The Role of a Search Firm
A search firm provides a wide range of recruiting activities including identifying the core responsibilities and qualifications needed for a given role; writing job descriptions; developing a candidate pool; assessing how candidates’ skills, experience, and personalities match the open position; conducting reference checks; and advising on the negotiation process between the organization and the final candidate.
The functions of a search firm:
- Identification of qualified candidates. A search firm can develop an outreach strategy to identify candidates outside of an organization’s common networks. This may include a strategy for placing advertisements, making phone calls and sending emails to uncover new candidates—even those potential candidates not actively job hunting.
- Coordinating interviews and notification to unsuccessful applicants.
- Complete tasks within its area of expertise. Many search firms will have a particular expertise that may be focused on a service area (e.g., higher education or healthcare), a budget size, or a function (e.g., executive directors, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, development directors, etc.).
- Act as an objective participant in the process. Search firm consultants should identify issues as they arise.
- Free up valuable time of the search committee. Search firms can create useful resume screening and interview tools to save time and create a better outcome.
- Maintain confidentiality. Sometimes the nature of a search must be confidential in order to avoid publicity of a senior leader’s departure. A search firm can conduct a search without sharing the name of the organization. The search firm is also responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the potential candidates.
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