How a retained executive search partner helps provide benchmarks against internal candidates

Learn about how a retained executive search partner helps provide benchmarks against internal candidates in this article that dives into internal recruitment.

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How a Retained Executive Search Partner Helps Provide Benchmarks Against Internal Candidates

The recruitment process for top executive positions within an organisation is often multifaceted and demands a rigorous approach. A promotion through internal candidates is a common method for many organisations looking to fill these roles. However, to ensure the candidate is suitable for the role, companies often collaborate with a retained executive search partner. This approach offers a more comprehensive viewpoint, especially when setting benchmarks against internal candidates. Let's delve deeper into the value such partners provide.


Objective Evaluation

Retained executive search partners extend the candidate pool beyond the boundaries of the company. With a more expansive selection, organisations can compare internal candidates against a diverse range of potential matches, enhancing the recruitment process's objectivity.

Given their external perspective, these search partners are detached from the organisation's internal politics and sentiments. This detachment ensures a non-partisan evaluation of candidates based on skills, experience, cultural alignment and future potential.


Setting a Competitive Standard

Retained executive search partners often have global networks and understand the standards set by industry leaders worldwide. Introducing such standards helps companies to benchmark their internal candidates against the very best in the world.

Specialised search partners also have in-depth industry knowledge that they can bring to the table. They can introduce metrics and benchmarks specifically tailored for the role and sector in question, ensuring that the selected candidate (whether internal or external) meets or exceeds these standards.


Comprehensive Skill Assessment

Every role demands a specific set of functional skills. A search partner, with its broader database, can compare internal candidates against a plethora of profiles, determining where they stand in terms of functional expertise. They can look at skills-based hires in a more holistic and future-proof way, ensuring a successful candidate appointment.

This is even more true for executive roles where things like leadership qualities are paramount. A retained executive search partner provides insights into leadership trends and qualities sought in the market, allowing companies to assess their internal candidates against these prevailing trends.


Cultural Fit Evaluation

While it's essential for a candidate to fit into the company culture, it's equally important to ensure that the culture aligns with industry norms. Search partners offer insights into what top organisations prioritise in their culture, aiding in a balanced evaluation.

Another area where executive search can help is by placing a focus on diversity and inclusion. In our globalised world, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but core aspects of any successful company. By collaborating with an executive search partner, organisations can gauge where their internal candidates stand concerning these principles. 


Compensation Benchmarking

To retain top talent, offering a competitive salary package is of utmost importance. Search partners have access to data from various industries and regions, helping organisations understand the current compensation trends. This benchmarking is beneficial when negotiating packages with internal candidates.

Beyond the basic salary, benefits and prerequisites play a pivotal role in executive positions. Retained search partners provide insights into the latest trends in benefits, ensuring that the company's offerings are on par with industry standards. 


Training and Development Insights

By understanding the training programs and development opportunities offered by top companies, organisations can benchmark their offerings. This knowledge helps in assessing the readiness of internal candidates and what additional training they might need.

Executive search partners can also identify the training and development gaps in the internal candidates compared to the industry's top leaders. This analysis helps companies tailor their development programs, ensuring their executives are industry-ready. 


Succession Planning and Long-term Vision

While assessing candidates for an executive position, it's essential to consider the long-term vision. Retained executive search partners help organisations understand the leadership qualities required for future challenges, ensuring that internal candidates are not just fit for the present but are also future-ready.

By comparing internal candidates against a broader talent pool, companies can gauge whether their executives align with the long-term growth strategy. Such benchmarking aids in making informed decisions about leadership roles. 


How Executive Search Partners Help Assess Internal Candidates

Now that we understand the value that executive search partners can provide when assessing internal candidates, let’s take a look at how they help. Below, we’ll go over some of the tools and techniques these specialists harness to ensure internal candidates are the right choice for a role:

  • Profiling and Personal Assessments

Search partners are adept at creating comprehensive profiles that detail a candidate's experience, skills, and potential. For internal candidates, this means a deeper dive into their performance history, competencies, and growth trajectory within the organisation.

  • 360-Degree Feedback

Many executive search firms employ 360-degree feedback tools that source inputs about a candidate from peers, subordinates, and superiors. This comprehensive feedback approach provides a holistic view of the internal candidate's strengths, areas of improvement, and interpersonal skills.

  • Behavioral Interview Techniques

Specialised in top-tier appointments, these partners utilise behavioural interview techniques to assess how internal candidates have reacted in past situations, providing insights into their problem-solving abilities, leadership style, and alignment with the company's values.

  • Assessment Centres

Some search partners use assessment centres that offer simulations and exercises mimicking real-world challenges. Internal candidates undergo these simulations to showcase their strategic thinking, decision-making prowess, and leadership capabilities in practical scenarios.

  • Potential vs Performance

While an internal candidate might have consistently performed well, executive search partners assess their potential for future roles, ensuring a strategic fit for upcoming challenges and company direction.

By adding a specialised layer of assessment for internal candidates, executive search partners ensure that organisations can recognise and nurture in-house talent, offering them growth opportunities that align with both their potential and the company's strategic vision. This holistic assessment provides a clear picture, ensuring that if an internal candidate is chosen, it is based on merit, potential, and alignment with the organisation's future goals.


Get More From Internal Recruitment With Executive Search

Collaborating with a retained executive search partner goes beyond merely filling a position. It offers companies an in-depth benchmarking tool to assess their internal candidates against global and industry standards. By leveraging the insights, data, and expertise of these partners, organisations can ensure they have the right leadership in place to drive success and growth.


If you’d like to learn more about how executive search can help with your internal hires, or if you would like our assistance in recruiting Senior or Board level roles then please reach out to our team at Collingwood Executive Search today.

About the author
Doug Mackay
10 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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