The biggest mistake most people make in negotiating executive search firm contracts is focusing solely on the outcome instead of the hiring process. In hiring, your goal is not to merely hire someone qualified; your goal is to hire a top performer, so your contracts need to reflect that.
Unfortunately, most people negotiate search firm contracts like they are getting a photocopier delivered, instead of contracting for a professional service. This sets the stage for mediocre hiring results.
This is what almost everyone pays attention to in an executive search firm contract:
And this is what almost everyone forgets to negotiate in an executive search firm contract:
Although these five contract elements are important, they are not enough to prevent hiring someone mediocre. Your contracting process must also ensure that that the right recruiting process will be followed. A great hiring process provides structure to the hiring decision, gathers information, identifies alternatives, weighs the evidence, challenges assumptions, and considers the landscape in which the decision is being made. The search firm contract should outline all of that.
Executive search firm contracts should specify the strategic framework that will ensure you’ve considered the best people in your hiring process.
To minimize the risk of hiring someone mediocre, your contracting process should specify these three elements:
Including these elements in your contract review will reduce your risk of hiring an ineffective vendor, and reduce your risk of making a hiring mistake.
The key for you as the buyer is to understand what exactly an executive search firm can really do for you. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our work with search committees, and our process for recruiting senior staff members.
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