Executive Search – Three qualities to look for

An executive search may be one of the most rewarding processes an organization can go through. Although the process can be tedious when the search is done right the return on investment is immensely valuable.

When conducting executive searches for clients, we generally see them looking to fill an externally facing role. The organization is looking for a new face and image, and someone who can represent their organization well. A person with an externally facing role will make impressions on people in 15 seconds or less—when it comes to the success of your organization, first impressions absolutely matter.

With that in mind, here are three things to keep in mind for when looking for the right candidate, all stemming from first impressions:

1. Overall Courtesy
When filling an executive role, having someone who is courteous is a must. We consider how the candidate treated our administrative assistants and people waiting in the lobby. Were they outgoing and friendly or did they burrow down and look at their phone? Did they say thank you and engage in a conversation?  This is something we look for as it gives a glimpse into how they will treat others when representing an organization.

2. Follow Up
Follow up is an important factor to consider. Not only does it show us they are serious about the position, but it also keeps them on our radar due to the high volume of applicants during an executive search.  We look for follow-up emails and hand written notes thanking us for our time. These things constantly remind us of their presence.

3. Research
Research seems like a given when a person is in a job search, but that’s not always the case. The most successful applicants we’ve seen thoroughly do their research. During an executive search decisions are generally made by a committee and the research a candidate does in advance not only shows their knowledge of the organization, but makes the committee feel warm and cared about. This is important because if the candidate does this for the committee they will likely do the same in their position when they are building relationships on the organizations behalf.

Aaron Fulkerson is the EVP and CFO of STF and an expert in management consulting practices.  He has completed executive searches for a variety of clients nationally including corporations, universities and nonprofits.