April 27, 2020  

3 Factors to Executive Screening Every Search Firm Must Consider Today

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As the global COVID-19 pandemic brings the world to a screeching halt, the world of executive search has some unprecedented challenges to face.

Some sectors are witnessing a drop off in hiring while others are booming. Virtual interviews are now the new normal, as well as remote on-boarding and training, which is a difficult adjustment for most firms. Despite the current climate, clients’ expectations on quality of candidate have not shifted, and mistakes can give already-skittish clients cause to opt out of renewing retained search contracts and working with your competition.

Now more than ever, leaders of executive search businesses have to consider: what values must I consider as part of every decision in order to make executive vetting more efficient and minimize the risk of mistakes? To evolve beyond current situational threats and protect your investments, time, cost, and comprehensiveness must now be factored into every decision you make.

3 Factors Every Executive Search Firm Must Consider Today

Time: Leaders Need to Think About Time Efficiency

In times of uncertainty, can you say every partner, analyst and consultant are maximizing their strengths while still maintaining the highest level of client support and expectations?

Whether you have a consolidated vetting function, or your partners perform ad hoc searches on their own candidates, manual tasks such as lengthy Boolean string searches and typing ctrl + f on a candidate’s social media profiles are mundane tasks for high-value individuals. The time a partner or analyst spends combing through a candidate’s background is time they could be investing in the strength of the company, especially when many companies are currently in uncertain territory.

Utilizing tools designed specifically to alleviate these manual challenges frees up every contributor to reinvest that time saved to growing value for your organization. Executive search is all about people, not repeated, manual processes. This time should be reinvested into cultivating top talent, client relations and management, or new client prospecting.

Cost: Even a Small Mistake Is Expensive

There has likely never been a period in history when more, perhaps nearly all, organizations are evaluating every expenditure and ensuring the return on that investment is as optimal as possible.

But vetting an executive’s background has historically been a largely manual and tedious task, with traditional firms charging several thousand dollars for a single report. In such times of uncertainty with many companies and businesses looking to optimize their investments, thousands of dollars could make or break them. At the same time, cutting corners on a background check could mean a bad hire.

Fama has applied its artificial intelligence to the executive search candidate vetting function, providing sizable cost savings. With a progressive screening approach, executive search firms can now apply the full spectrum of Fama’s capabilities to not only ensure their final candidate is secure, but their first picks or short list of finalists as well. Comprehensive reviews of candidates at all stages will ensure that clients can trust your firm to provide qualified and quality candidates—and keep the contract going.

Comprehensiveness: Getting the Full Picture

In the current state of affairs, where a single mistake can cost a six-figure retained search contract, assuming that a candidate has previously been vetted by other institutions can carry substantial risks.

Regardless of the likelihood of a problem, representing a candidate with a history of unresolved problematic behaviors is a very high-risk scenario. In addition to the fact that clients are actively researching their own candidates for risk, consumers continue to have access to an ever-expanding source of publicly available material. If you don’t find the needle in the haystack first, it will still be found, and your clients will demand to know why you were not aware. 

Thus, it is not a step that can be skipped if executive search firms want to keep their clients’ trust. The simplest solution is to be sure that all the information about a candidate is available and accurate. Fama is not only thorough and highly customizable—it also helps remove a margin of error that humans may occasionally overlook, as an AI cannot make the same mistakes in finding and transcribing information.

Fama applies unparalleled value towards each of these values and enables cutting edge firms the ability to evolve beyond the challenges of our current situation and come out the other end stronger. It’s an insurance policy that retained search firms can’t afford to skip.

Preston Ames is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Fama. Prior to Fama, Preston held several positions within monetization at leading technology companies including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. He is passionate about enrolling business leaders to utilize the power of technology to help their companies thrive.

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