Choosing the best executive search firm is critical to the success of your recruitment process. Finding the right calibre of talent to fill your senior executive positions is no easy feat – the candidate will need to possess the right industry experience, the right skills, have proven results in their field, and be the right fit for your business culturally – so utilising a professional search firm and their expertise is the best way to ensure you hire the best talent possible.

The current recruitment landscape is largely driven by candidates, with candidates often having many opportunities to choose from at once. So, businesses on looking to fill executive level roles, need to position themselves as the best in the market, showcasing a great employer brand alongside a competitive salary and benefits package.

Executive search firms normally operate on a retained recruitment basis – a third of the fee is paid upfront on engagement, a third on shortlist and the final third on placement of the candidate. This allows executive search firm specialists to complete the most in-depth analysis of the current candidate market, researching the competitor landscape for talent as well as utilising existing candidate networks.

Here are some things to question when selecting your executive search firm and why we think we are the right partners for you.


Previous domain experience

Does the executive search firm have the specific domain experience that you are looking for? Have they successfully placed the same niche role in other businesses?

At Intelligent People, we’re specialists and recruitment leaders within the product management, marketing, and eCommerce space, and have placed many C-level candidates over the last 20 years. We’re experts in our niche areas – finding Chief Product Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, eCommerce VP’s and Chief Customer Officers. We can deliver shortlists to our clients quickly because our consultants already know the market inside out and therefore do not have to spend as much time in the discovery phase as many other headhunters would have to.


Reviews and past placements

Does the executive search firm have a good reputation? Do they have good reviews on Google, Indeed and LinkedIn? Are they able to showcase customer case studies on their website? Do you have a personal recommendation from a colleague? How long have they been in business?

Intelligent People have been in business for over 20 years, and we’re trusted experts for a reason. We’re proud of our 4.8 review score on Google, and work hard to provide the best service for all our candidates and clients every day. We have many client success stories on our website which showcase the recruitment challenge of our customers, and how we have helped to overcome these and provide solutions.


Culture fit

Do you gel with the executive search firm personally? Are they the right culture fit for your business? Do you trust the business?

Intelligent People are an executive search firm with a difference – we genuinely love what we do, and our approach always has been ethical and consultative with our clients and candidates. We’re never pushy, always wanting the best outcome for whoever we are working with. This approach has led us to success, and that’s why 81% of our clients decide to work with us again. All Executive Search clients will be managed by one of our co-founders, Chris and Doug, who will handle the project on a confidential and discreet basis.


Services offered

What services do the executive search agency offer? What is included within their fee? What advice can they give?

Our expert consultants and researchers manage recruitment projects from end-to-end. For our corporate and scale-up clients, this means advising on employer branding, candidate profiles, salary benchmarking, search strategy, engagement strategy, candidate ass, selection process and everything in-between.

We often get asked for the best interview questions to ask C-level candidates and we’ve collated some guides to help you with this: Chief Marketing Officer, eCommerce Director / VP, Chief Product Officer.

We regularly advise our clients on the salary and package expectations of Executive level candidates – find out more here for Product Management, Marketing, eCommerce and Digital.



Does the executive search firm share the candidate research willingly? Do they share candidate contact information with you? Are they transparent with who they have contacted and why? Are there any companies which they cannot contact due to conflict of interests?

It’s important to choose an executive search partner that you trust – as a business you are parting with a large sum of money upfront, and you should have full visibility of what the recruitment partner are doing, where they are at with the search, and any other avenues to explore.

We consider ourselves as ethical recruitment partners – building relationships with our clients is more important than pushing sales – and so we will always be honest and transparent with our clients.



How quickly can the search firm deliver your search? Do they have capacity to start straight away? What are their fees and when are they charged?

As we already have a network of candidates which is 35,000 strong, we do not have to spend time at the ‘discovery’ phase of work that other executive search firms need to. This means our speed of delivery is second to none, delivering a shortlist of top-level talent to our clients within 5 – 6 weeks. Read more about our executive search process.



Choosing the right partner for you is critical to the success of your hiring process. Contact us today with your executive search requirements and we’d be happy to help.

Executives At Search Firm