Job descriptions and role advertising

Your job description is a specific document which is drafted to be internal, but is also shared externally to prospective applicants; this is a critical juncture where the document has to pass the credibility test. 

The advert, because it is a public ‘teaser’, is more of a marketing document, therefore it is a little looser on the detail and aimed to appeal more broadly in order to invite applications.  It does require, however, some key criteria for assessing candidates, which may be provided as an addendum to the job description, this will allow internal and external recruiters the opportunity to properly assess applicants in line with the recruiting manager’s expectations.  

The recruiting manager should be open to advert responses, because of the looser parameters they may challenge original assumptions – this can better guide the job description and advert drafting in the future.   

The documents should have some key consistencies.


The tone of these documents need to:

  1. Reflect the real needs of the role, not feature corporate speak, in-house language, or acronyms
  2. Be honest – challenges are better expressed up front rather come as surprises by the appointee on day 1 of the job
  3. Be attractive and appealing – assume that you have to try hard to find the best, which is the reality – mediocrity is never in short supply. This principle is key for attraction (i.e. job adverts), but is often forgotten about in retention (i.e. in job descriptions and development reviews).  Its inclusion can rekindle the passion for the role that first attracted a long-serving incumbent to take it in the first place.


Both job descriptions, assessment criteria and adverts need to have content broken into key parts:

  1. The job role or title featured early, clearly (plainly) and prominently. It helps for this to be as consistent as possible with industry norms, individuals often check their career progress against their peers by such simple measurements
  2. Organisation, current situation and goals
  3. Role context, targets and reporting
  4. Person skill set and requirements
  5. It needs to conform to SMART principles: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Tangible.  It must be legally and corporately compliant (i.e. legal and not contrary to corporate policy) in the HQ country and in the operating country

Be ready with follow-up information:

  • Organisational charts
  • Specifics on number of direct reports, direct and indirect reporting lines
  • Pictures, videos, internet links, narrative on working and living environments. Often resources which are informal and online are more impactive, as they are more ‘fly-on-the-wall’ i.e. more spontaneous and transparent
  • Role targets, budgets and key goals and/or challenges
  • Full remuneration details including residency and relocation packages, fly-in, fly-out (including class of travel and whose time such travel is on), bonuses and incentives

Things to watch out for:

  1. Current: If you publish incorrect information, conduct a slow or unreasonably laborious or repetitive process and interview poorly, news will get around your pool of possible candidates and will affect the result
  2. Previous: If the previous or current incumbent has been poorly dealt with, paid late, or been badly managed, this will be known to some applicants and will affect the result.  Exit interviews can provide some very important information for recruiting replacements, while you may be in breach of contractural, legal obligations or stated corporate values by mismanaging an incumbent out of a role
  3. The reveal: the further an applicant goes through the process, they will want to be included more and more with a greater level of detail.  You must be ready to provide information which is appropriate for mutual engagement to that stage in the process.
  4. Reputations: the recruitment process has a very direct impact on corporate reputation – make sure that the tone and content of your recruitment contributes positively and is also consistent with your talent management policies and principles.

Recruitment audit

Have you ever wondered whether you are getting best value for your recruitment spend? Have you ever thought that the competition seem to find it easier and quicker to recruit than you do? Do you worry that your recruiters’ interpretation of best practice is not current or in line with business needs? If the answer is yes, you should talk to us about our recruitment audit.

We look into the two key drivers of your recruitment department and provide a report and benchmarked recommendations covering, amongst other things:


  1. Are your people the right people, focussed on the right activities?
  2. Are they properly paid, trained, managed, assessed and empowered?
  3. Are they consistent with and supportive of your employer brand?
  4. Are they really effective and value for money?
  5. Is their stakeholder management fantastic?
  6. Are they evangelists for your business?
  7. Do your recruiters genuinely have the buy-in from and dialogue with recruiting managers?
  8. Do they have good understanding of their sector and of general business intelligence?
  9. Are their networks extensive?


