A Detailed Look at
Our Search Process
During scoping, we meet with the client, search committee and as many stakeholders as possible to develop a solid understanding of the organization’s current situation, mission, goals, and challenges in order to clarify how the individual is expected to contribute to the realization of future vision.
This is often a fascinating learning process, not only for us but for those involved in the many conversations we have, since each stakeholder may hold a slightly (or very) different vision of the leader and exactly what he or she must accomplish.
At the conclusion of these discussions, we develop a written position description of 3-6 pages in length. The position description includes a summary analysis of the organization, its role in the marketplace, its current challenges, vision, and how the person we will be recruiting will help the organization fulfill its goals.
Over the course of the process, we may speak to board members, senior management, staff members, direct reports, and various audiences to further ascertain requirements of the position, how decisions are made and how things work at the organization. We seek to understand what changes are taking place in the marketplace, what types of individuals succeed at the organization and what would be fair performance evaluation measures.
We ask questions to ascertain specific, measurable accomplishments that will demonstrate the individual’s success in the position, including a timeline for meeting these goals.
Sometimes, our questions about specific desired outcomes may result in a rethinking of the position based upon the current structure and the challenges the organization is facing.
As we discuss this role, we identify skills, relevant knowledge, style and environmental issues, expertise and responsibilities critical to success.
Because of our experience with a variety of organizations in many industries, and our role as outside observers, we may recognize needs for expertise which our client has not articulated. We may discover during this process that attributes initially identified as required are not as important as others revealed during the course of this inquiry.
The position description that is the result of this phase has two functions. It is designed to express complete clarity and agreement about the opportunity and to serve as a marketing document to attract desired candidates. Once the search committee approves the position description, we begin the research phase.
In our experience, the ideal leader for any given opportunity may not be from the most obvious sources, such as a related entity. Sometimes the changing needs of an organization require skills not yet common in the industry.
In the research phase, we develop theories of where to find the best candidates with the skills, philosophies, talents and experience the client seeks. We look at other organizations that have similar missions. We may study annual reports, internal documents and other organizational literature as well as external assessments of the organization to gain greater understanding of our client’s history and role in the marketplace.
During the research phase, we conduct an internal strategy session with the entire Boulware staff, in which we brainstorm ideas on where we will begin looking, including professional associations, related organizations, other industries, various networks.
Our research team consults an extensive proprietary internal database, online databases, such as Lexis-Nexis and other reference sources. We create lists of organizations and experts who may be resources in identifying potential candidates.
During the networking phase, we talk to a variety of people to discuss the opportunity, gather information about the marketplace and identify potential candidates to interview.
We may talk to a number of individuals influential in the industry and members of various professional groups, discussing requirements, goals and compensation. During this phase, we may learn about interesting changes at other organizations. We identify more people to speak to and eventually develop a pool of candidates.
As a result of scores of networking conversations, we uncover many talented people already in satisfying positions who would generally not be accessible utilizing conventional search techniques.
4. Identification & Screening
We conduct short, preliminary conversations with potential candidates to discuss the opportunity and determine those individuals to interview extensively.
We record relevant background insights to provide in detailed summaries of each candidate we present.
During this process, we conduct extensive personal interviews, utilizing behavioral models to learn each candidate’s values and motivation. We compare this with how the individual has demonstrated his or her principles and creativity throughout work history and life challenges. During these conversations, we develop a sense of how the candidate may fit the culture of the client organization.
Throughout this process, we verify credentials, and look for areas of weakness with the fit.
5. Interviewing and Comprehensive Referencing
Within eight to ten weeks of the beginning of the search, we provide a pool of highly qualified candidates, including a detailed written analysis of each person and a report of our extensive reference verification in order to streamline the interview process for our clients.
We provide a graphical grid that allows our clients to see how the candidates compare and rank in various expertise and personality areas.
The client selects candidates to interview.
We prepare an interview schedule, and, if desired, provide clients with a core issues topic and question outline to guide initial and final interviews. We also brief the candidates to facilitate productive conversations and make the best use of valuable time.
Clients report that the comprehensive nature of this phase sometimes dramatically reduces the time they have previously spent interviewing candidates in past searches.
6. Selection & Negotiation
Sometimes, making a choice among many excellent individuals with different strengths can be challenging. We can support clients in making a decision by offering standards of evaluation. We are also available to provide support in negotiating compensation and in coordinating relocation.