bring the search to closure.