  1. Are they properly (but not overly) documented? Does your team have a clear understanding of what best practice is?
  2. Are you outsourcing what you should and is your outsourcing effective?
  3. Is your methodology exhaustive and role appropriate in each case?
  4. Is your documentation on brand and shared at the appropriate time and with the appropriate people?
  5. Does your IT support your people and processes, is it fit for purpose (and your ambitions), or does it get in the way?
  6. Are your success criteria properly benchmarked and measured?
  7. Do you know how competitive your benefits levels and policies are?
  8. Are your suppliers managed and paid appropriately?

Our ‘Mystery Application’ service completes the finishing touches, giving you direct feedback from an applicant’s perspective by testing the communication and response provided by your internal and external recruiters from entry level onwards.

Please contact us for more information…….

All that glitters is not gold

We were well represented at the 2nd Annual Global Human Asset in Mining conference arranged by Fleming Gulf in London last month, where we spoke on the subject of maximising the benefit of relationships and dealings with external recruiters; we also contributed to a lengthy and cheerfully animated debate on ‘fly in, fly out’ and ‘drive in, drive out’ expatriate engagement choices and their operational efficiencies.

Branding and appearances

The conference was again extremely well attended, but there was a definite shift in language from the ATS systems and process focus of 2012, to a new emphasis on employer branding.  This manifested itself in a number of different ways, some cosmetic (i.e. visual branding) and some fundamental (i.e. portrayal of explicit values).  This has come about as the industry considers that good talent is becoming more and more difficult to attain, therefore the focus needs to be on keeping up the employer branding image.

There was specific disagreement of the prioritisation of the visual branding approach in isolation, particularly from the external recruiters in the audience and on the speaker register.  We and others emphasised that in fact the supply of labour is increasing, due to lay offs and project cancellations around the world, so there has never been a better time to target a preferred type of candidate.  However, it is most important that the company recruiting has a clear plan, that it is well communicated and that the recruiting process is consistent with that plan – this is what attracts quality individuals.

Applicants for roles are increasingly jaded with inefficient and pointlessly length processes – they are now much more willing to withdraw if they consider the recruiting process to be inefficient or undignified.  Companies need to enter the market with clarity and focus and ensure their reputations receive a boost, not a dent, in managing to a conclusion this very public undertaking (however secretive one believes it to be!).

Efficiency and profitability

There were also lengthy discussions on the recent fates of swathes of CEOs from the top mining companies.  It is clear that HR and recruitment in general have avoided much of the focus on commercial efficiency, but now the boom times are over, at least for now, increasing scrutiny will be placed on HR, its relationship with hiring managers, through to recruitment and retention of the best industry talent.

It is abundantly clear that inefficient hiring strategies, badly designed roles and poor recruitment execution or productivity (regardless of the involvement of external recruiters) will attract the ire of C suite executives and internal auditors – ultimately they will simply not let the basics lapse in favour of ‘glammed up’ employer branding pieces.  Gilding the lily is all very well, but if the flower is already wilting the image cannot possibly work.  Getting the basics consistently correct is clearly the way forward – it is not a mystery that any applicant wants clarity, simplicity and transparent, appropriate decision-making more than spangly, but disconnected visuals.

Being the brilliant interviewee!

