Key Elements of an Effective Search and Selection Process

Our research indicates that an evidence-based focus on the 7 key aspects of the executive search and selection process will improve its quality, and support the achievement of high-performance outcomes.

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These are the 7 key elements of a high-quality, best practice executive search and selection process;

1. Organisational evaluation; by firstly defining and assessing the organisational environment and culture, a platform of values, beliefs and goals can be created on which to develop the role and person requirements. This is to ensure the leader’s knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics are matched to the organisational context.

2. Role requirements; the role analysis will, if developed correctly, describe what the critical success factors are and how the defined measures of success can be predicted. Yet very often the role requirements analysis process is often ignored or rushed.

3. Person requirements; the person analysis is designed to establish the critical knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics required by the executive to achieve success in the role. External leadership candidates are often favoured for their specific technical expertise, yet very often such a strength is accompanied by a weakness in developing relationships with (new) colleagues, whether this involves managing upwards with their manager, across their organisation with peers or downwards with their direct reports.

4. Search pools; may consist solely of external candidates but can involve one or more internal candidates together with several external candidates. Search ‘pool’ research involves completing a comprehensive analysis of the marketplace and specific client-driven factors, outlining key companies and considering all options in order to gain access to the best executive talent for the role.

5. Matching methods; this element assesses and compares candidates in the selection pool to the organisational evaluation, role and person requirements analysis and consists of who will make the selection decision and how the decision will be made. The matching method is at the core of the executive search and selection process, yet its effectiveness is reliant on the quality of the stages that precede it, as well as the rigour of the matching method itself.

6. Onboarding and career transition; this element is a way of helping new recruits to move from being ‘outsiders’ to ‘insiders’ by fast-tracking the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to succeed in their new organisation.

7. ROI performance outcomes; these are key performance indicators that validate the return on investment derived from external executive search and selection activities and include measures such as client and new leader satisfaction, process time, onboarding evaluation, business performance outcomes, tenure in a role and career progress.

Download our How to brief an Executive Search Partner template guide, enabling you to communicate information critical to a successful executive search partnership, ensuring your perfect candidate(s) is appointed first time, without costly mistakes of mis-hires or miscommunications affecting the search. 

About the author
Doug Mackay
5 min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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