How do you evaluate the performance of an executive search firm? These ten questions will help you decide whether they’re doing a good job, or if it’s time for a change of headhunter.

  1. Was there a successful appointment? The most obvious criterion of the lot. Did the search lead to the appointment of a candidate who met your requirements?

  2. How quickly was the role filled? Was the process fast and efficient?

  3. Did the search firm set realistic expectations from the outset? And were its consultants transparent and truthful throughout?

  4. Were you kept informed every step of the way? Was the consultant easy to get hold of? And were you satisfied with the updates you received on how the search was progressing?

  5. Were all the candidates on the shortlist of sufficient quality? How many would you have been happy to hire?

  6. Did you receive market insight? Or indeed insight on issues like governance, if relevant.

  7. Did the firm audit the process? Were you asked for feedback? Firms that don’t request feedback are arguably not that interested in improving their own performance.

  8. Were all the candidates happy? Was the process a positive experience, even for the unsuccessful candidates? Did the firm audit their experience?

  9. Do you feel the search firm was a good ambassador for your organization? Were they always mindful of your reputation and employer brand?

  10. Did the firm live up to its claims of expertise? Did the consultant know as much about your specific sector or functional role as initially stated?

Find out what clients look for in executive search firms: latest survey.

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Odgers Berndtson provides executive search and leadership services from over 60 offices in 29 countries.

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