As part of its efforts to elevate executive search professional standards and to expand the general awareness about its mission, AESC generated documents on the quality of services for clients. These documents reinforce its Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines specifically viewed from the client's perspective. The Client's Bill of Rights provides unequivocal proof of why clients should only expect the best quality services from AESC members. The Client's Bill of Rights provides a better understanding of the executive search practice, helping to improve AESC member's business relations.
Search firms will answer most -- but not all -- of these questions in the consulting contract. Therefore, the more you know about the ins and outs of working with search firms, the better your chances of achieving a successful search and receiving full value for your investment. Based on this premise AESC defined the following rules as the "Client's Bill of Rights", by which Fesa abides entirely.
Not all search firms offer the same services, but they should all operate in line with the highest professional standards. In addition to the obvious differences in size and manpower, search firms also vary in their areas of expertise, their knowledge of and contacts within various industries, and the skills and experience levels of their search consultants.
Before agreeing to undertake any search, Fesa should:
This requires that the client provide a full and accurate description of its organization, business needs and culture, the position to be filled, and its criteria for the ideal candidate. If fesa cannot handle the assignment, we will explain why and then refer the client to another firm better equipped to meet the client's needs.
In addition to the consultant who generates the business relationship, there may be a team of professionals who will handle the search assignment.
It is certainly within the client's rights to ask for and to receive full and open disclosure regarding the consultants and their ability to successfully handle the assignment, as well as the resources Fesa has available to support the consultant/team working on the project.
"Retained executive search consulting" is defined as a specialized form of management consulting, conducted through an exclusive engagement and on a pre-determined retainer-fee basis. Fesa's purpose is to assist your organization in defining executive positions, identifying well-qualified and motivated candidates, and selecting those best suited through comprehensive, quality assured search processes.
In addition to locating high quality candidates, Fesa should also provide information and feedback that not only helps direct your search for executive talent but can also be used to run your business more effectively. This feedback includes:
Do not expect Fesa to provide a 50-page market research report for your retainer fee. Rather Fesa should give it's client a reasonable overview of market conditions and the general perception of your organization in the marketplace for talent
By its very nature, an executive search requires you to divulge highly sensitive information about your organization. Fesa will treat any and all information the client gives us with the utmost confidentiality.
At the same time, Fesa cannot conduct an effective search without making some information available to potential candidates. To protect it's clients interests, however, Fesa should guarantee that he or she will:
In order to conduct a successful search, Fesa must have a crystal clear understanding of the position to be filled, the requirements of the job and the client company's culture. Accordingly, the client should insist on receiving a report that details Fesas' understanding of:
Fesa will do more than just feed back the job description presented to them by the client. Fesa will proactively help its client develop, modify and refine its own understanding of the position. To help with this critical step, give Fesa access to all those who participate in the selection process and encourage them to provide full disclosure regarding the position to be filled.
Because the job description represents the bedrock of a successful search, you have a reciprocal obligation to notify Fesa at any time circumstances (either internal or external) that require a change in the position or the type of person you're looking for. Be aware that a major change in search specifications may require a change in fees
Depending on the position to be filled, the availability of talent and a host of other factors, a successful search can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. To keep the client up-to-date, Fesa should provide ongoing progress reports that include:
Fesa should provide its client with updates regularly, either by phone, fax, e-mail, written report or some combination of all four. Let your consultant know your preferences.
Fesa should present its client with a range of qualified potential candidates, whom he or she has thoroughly assessed and interviewed. Fesa should be able to discuss each candidate's:
In presenting candidates, either individually or in a "shortlist," the client should expect the consultant to discuss the interviewing arrangements and other issues that can affect the critical interviewing process. Immediately after the client interviewed candidates, Fesa will solicit your comments and feedback and help you conduct comparative candidate assessment and analysis. Fesa should complete and transmit to its client the verification of credentials and reference checks.
If it becomes apparent that the search will take considerably longer than expected or that it may not yield an acceptable range of candidates, Fesa will inform its client as soon as possible and discuss alternative courses of action.
Once the client has selected a final candidate, Fesa's role changes from that of search agent to negotiator and communicator. At this point, Fesa's primary function is to help its client bring the candidate on board in a manner that facilitates a long and successful stay with the client organization. This includes:
Although Fesa represents its client's interests first and foremost, Fesa must also remain sensitive to the needs and concerns of the candidate. To do otherwise significantly reduces the chances of a successful hire. In addition, representing both parties with integrity and professionalism ensures two important outcomes:
Remember that your candidates are also very busy professionals who have sacrificed valuable time to talk with you. Furthermore, they did not solicit this opportunity; it was presented to them.
Fesa cannot (and should not be expected to) guarantee to fill its client's position. Fesa also cannot guarantee that, once placed, a new hire will stay with its clients firm. With that in mind, Fesa will provide (in writing) an explanation of the firm's policy regarding possible outcomes. These include:
Seemingly successful placements can sometimes fall apart during the transition period. As a result, Fesa's responsibility does not end when the candidate accepts the offer. Instead, Fesa will stay in contact with the new hire as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition and help them settle into the new position. Above all, Fesa should make sure that its client is fully satisfied before considering the search a success and concluding the assignment.
Given the importance that filling the position with the most qualified executive and with the highest quality services rendered to the client company, by working with Fesa the client will effectively beneficiate from the established partnership with a high quality Consulting Firm. The client should, however, assume a pro-active attitude in managing its relationship with Fesa. It should provide complete and precise information on the position and on the profile of the desired candidate, in addition to very clearly defining its expectations for the services to be rendered by Fesa in the search process for the ideal executive. The client must keep open all communication channels and maintain close and frequent contact with Fesa until the search is complete and to the satisfaction of all involved. If, however, at any moment, Fesa appears not to understand the nature of the project, does not provide enough feedbacks and/or does not submit regular progress reports, and, also, if Fesa does not present a satisfactory number of qualified candidates, or does not represent the client the way it would like to be represented, the client organization should express its dissatisfaction immediately, so as to allow the course of the research to be corrected.
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