Once the requirements have been defined the search firm will identify a long-list of potential candidates who meet the client’s requirements. The size of the list will vary from assignment to assignment but is unlikely to be less than 100.
Retained executive search firms follow a strict research methodology designed to identify all the potential candidates for the role. This will involve a search including online research including LinkedIn and network. LinkedIn is available to everyone but due the public nature of the network it is likely that many senior executives will not be on this platform so alternative methods must be used.
The executive search process usually follows this structure:
Once the potential candidates have been identified the hard work begins. The retained executive search firm is committed to identifying both active and passive candidates and the passive candidates are difficult to contact as they are not actively looking for a new role. In this instance the search company has to use its skill to get past the gate-keeper and pitch the role on behalf of their client. These companies use their extensive networks to find a way to start a conversation. They use their personal relationships to open doors that would otherwise be slammed shut.
So, in summary, the role of the retained search firm is to help the client understand and scope out the role in order to identify and approach the potential candidates. Upon presentation of the shortlist the search firm provides a detailed report of the shortlisted candidates and helps the client with the assessment process.