Professionalism. Responsiveness. Commitment. When evaluating the quality of a potential search firm to join IIC Partners, we ask for client references, and these are some of the key attributes we look for when discussing the work of the firm. We spend time talking to clients to determine if the firm operates to the same high standards as our current member firms. We want to ensure that any firm admitted into IIC Partners will elevate our brand and reputation as the best global retained search network. When we refer assignments, we want to ensure that our client in one market can expect the same level (or higher) of service in another market.
When a client retains a search firm, they want to feel that they have placed that assignment into the hands of the most capable firm to ensure that they can find the most qualified candidate for the position. This is likely a critical hire, so ensuring that information remains confidential is key, that all sources and prospects are treated with courtesy and respect and that the process to find the successful individual is rigorous and defined.
Paying a retainer creates a relationship between the search firm and client, which takes it past the transactional approach of a contingency placement. As a result, there is the expectation that the search firm will be a trusted advisor to the client throughout the duration of the process, and in some cases beyond once the candidate has accepted the role. This means, that the search firm has a duty to respond to their client in a timely manner and to provide updates at regular intervals on how the search is progressing, providing feedback on the market, the candidates, and how the client and the role is viewed.
A search firm has a responsibility to commit to not just finding an individual for a position, but finding the most qualified individual for the role and ensuring that they get the best possible outcome for their client. This means going beyond the obvious places to source talent, it means presenting a diverse slate and it means continuing to search no matter how difficult finding the right candidate may be. A strong search firm will have the experience and capability to navigate any difficult situations and to bring to the attention of the client any amendments needing to be made to the job specification.
IIC Partners stands behind these values, because we are focused on creating a network of quality and excellence, to ensure that we uphold the traditions upon which our organization was created over 30 years ago. If you are a retained executive search firm that is interested in joining the best global network, we look forward to hearing from you.
Christine Hayward is Executive Director of IIC Partners