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Getting Started with an Executive Search Partner

April 4, 2024

Working with an executive search partner like Bolster makes the entire process easier. We can provide expertise, time, and resources to which your team may not have access, giving you a better chance at finding, recognizing, and hiring the right talent. 

Once you decide to work with an executive search partner, what should you expect? What can you do to make sure you get the best outcome? 

There are a few things to look out for and best practices to follow that will give you the best shot at success. We asked our team of executive recruiters to share their advice for making the most of your partnership. 

Building a search partnership

A third-party recruiting team should operate as an extension of your own team. We’ve found the best results often happen when your team is able to prioritize the search process. 

Expect open and frequent communication
Open lines of communication are essential to a successful search partnership. This can happen through a combination of face-to-face discussions, calls, and asynchronous chats. 

At times, you may feel like you’re over-communicating, but it’s important to share all relevant information with your search partner. We need to know about the role, the team, your expectations for the search, and more. We’re here to help you solve your biggest challenges—so help us help you!

A good search partner will return the favor, sharing the responses they receive in market, what is or isn’t working throughout the process, and any constructive feedback that can push your team towards the best possible outcome. 

Be dedicated to the process
We know your business doesn’t stop while you have an open search. To see the fastest and best results, though, you’ll need to prioritize your search. 

Your team can increase your chances of success by dedicating appropriate time to the process. Setting aside time to meet with your search partner, review candidates, conduct interviews, and provide feedback will pay off in the long run. We’ll be with you every step of the way to help ensure your time is spent on top candidates and meaningful discussions. 

When all parties are dedicated to the search, it shows up in the trust between partners and in the candidate experience.

Building an executive hiring committee

Creating a hiring team for an executive role is a unique challenge. Each team will be a bit different based on the role and the needs of the company, but we’ve provided a starting point for your consideration. When you work with Bolster, we can give more specific input once we have more information about your exact needs.

The makeup of the internal hiring team
Again, there’s not a single “correct” way to structure your hiring team, but there are a few core people who are typically involved. 

As key stakeholders, several people from your leadership team should be a part of the hiring decision. This should include the direct manager, some close peers, and a direct report or two. Because this is an executive hire, a board member is often also included. Each interviewer should have their own area of focus—this way, candidates aren’t answering the same questions multiple times or leaving things unaddressed. 

The team’s perspective 
The ideal executive hiring team is driven and invested in the process. They are closely aligned on the why behind the search, meaning they know and generally agree on the needs of the team and the goals for the role. Throughout our collective experience, we at Bolster have found the best results from teams that are collaborative, open-minded, and representative of a diverse blend of experiences, backgrounds, and demographics. 

Preparing for the first meeting

When you prepare for your first meeting with a prospective executive search partner, there are a few questions you should be prepared to answer. These will help us better understand your needs and the scope of the search, ultimately laying the groundwork for a successful partnership. 

  • Why is the role open?
  • What do you expect the person to achieve in the first 90 days?
  • What are the biggest challenges the person might face initially?
  • What is your ideal candidate profile?

These questions will help you reflect on your organization’s needs, grasp the specifics of your open role, and set the parameters for an initial slate of candidates to calibrate the search. All of this will help you connect with the right search partner. 

Working with Bolster

At Bolster, we’re reinventing executive search by combining the power of experienced recruiters with our intelligent sourcing platform. Built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, Bolster matches CEOs with transformational executives for full-time, fractional, and board roles—without the hassle of traditional talent sourcing. It’s smarter search done faster and with more confidence.

When you work with Bolster, you get access to an extraordinary team that takes the time to listen, understand, and respond to your needs. It’s our mission to partner with and support founders—whether by expanding your access to top talent, offering up our expertise and perspective, or sharing resources that will help you scale. 

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with us? Book a time to chat with our team.