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Top Ten Things You Need To Consider When Selecting A Search Firm

In selecting your provider of Technology Executive Search and Assessment services, does your company apply the same criteria as it does for all of its other procurement activities or does it have specific criteria that address the rapidly evolving Technology sector?

At Hightech Partners, a specialized “boutique” Executive Search firm with over 3 decades of track record in the high-tech industry, with an important focus on the IT Services market, we have been responding to our major global Clients’ demands and would characterise what we consider to be the prevailing “top ten” criteria to become a preferred recruitment partner.

We would suggest that all Recruiting Executives should keep these at the front of their minds when selecting a supplier of Executive Search services.


  • Competence, Coverage and Track Record: Is the firm truly global and international in reach, does it have a credible track record and do its Principals have sufficient subject matter competence in your company’s business?

  • Critical mass: Does it have sufficient in-house expertise to handle your business or is it so thinly spread that it can only handle one search at a time, open to being overwhelmed by one Client?

  • Research Support System: Does it have internal systems that are connected to all relevant social media and is their data base of candidates kept up to the minute ? Does it use the latest search engines and is it able to give you a real-time, on demand report on the progress of your searches. Does it demonstrably use the technologies that you use – cloud services, on-demand computing, video conferencing etc – in its daily business?

  • Responsiveness and Accuracy: Will it give quantifiable commitments to deliver a 3-5 candidate shortlist in a short specified period of time, with a commitment that these candidates will be found worthy of interview by your company?

  • Quality of deliverables: Will it deliver reports — prior to your interviews — that include a concise written assessment of each presented candidate based on face-to- face meetings which verify (a) the candidate’s abilities against your stated requirement and (b) the credibility of the candidate’s CV? Or do they merely pass on CV’s downloaded from the Internet? Will the deliverables lay out the essential facts and concise opinion about a candidate in a way that can be quickly appreciated by a reviewing executive, or will they be verbatim copies of candidate provided material dressed up to look objective?
  • Client Account Management: Will it undertake to manage all communications with your company in an orderly way and provide a ‘one port of call’ for all queries from your organisation?

  • Fees and expenses: Are its fees demonstrably competitive for the service it commits to provide? Is it flexible enough to meet your company’s demands with respect to cash flow, volume procurement, rebates and discounts? Does it undertake to charge expenses at cost and to limit expenses in an auditable way?

  • Value Added Services: Is it capable of providing additional relevant services on request such as access to its Research System so that Hiring Managers can monitor its search work, Psychometric Assessment of candidates, Candidate coaching-on-induction or Benchmarking Compensation for given searches?

  • Sustainability: To what extent is the firm committed to and practising a code of reducing physical travel, energy and all other costs in all its activities?

  • Ethics: Has the firm signed up to any accepted code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines? Does it demonstrably adhere to such ethics and can it provide appropriate references? Is it willing to conform to your Company’s guidelines on ethical business conduct?
  • Social networks have become pervasive. Individuals increasingly file their CV’s on the Internet, in one form or another. It would seem that searching for the right candidate profile should be increasingly easier, faster and cheaper than hitherto. Certainly, past performance is no guarantee of future success:

    Search Firms which have not adapted their own processes in step with technological innovation will be unable to meet the criteria outlined above.

    But the abiding reality of present day Executive Search activity is that notwithstanding Social Networks (Linkedin in particular), Companies require Search firms not only to be up to date in their methods, but also to be (a) Diligent in verifying stated claims in CV’s, (b) Knowledgeable about Technology businesses of today so as to accurately map their requirements against stated candidate abilities and (c) Professionally competent (in a Managerial sense) so as to provide a concise, defensible written Assessment of any presented candidate prior to any expenditure of time on the Client company’s part.

    Diligence, Industry knowledge and Managerial Competence are factors that a Search firm can bring to a Search, and these are not deliverable by Social Networks alone.

    Quality of Search processes, quality of Deliverables and Transparency of operation are vital. They enable flexibility in Terms and Conditions and Responsiveness to Client needs.

    And conformance to accepted business ethics is a natural and necessary outcome from adherence to these norms.

    Choosing your supplier of Search Services is as critical as any other procurement activity – it just needs to be an ordered process based on the right and relevant criteria.

    For further information on this and related topics please contact us either via mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call us on +32 2 663 1600


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