  1. Prepare carefully. Research the company and the interviewers. Weave this knowledge subtly into the conversation. Try to interview at a time of day when you feel at your best and ensure that you have had a chance to take a rest from the day job beforehand. You must not seem rushed or exhausted
  2. Smile occasionally and appropriately (even if you are only on the phone) – it makes a huge difference
  3. ALWAYS talk about your previous employers positively. If they were crooks, you don’t have to call them that – understating the point and moving on is more powerful and expressive ‘I enjoyed the experience a great deal, however I felt that I had more to offer a business which prized integrity more highly’!
  4. If you are on a video conference, when speaking, look into the camera (make sure you know where it is!) and glance occasionally at your audience for your cues – it is much more engaging to attempt eye contact. Gesture and move normally, as long as you don’t move around in the frame excessively – animation is good. Think about your background (visually) and ensure there is no background noise. Remember mechanical noises particularly are amplified by AV equipment, so the washing machine quietly doing its spin cycle three rooms away may be deafening to your interviewer!
  5. Have your essentials documented simply and clearly – refer back to them when the opportunity arises
  6. Don’t shoe-horn points you want to make into parts of the conversation which are out of context, cover as a separate point, or AOB
  7. If you have something you are not proud of on your CV, find an opportunity to put it into a favourable context without highlighting it unduly. Don’t wait for the killer question!
  8. Everyone thinks they are body language experts – they are often wrong, so be positive and upbeat throughout and don’t second guess the outcome
  9. Don’t use ‘in house’ or cliquey language – it excludes others and makes you sound institutionalised
  10. Have a copy of your CV handy in case it is referred to and points need clarifying – if your CV has been reformatted by a recruitment business, make sure you have a copy of that as well, there may be mistakes
  11. Avoid using negative words. Practise talking about things you don’t like in a positive way
  12. Be clear on what are essentials or deal-breakers, but be open on the rest, you will be surprised what options evolve as a result
  13. Try to avoid referring to money face to face, but if an interviewer presses the point, be clear on your key (researched) figure or more broadly i.e. ‘I want to be valued on par with the market and other members of the senior management team’. Use you recruitment agency referrer as an intermediary if there is one
  14. In interviews, try to put your opposite number at ease, you will find out much more; show respect and be polite. Never interrupt or argue but be assertive – you are entitled to politely and gently but firmly make your point
  15. Take your time to think – interviewers appreciate you respecting the question rather than ‘shooting from the hip’. Make sure you have understood any points raised (ask if necessary), without doing so repeatedly, which can be seen as a clumsy way to play for time
  16. Make your point pleasantly and expressively – then STOP TALKING – silences are an easy trap to make you start waffling. If a silence is very long, ask if your interviewer would like you to elaborate or clarify any point you have made
  17. Use examples to illustrate your points and where permissible, figures
  18. Always respect confidentiality agreements and implied confidentiality. Gossips are useful but unpopular
  19. Understand the dress code, even for video conferences. If there isn’t one, err on the side of caution (more formal)
  20. It is critically important to RESERVE JUDGEMENT and properly evidence any opinions you develop

Talent mapping – an overview

Talent mapping is thought of as being one in the same (in the context of a single role) as the candidate identification and initial contact stages of an executive search (head hunting) assignment.

Your talent map is the identification of a group of individuals for one or more specific (normally key) roles in the business; there are always multiple options for each role and therefore it is important to identify  a large quantity of good quality candidates as well as the means to quickly communicate with them once the need arises if there is no immediate need.

It firstly requires a business to understand how to measure and define (generically and role specifically) what a good prospective employee is.  It then seeks to understand where the best talent is working.  It establishes which businesses tend to have the best individuals and what working conditions and remuneration attract them to those businesses and keep them there.

In some cases the individuals who are identified as prospective employees by this process are kept in contact with on a speculative long-term basis, in other cases the person exists as a referral from a third party or from desk research which the company does not act upon by contacting the individual.

This means that the business has a talent pipeline and therefore the basis to build their succession plan whatever its future demands, whether through significant growth or organisational change.

Talent mapping has the following peripheral benefits:

  • Organisations that talent map are proactively managing their reputation as employers in the market – this improves reputation and provides excellent responsive feedback
  • It seeks to understand what the industry’s top quartile is and its relationship to the business’s measurement of what is the best (they may not be the same)
  • It is a great snapshot of competitor and market activityIt benchmarks compensation and benefits packages
  • It encourages all employees to keep a ‘watching brief’ for future employeesIt makes sure that the company is clear on its message regarding prospective employees and because that message is being used and therefore being tested constantly, it remains under open review by the company
  • The company and its employees are proactive in communicating that messageIt is able to act decisively and quickly when a need arises

Before you consider a talent mapping exercise consider:

