Who's on Your Executive Search Team? - dummies

Who’s on Your Executive Search Team?

By David E. Perry, Mark J. Haluska

Your executive search team is composed of three groups: the hiring team, the recruiting team, and the support team. So, what does each of these teams do? And who’s on these teams?

Depending on certain variables — including the size of your organization and the sensitivity of the search project — some people on your executive search team might wind up wearing multiple hats.

The hiring team

Your hiring team helps you interview and assess candidates. It consists of the following people and groups:

  • Hiring manager: This is the person the new hire will report to. Typically, the hiring manager decides which candidate will land the job.
  • Ultimate hiring manager: For executive-level hires, the ultimate hiring manager is usually the CEO. For less senior roles, the ultimate hiring manager may be a vice president. On rare occasions, the board of directors could be the ultimate hiring manager. Whoever it is, the ultimate hiring manager is the one person (or group of people) who can overrule the hiring manager’s decision on whom to hire.

Sometimes, the hiring manager and the ultimate hiring manager are one and the same.

  • Search committee: The purpose of this group is to assist the hiring manager in various phases of the search. The search committee provides for consistency in reviewing each candidate, and benefits from multiple perspectives.
  • Search committee chair: The search committee chair serves as a liaison between the search committee and the hiring manager and ultimate hiring manager. The ideal chair understands the needs and culture of the organization, enabling her to successfully select a qualified and talented candidate in a timely manner.

The recruiting team

Your recruiting team helps you locate, identify, and recruit candidates. It consists of the following people:

  • Internal recruiter: This person is responsible for identifying, recruiting, and qualifying potential candidates. The internal recruiter develops prospects — that is, individuals identified or sourced from others — into qualified candidates who are interested in the position.
  • Sourcer: Sourcing is about the hunt. The sourcer is responsible for pipeline development. He identifies and engages with target talent.
  • Researcher: The researcher assesses the market and handles business and competitive intelligence. She produces a list of potential prospects and hands it off to either the recruiter or the sourcer.

It’s not unusual for these three roles to be combined into one, handled by a single person. Or you may employ an external recruiter to handle these duties. Using an external recruiter, you increase the odds of a superior outcome in a shorter period of time.

You may need to augment your hiring and/or recruiting team with external consultants, such as recruiters, sourcers, or researchers. (If you hire an external recruiting firm, as opposed to an independent recruiter, then you can expect it to use its own team of recruiters, sourcers, and researchers.) Either way, if you go this route, negotiate any terms and conditions, including guarantees and a hands-off clause, and get them down on paper.

The support team

Your support team helps you position the opportunity and keep track of all the details and paperwork involved in the recruiting project. It consists of the following people:

  • Marketing lead or copywriter: This person’s job is to make you look sexy — or, barring that, to ensure your opportunity is appealing. Why is this person necessary? Because just as you screen applicants for “fit,” your applicants are screening you. If you want to draw top candidates, a well-crafted job description or advertisement is a must. Bottom line? You need to grab each prospect’s attention and speak succinctly to his needs.
  • Coordinator: The coordinator’s job is to make sure all elements of the search process remain on track. He sets meetings, manages the calendars of all participants, and handles interview logistics and feedback loops. The coordinator also acts as the central repository for details on each candidate.

The search chair’s most trusted assistant makes the best coordinator. Why? Because odds are, he already has a working relationship with board members and can get to them quickly.