Evaluating and Selecting an Automotive Executive Search Firm

By Colin Clancy, Director of E-Content | Tel: +1 239 344 9514

To your company, the difference between the right and the wrong executive hiring decision can be millions of dollars, and these critical decisions can impact your bottom line for years down the road.  By utilizing the knowledge and experience of an executive search firm, a company can hedge the risk of making poor hiring decisions.  Like potential employees, though, not every search firm is the same.

“When you’re hiring a search firm, that search firm is going to be representing you to the marketplace,” said Jeff Ketchum, President of executive search firm, Automotive Executive Search International, Inc., “and you want to ensure that their values and ethics and the modus operandi of their business reflect your own.”

Following the advice below will help you find the executive search firm that will best match your company.

Have a potential search firm walk you through their process.

The first question many companies ask when evaluating a potential search firm is, “how much experience do you have in our industry?”  Industry experience, though, does not necessarily make a good search firm.

“More important than industry experience is the experience that a search firm has in helping make the right hires occur,” Ketchum said.

Rather than specializing in a specific industry, a quality search firm should specialize in working with organizations to understand the objectives of the company and of the hire, ensuring that the search targets the right qualified individuals. Have a potential executive search partner explain their process, and get a clear understanding of exactly what that search firm will do for you from start to finish.

An excellent search firm will:

Get an understanding of who will actually be doing the work.

More important than the search firm is the actual search consultant who will perform the work. At most large firms, a senior consultant will obtain the search, while a junior consultant may perform the search.

A typical search takes 300 hours or more. “There’s a ton of groundwork,” Ketchum said. “I’d want to know how involved that search consultant is going to be in that groundwork.”

In partnering with an executive search firm, it is valuable to develop a relationship with the consultant who will be conducting the search and representing your company to the top ten percent of talent within your sector.

Questions you may want to ask include:

Ask for References.

It is always a good idea to contact companies with which a potential executive search partner has done business. Some questions to ask are:

Think about size.

Executive search firms range from boutique-sized, relying on one or two key people, to large firms with hundreds of consultants.

Advantages of Large Search Firms:

Advantages of Boutique Search Firms:

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