  • It is indeed a specialist task to undertake talent mapping and many companies do outsource to search companies.  However, it should not be underestimated that talent mapping is a desk research and initial contact exercise and much of the hard work is undertaken after the talent mapping is done, i.e. the proactive contact of all likely candidates to attract them together on a timely basis to a series of interviews with the business.
  • This is proactive reputation management – a poor message or one that is portrayed inconsistently by executives using it can have very damaging effects
  • The logistics, administrative backup and tone of communications must match the overall message

Context for a great recruiting process

The company must recognise that the recruitment process is a partnership with the head-hunter and opening a shop window to the company; therefore:

1. Be clear internally on what attributes are essential – but be open minded as to the rest, you will be surprised what options may present themselves as a result

2. The company should consider its reputation for professionalism (whether that be current or aspirational) which it will be communicating by its choices and actions in structuring the process, therefore:

· Carefully consider its choice of recruitment partner (and be prepared to be assessed by them for ‘fit’); with this in mind, be informed by them as to what your ‘needs’ might be, as distinct from your stated ‘wants

· Strongly consider awarding exclusivity to a single recruitment partner for senior roles to ensure there is no unseemly behaviour in a rush for results. No everyone in the sector is an angel

· It is critical that trust is established from the start and maintained with all parties. Information should be shared with clarity but with consideration to legal and moral confidentiality

· Carefully consider what steps are appropriate and necessary for a full and incisive process including interviewers, interview stages and manner of assessment. Remember economy of effort – there is no merit in prolonging for the sake of it, if you feel inclined to do so, it may be that you need to examine weak points in the process

· Ensure that there are no conflicts of interest i.e. incumbents or managers who may favour a choice incompatible with the company’s goals

· Interviewers should be trained – your recruitment partner will normally provide this service gratis

· Conduct interviews brilliantly

· All measurements, tests, techniques and interviewers should be appropriate to the level of candidate to be interviewed and the role to be interviewed for

· Be clear in writing what interview expenses will be covered by the company and ensure that this is circulated to each candidate

3. There should be a clearly identified client lead (they must be empowered and motivated to make decisions) to deal with the head-hunter, preferably the recruiting manager

4. The company should consider clarity and openness to be key reputation management issues. It should therefore:

· Clearly definite process timescales; make best efforts to keep to them; let all process stakeholders know as soon as it is clear that it is not possible to keep to them. Clearly define the process, filtering tools, measurements and feedback; let people know what they are committing to

· Have some clearly stated skills and behavioural attributes which you are seeking and share them with your candidates so they know what you are looking for and can provide appropriate evidence – guessing and surprises are for children’s birthday parties

· Be scrupulously and conspicuously fair

5. It is always useful to have an administrator, like a PA, as an administrative liaison for interview slots etc, with access to all the client interviewers’ diaries – and the mandate to commit the time!

6. Unsuccessful candidates should have feedback given to them verbally by an individual of appropriate seniority and involvement to discuss in detail – that may be a commercial manager or recruitment partner

7. Always thank a candidate for investing their time

8. Don’t relax when an offer has been made; consider and cover off: buy-backs from current employers; alternative offers a candidate has received; remember to induct properly and consistently with the recruitment process, ensuring that your senior new starter has appropriate communications, IT, office equipment and briefing without having to ask

9. There should always be follow ups as part of the recruitment process to at least six months after the start date by the company and its recruitment partner to resolve teething issues

Interviewing for board recruiters


  1. Make sure your process, attributes and filters are appropriate to the level you are recruiting for. They reflect directly on you
  2. Define your interview process up front and let people know what they are committing to. Keep to this and the timescales you set out
  3. Have some clearly stated skills and behavioural attributes which you are seeking and share them with your candidates before you interview them so they know what you are looking for – surprises are for children’s parties
  4. Be clear on what are essential attributes, but be open on the rest, you will be surprised what options evolve as a result
  5. Communicate the dress code, even for video conference


