June 27, 2022 – In the world of executive search, most searches conclude with a finalist candidate accepting a search firm-mediated client offer that establishes the agreed upon financial terms, start date, and on-boarding initiative — important items to any new leader. However, a new report from BroadView Talent Partners explains that many are surprised to hear that a search firm’s engagement with both client and candidate doesn’t have to end with placement. In fact, BroadView Talent says that post-placement consultation and follow-up is perhaps the most important part of the firm’s search process.
In the course of connecting the next best leaders with the organizations who need them, search professionals become trusted advisors to both clients and candidates. During the 75-to-90 day engagement period, BroadView Talent works to establish familiarity, comfort, and trust with both sides. “We extend that trusted adviser relationship by honing in on the efficacy of the placed candidate’s on-boarding and facilitating a smooth, first-year transition,” the search firm said.
Consistent with industry standards, BroadView Talent guarantees candidate placements for one year. “A well-executed on-boarding process — one that lasts at least a year — sets the new leader up for both short- and long-term success,” the firm said. “When on-boarding is not taken seriously and executed strategically, the new leader’s tenure and organization’s ROI may both be short-lived and under-achieved.”
At all costs, it is imperative that a search firm does its best to ensure that a new leader not only excels in year one, but also thrives and transforms the organization for many years thereafter.
As such, BroadView Talent advises clients to allow a newly placed candidate to take a week or two after ending one job before starting anew. This allows the candidate to have a clear mind, undivided attention and focus on the new leadership role and challenge ahead.
“Next, it is key that a new leader hits milestones, achieves objectives, and attends to the priorities agreed upon with the board shortly after executing the employment agreement,” said the BroadView Talent report. “Therefore, we schedule specific check-ins with placed candidates at the following intervals over their first year: day two, day seven, day 30, day 60, day 90, and day 180.”
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At these checkpoints, search firms will ensure that the new leader has a positive mental attitude about work imperatives, on-boarding, and team leadership, said BroadView Talent. “Firms should listen, observe and discern how they are feeling about the transition, alignment with the board, and the establishment and cultivation of productive relationships and strong partnerships with key stakeholders,” it said. “We make note of any contraindications or issues that may need to be communicated and mediated.”
Building a Trusted Relationship
Because candidates tend to build a trusted relationship with search professionals, they often will confide in us that which they may not share as transparently with the board/client, the report said. In a new leader’s first 90 days, search firms particularly want to ensure that promises made between the board and the candidate during the search and within an employment agreement have been honored and, if not, determine where inconsistencies exist.
“When we become aware of challenges or sense red flags or disconnects, we set aside time to communicate discreetly and confidentially with the client,” the BroadView Talent report said. “Our goal is to ensure that both parties address prevailing issues and challenges, clarify roles and responsibilities and ultimately align around expectations, KPIs, and measure of first year success.”
In essence, the search firm’s role in this coordinated, post-placement approach to new leader onboarding, one that leverages candor and transparency, effectively helps clients and placed candidates to “get out of their own way” and focus on what truly matters to take the organization to its next level of growth and development.
The BroadView Talent report says that post-placement follow-up during and throughout the new leader’s first year is a vital component that both clients and candidates often underestimate and undervalue. “By staying involved post-placement, an executive search firm delivers value-added service that sets the new leader up for long-term success by preventing derailment in year one,” the search firm said.
Founded in 2015, BroadView Talent Partners is a national executive search firm dedicated to placing leadership in affordable housing agencies, non-profit organizations, and associations, as well as middle market companies. The firm provides clients with a national network; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a record of long-tenured placements. Its specialties include executive search, talent acquisition, retention solutions, career management, executive coaching, and board development.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media