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The key to success is having the right leaders in your organisation, steering it in the right direction. Employees who deliver real impact, promote positive change, exhibit courage and confidence, and constantly inspire and energise their colleagues while driving the business forward. The question is: how do you get the right people to join you?

Executive search agencies play a vital role in identifying, attracting and hiring these types of employees. The best agencies have specialist consultants who invest their entire careers in helping clients hire the most talented individuals on the market. With this in mind, we’re sharing practical tips on how to select the right executive search agency to get the best candidates through your door.


Choosing the right executive search agency

So you want the best employees at your company, right? Below are some of the major questions you should be asking so you can hire the best executive search agency for your project. Let’s take a closer look.


Does the agency have a well-structured recruitment process?

At the senior level, the recruitment process can be incredibly time-consuming, and a good recruitment process to find qualified candidates effectively is essential. When hiring an agency, you’ll want an understanding of their recruitment processes and how they work, from mapping and planning through to talent attraction.

If the agency has invested the time to create and implement an effective recruitment process, you can expect to benefit from lower overall costs due to better hire quality and increased employee productivity. An organised and well thought out hiring process can bring calm to what can sometimes be a chaotic experience for many businesses. 

Key questions to ask about the recruitment process:

  • How does their recruitment process work?
  • How long does the executive search process take?
  • Have you worked with previous employers in our industry?
  • What is the agency’s success rate with hiring and placing candidates?


How much value will the agency add to your business?

Most executive search agencies will increase the chances of finding suitable and qualified professionals for your open positions, but when there’s a high demand for talent, you’ll want an agency that can offer a fresh perspective in terms of hiring talented candidates.

In your quest to find an agency that attracts the best talent and ensures that they are most likely to succeed in your organisation, it’s essential to distinguish how much value the agency will provide you with. To do this, draw up a shortlist of your potential agencies and then identify their strengths and weaknesses. See which agencies offer additional services such as talent mapping reports or a consultative approach. Determine which agency is best suited to work with your organisation.

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Key questions to ask about the value the agency will add:

  • What additional services does the agency offer?
  • What makes them different from other executive search agencies?
  • What sort of knowledge and experience do they have that is likely to add value to the process?


Does the agency communicate clearly and efficiently?

Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organisation. The same goes for the relationship between your business and the agency.

Your organisation can rapidly build trust with an agency that invests time and energy into clearly communicating and collaborating across the project. This leads to increased productivity and more successful outputs. Few things are more frustrating than trying to decipher vague, ambiguous correspondence or having to chase people to deliver their part of a project. An executive search agency that communicates effectively will make life easier for your organisation.

Key questions to ask about communication between the agency and its clients:

  • How often will the agency communicate with your organisation?
  • What methods of communication will the agency use to keep in touch with you?
  • Will the agency keep everyone involved during the recruitment life-cycle?
  • Will the agency offer your business a specific point of contact during the hiring process?
  • Does the agency include milestones to effectively communicate their hiring progression?


Does the agency have the skills and knowledge to serve your industry?

As well as being driven to develop key relationships with their clients, executive search consultants are known to be thought leaders in their fields. The best consultants stay on top of current trends, are experts in nurturing a wide-ranging network of potential candidates, and are ready to make the most of any opportunities that present themselves. 

When hiring the services of an executive search agency, choosing an agency with the right expertise in your industry will pay off in the long run. There’s a huge array of agencies out there. Some will provide you with their expertise for any role imaginable, whereas others will focus on the key roles suited to your business.

Key questions to ask about the skills and knowledge of your agency:

  • What knowledge does the agency have of your industry?
  • Does the agency specialise in working with clients from your industry?
  • Can the agency demonstrate previous success in your industry?
  • What skills and experience do the agency’s executive consultants have?


Will the agency work as your partner, or just another recruitment agency?

In the executive search business, you don’t want to work with an agency that places a candidate and calls it a day; you want a firm that becomes your partner, fostering lasting relationships with your organisation.

When selecting the right executive search agency for your business, it’s crucial to get an understanding of how the agency will work with you and to determine whether the agency will work as a partner or act as a vendor. The perfect executive search agency is one that listens to you and understands your objectives and goals. The more you can influence your agency to work with you as a partner, the better they’ll work for your business.

Key questions to ask about how your agency will work with you:

  • How will the agency deliver success for your organisation?
  • How much input will you have in the agency’s approach?
  • Can the agency provide any client testimonials?
  • How often will the agency keep in contact with you during the entire hiring process?


Will the agency be transparent with your business?

When hiring the services of an executive search agency, you want the agency to be as transparent as possible. The best relationships between a business and the agency are built on trust and honesty where both parties feel they can talk openly. This applies especially to discussions around fees and expenses.

No organisation wants to be fleeced out of its recruitment budget or be hit with additional expenses during the recruitment life-cycle. A transparent executive search agency will work with you to calculate the recruitment costs and plan your budget correctly. This prevents you and your business from feeling you’ve been kept in the dark.

Key questions to ask about the agency’s levels of transparency:

  • How can the agency help with your organisation's recruitment budgeting?
  • What expenses will be separately billed?
  • Is the price you pay a one-off cost, or will you be subject to more charges down the line?
  • Will the agency keep you updated throughout the recruitment life-cycle?

A few final thoughts…

Now that you’ve read this guide, you’re armed with the knowledge and insight to select the executive search agency that best suits your business objectives and goals. If you need help with your executive recruitment, look no further than Carrot Executive

We’re driven to help you maximise each assignment, and to hire the most qualified and suitable candidate. Contact us to learn more about our executive search services and how they can help you.


Carrot Executive

Carrot Executive work in partnership with a large number of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences companies and consultancies, supporting with a range of executive search and bespoke insights projects to support clients in their strategic decision making in relation to talent attraction and retention, market penetration and competitor benchmarking.

For more information, please contact Martin Anderson via, call +44 (0)1625 541 032 or use the 'schedule a call' link below:

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