Qualifying Search Firms – Benchmarks

In this series, we’ve been outlining the considerations involved when selecting a search firm. Today, we’ll cover questions around search firm benchmarks.

This series is focused on choosing a high-quality retained search firm. Please feel free to review our series on YouTube to learn the differences between retained and contingency search firms.

What are your benchmarking expectations when you hire a search firm?

Some important considerations include:

  • the average estimated time it takes to fill a position
  • the type of progress reporting offered and what information these reports contain
  • when you might expect to see candidate flow
  • percentage of searches completed
  • retention

It’s vital to ensure you understand the process the firm will use in their search.

Take note of the number of existing contacts they have in your particular discipline, their other referral sources, how quickly new research or outreach will take place, and the type and number of outreach attempts made.

All of these factors go to how quickly your position will be filled.

Determining Your Benchmarking Expectations

To completely understand how a search firm will benchmark candidates while conducting their search, ask the following questions:

Once candidates are contacted, what information will you receive with each candidate who is presented?

Does your search firm personally interview candidates?

Aside from a resume, what candidate information will your search firm collect, and how will they share it with you?

How does the firm arrive at their “short list”?

Most importantly, does your search firm present you with the potential pitfalls of a given candidate, or are they just trying to sell you on a candidate’s strong points?

Rarely is there a perfect candidate in any given situation. Therefore, one should be on guard against firms who only present the pros of hiring a candidate and can’t or won’t consider potential downsides.

If you’d like some help with this, or to understand how you can overcome some of these issues, please contact us.