Almost every time I open my mouth, I say: After over 30 years of experience in Top-level Executive Search and more than 1 000 search assignments, I experienced and learned so much about Executive Search, that I want to share this with others, hoping as many as possible will benefit from this.

That is why I wrote the book How to recognise excellence in Executive Search, which is a best practice guide into Top-level Executive Search.

That is why I started to regularly publish Executive Search related articles here in the Author’s Blog (the articles can also be found in LinkedIn as well as some posts regarding the same subject).

But who are all those people I wish to reach out to with my book? Well, anyone finding interest in Executive Search, but, people dealing with Executive Search are especially close to my heart and mind because here I believe the benefit potential is the biggest, e.g.

My book is for all those who are in the process of a career change or are perhaps about to start planning a career change. For anyone reading the book, it has a strong potential to increase the reader’s chances to make positive career changes. It offers much useful information and advice. By increasing the reader’s recruitment-related knowledge, it also helps create and strengthen a positive and confident approach to the Executive Search process (any recruitment process for that matter).

My book is also for all those who are recruiting people, e.g. for the Recruiting Professionals, HR-Directors, Executive Search Consultants, Researchers, and the others taking part in the Executive Search process, the Board Members, CEO,s, Senior Executives. The book certainly offers useful information, advice and ideas also for experienced professionals.

Sometimes, be it about an Executive Search process, about improving your overall knowledge of Executive Search or, e.g. about picking up ideas, subjects or themes to be used in HR-training, getting a new perspective is often useful. My book offers you that too.

I also want to benefit and promote top-level Executive Search in the business world.

First, a little background information. Today anyone can establish a Search Firm and call him/herself a top-level Head Hunter and indeed many do. Well, this is anybody’s privilege, and I wish them all good luck. Today there are Executive Search Firms and Head Hunters that also search for people to low level positions, even entry level positions. If this serves the business world, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

However, as the word “Executive” in the expression Executive Search nowadays do not anymore necessarily indicate that we are talking about Executive Management Level Searches, I have noticed that this sometimes creates confusion in the business world about what Executive Search and Head Hunting is all about. In my mind, there is a big difference between “entry position” level and Senior Executive Management level Head Hunting.

An example: Imagine we are talking about a billion-dollar company and a CEO job. The higher up in the organisation hierarchy we go, the more demanding everything becomes. The more responsibility and trust the incumbent has. The more complex, diverse, challenging and demanding the job becomes. The input and the actions of the CEO may be of such importance that it can determine the difference between success or failure for the entire company. Consequently, more professional expertise is also demanded from the Search Consultant and the Researcher, who are in charge of finding such a person.

Not recognising this fact, may lead a company to choose a Search Firm not corresponding to its needs, potentially leading to an unsuccessful Search Process. While failing in an entry level position Search is, of course, not a good thing, failing in a Search for a Senior Executive Director of strategic importance may be a catastrophe for the Company. 

Therefore, by sharing my experience and knowledge as I do, I also wish to:

a)     Increase the general awareness of what top-level Executive Search is all about.

b)     Increase the understanding of how important the Executive Search Industry is to the business world.

c)     Increase the appreciation of top-level Executive Search Firms (not all firms are in this category).

I am sure that every Client (or Candidate for that matter) would always like to choose the best Search Firm for his/her needs. Not the second or third best or God forbid, to choose from the worst ones. It is important to understand that not all Executive Search Firms are good just because they say so. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say? How do you know which Executive Search Firms are top-level? Below some signs to look out for, when you are trying to find a Top-Level Executive Search Firm.

The trademarks of excellence – how to recognise a Top-Level Executive Search Firm?

  • A Top-Level Executive Search Firm always has top-talented and highly skilled people.
  • A Top-Level Search Professional also has the experience, both life experience and business experience. The business experience and perspective gives credibility and weight to the Search Consultant’s and Researcher’s opinions and advice and enables them to understand the Client’s needs so much better.
  • A Top-Level Executive Search Firm always has a top-level research function, a well-thought out best practice, a well-thought out knowledge management and cutting-edge IT-solutions supporting the business needs.
  • It always maintains high quality, high ethical standards and high confidentiality.
  • The business focus is to always act in the best interests of both the Client and the Candidate.
  • Check what your business world colleagues think of the Search Firm. If you can do this in advance, even better. It is always nicer to contact someone with good references.
  • Executive Search Firms are like all other Firms. They want to be successful and profitable. A very successful and profitable Executive Search Firm probably does something right, so also check the finances.
  • It is also good to understand that sometimes, even a “good” Executive Search Firm might be the wrong choice if it does not have the right Industry experience and expertise needed.
  • Pay some attention to the price. There may or may not be a correlation between the Assignment Price vs Quality. However, if one Search Firm offers the Search for 20 000 €, another Firm for 40 000 € and the third Firm for 60 000 €, maybe you as a Client should stop and think why this is the case. Maybe this reflects a difference in the service level, maybe not, but in life in general, top-level experts tend to be more expensive than others. 

I would, e.g. not go to the cheapest doctors if I had a serious medical condition. I would try to go to the best ones because I know that the best ones are well educated, have the experience, are truly skilled top professionals and give high quality service. And yes, I know this will cost me more, but I am willing to pay to get a high-quality service. The same applies if I need the services of a Plumber, an Electrician and a Carpenter. I rather pay a higher price to ensure I get high quality service than take the cheapest Plumber, Electrician and Carpenter in the market and risk “ruining” my house.

Senior Executive Management Level Searches and Top-level Executive Search professionals just cost more. High professional expertise and quality usually do. That said, I am not categorically saying that you cannot get excellent service for a lower price too. It is always down to the person giving the service. There are always exceptions to the rule.

These are but a few examples. In my book, I address this subject both extensively and thoroughly, but in a short article like this, I can only talk about this very briefly.

Then some finishing words relating to my network activity.

Because there are only 24 hours in a day, I have not had the time to personally thank every person who has joined my network, no matter how much I have tried to do so. Therefore I here want to take the opportunity to, publicly, thank everyone for joining. It is always a privilege and pleasure to get someone into my network.

Increasing the awareness of and promoting top-level Executive Search can only be of benefit to anyone in the business world dealing with Executive Search.

To all those who are not yet in my network and want to promote and benefit from top-level Executive Search, I kindly invite you to join my network. The bigger the network, the better the impact. Just send me your network request, and I get you in.

PS. Always when I publish an article, I can almost hear someone out there saying: “This guy is just trying to sell his book.” To this, I answer: You are so right. What better way could there be for me to share my experience and knowledge for others to benefit than to get people reading my book.

I also regularly publish short Executive Search related articles (e.g., like this one) that are free and available to everyone. Short articles can never tell you everything a 270-page book can, but I hope they also can benefit someone.

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