UNBUNDLED SEARCH SERVICES
Retained search services are typically billed with three sets of invoices in thirds. One third up front, one third in process and the last piece at the end. There are three real elements of a search provided by retained search firm for the client. The first piece is market mapping where you research the marketplace based on the parameters of the search and create candidate profiles and contact information for the target candidate universe. The second phase of the process is the actual recruitment. In the case of executives this needs to be high touch, involve multiple modes of communication at times and must involve an education process for the desired prospective candidate. The final phase is the assessment where a search firm must do in-depth around the person their leadership competencies, functional competencies, motivations, drivers for success, fatal flaws, etc.
All three process for executive level roles have to handled by true search professionals in a high touch quality manner. All take significant time and attention.
Many in our organization have built internal executive talent functions for large organizations. We have built this firm. We understand that in today’s world some of these resources exist inside our clients. There are, however, times when they cannot execute on the three elements of a search without outside assistance because of confidentiality, work load, ability to reach out to their industry directly, etc.
Because we partner with organizations we have developed special relationships with clients whereby we have unbundled our search services provided one or more of three elements of a retained search but not the entire process. We have developed special relationships through our partnership with some organizations and as such have unbundled our search services providing one or more of the three elements of a retained search, but not the entire process. The best example of this is a Fortune 200 Industrial client that has paid us a monthly retainer for five years to work on their critical jobs. They have a very advanced assessment process and really only want us to focus on the first two parts of the search process. We have developed a customized service for them whereby we focus on sourcing and recruiting.
Unbundled search services are only for clients that have the internal capability to execute on the pieces the search firm doesn’t engage in. This means that you have to have internal talent with the skills and the bandwidth to properly execute on the pieces or pieces that Westport Intl isn’t engage in. Unbundled search is a partnership of activities between vendor and client and anything short of that can produce bad results for both parties.
Market mapping starts with a kick off call to discuss the job and define the target universe of where top candidates can come from. Based on that conversation and job description Westport Intl will send a Market Mapping engagement letter that includes a game plan on generating information on who the client wants to target for this specific search. The information provided is to be as complete as possible. We identify people from target companies, industries and through our research tools complete bios on these people, their job history, education, pictures if possible, etc. We will then create contact information plans of these individuals-phone, emails-work, personal if possible.
Market mapping is designed to get a look at your most desired top targets targets for a search and not be a complete search process and a list of an entire industry. We limit the number of profiles to 100 and tell clients this service is design for VP and C Suite type roles only.
When to Use
Often clients will use this very early in the process when a retained search is newly opened or even before the role is open.
How to Use
The most effective use of market mapping is to work with your internal stakeholders to define the people, profiles, experiences that you want to target for the particular position. Once the market mapping is presented to the internal stakeholders, clients typically get quick alignment on what everyone is really looking for in a candidate. This is not unlike when a first slate of candidates is presented on a typical retained executive search – alignment generally comes quickly. Because we include content information we also give the client, who has a strong internal talent acquisition function, the ability to engage those people directly.
If a client, for any reason, isn’t successful using the market information to generate the desired candidate, the monies spent can then be applied towards a full retained search project with Westport.
We developed this offering based on client demand. A Fortune 200 diversified industrial organization asked us to do specific sourcing for certain talent targeted out of certain organizations. The research was not around a specific role, per se, but for identifying external top talent to upgrade their organization and provide executive bench strength objectives. We literally built this plan year-after- year as part of their succession plan.
Finding profile people in LinkedIn, databases, etc. is one thing. Attracting in-demand passive people for open executive role is another thing. We don’t fill executive roles with the same sort of advertising; make aware approaches that work with lower level roles. Executive searches are more high touch and require a variety or reach-outs. Some executives respond through LinkedIn while many do not. Having personal emails and work emails is more effective. With others response comes via phone calls. The bottom line is that the world is not simple enough for one approach. You have to connect with people in a timely fashion in the mode they use most often for career communications and you have to discover that as you go.
The message and the brand and expertise of the person delivering that message is also very important. Why? Because in many instances executives will investigate who called them, check them out on their website or in LinkedIn before the decide to respond. Position the opportunity properly; building on relationship and brand expertise of the person doing that is the difference in response and engagement by many of these very busy executives. Too often many people have had their time wasted in the past or have been treated badly by one of the large search firms and because of this they become more wary around responding.
We put a program together with clients that start with their relationships, our relationships, etc and put together an exhaustive approach with multiple contacts through different channels to reach out and engage these people on the role/opportunity.
We believe that the first critical component to a successful search is understanding our client’s culture, values and needs. This allows us to work with the client to map the corresponding behaviors, competencies, motivators and experiences that are needed in order for us to find the right candidate. Our candidate assessment process is multi-dimensional. We delve deep and assess many areas including leadership capability, functional competencies, motivators, past accomplishments, potential derailers and personal ethics and philosophies.
The Westport team is a group of dedicated professionals who have extensive experience in candidate assessments. We understand how to recognize the “canned” answer and how to dive deep in order to get to the real person. Our true talent lies in being able to assess candidates and match their capabilities and values with clients.