  1. Have your essential requirements documented simply and clearly. Be clear on what are essentials or deal-breakers, but be open on the rest, you will be surprised what options evolve as a result
  2. Try to put candidates at ease, you will find out much more; show respect and be polite; never interrupt or argue
  3. Remember that interviewing is not natural for either side and nerves can affect anyone, no matter how senior
  4. Prepare carefully. Try to interview at a time of day when you feel at your best and ensure that you have had a chance to take a rest from the day job beforehand. You must not seem rushed or exhausted
  5. Avoid using negative words. Practise talking in a positive way
  6. Smile occasionally and appropriately (even if you are only on the phone) – it makes a huge difference
  7. If you are on a video conference, when speaking, look into the camera (make sure you know where it is!) and glance occasionally at your audience for your cues – it is much more engaging to attempt eye contact. Gesture and move normally, as long as you don’t move around in the frame excessively – animation is good. Think about your background (visually) and ensure there is no background noise. Remember mechanical noises particularly are amplified by AV equipment
  8. Don’t use ‘in house’ or cliquey language or jokes – it excludes outsiders
  9. Try to avoid referring to money face to face as it is an emotive subject, particularly for the candidate. Use you recruitment agency referrer as an intermediary if there is one
  10. Always respect information shared in confidence, confidentiality agreements and implied confidentiality
  11. Work within the laws of the relevant jurisdiction(s), keep records as required and anticipate the need for visas etc. including evidencing for compliance purposes
  12. It is critically important to RESERVE JUDGEMENT and properly evidence any opinions you develop
  13. Everyone thinks they are body language experts – they are often wrong, so don’t over-interpret, be positive and upbeat throughout
  14. Give clear, positive feedback to candidates who have flattered you by committing to the process, it is good for your reputation (even if they are not right for you, you can show appreciation for their skills). Refer to ‘good points’ and clarification or ‘improvement points’ rather than negatives.
  15. You are choosing a senior employee – they are seeking a mandate in the job, ensure that you establish these as being categorically mutually beneficial
  16. Remember that candidates who do not get the job will be either advocates or critics – make sure you influence that outcome in your favour, it is a small world and a smaller sector

Using agencies or head-hunters – to search or not to search….?

When choosing a recruitment company, it is a good idea to consider carefully what you want from the relationship and choose a recruitment company to suit your circumstances.


Clients (companies seeking to hire) often tend to work with contingent agencies when filling mid- or low-level positions.  Agencies generally rely heavily on their ability to generically process in advance a large number of candidates and therefore concentrate on mainstream roles to template the processing effort.  They seldom work on an exclusive basis, therefore it is not rare for a client to work with a large number of contingent recruiters on the same assignment at the same time, in order to maximise the volume of candidates’ (job seekers’) CVs they receive.  Contingent agencies do not get paid until the placement is made, and thus the cost and risk of conducting the search is shifted almost entirely to the agency or agencies.  Moreover, contingent agencies often work with clients on a lower percentage fee basis relative to retained search firms, as they are mitigating their risk by swiftly filtering (often solely using their IT systems) a large number of pre-screened candidates.  Agencies typically have a scarcity of people to fill roles (which are often relatively high turnover) and therefore operate in a ‘candidate driven’ market and consequently try where possible to use an advertised or ‘Selection’ methodology to attract candidates and to increase their brand reputation and recognition.

Agencies or contingent search

A second option (a variation on the first) is to hire one firm and give them an ‘exclusive contingency’ arrangement so that the money is still paid at the end of the search, but there is only one firm working on the search.  This gives the firm the benefit of time to truly focus on quality and the hiring manager is not flooded with CVs.   For more senior non-confidential or mid level roles, a client may start with the contingent search firms for a low-risk look at who is available on the market.  With a role carrying a reputational risk or the need to quickly hire the best possible individuals available, this would often represent an unacceptable compromise on quality and speed.  While contingency search firms offer a service with no money up front, like agencies they will often only work on those assignments that can be executed quickly and do not have the time to focus on high-quality candidates.  This is simply an economic reality.

Executive search

A third option is to pay a firm an engagement fee or commit to a retained assignment.  Retained executive search firms are firms paid on a retainer structure and tend to recruit at a very senior level or where skills are very rarefied.  Almost invariably these firms are exclusive as well and therefore have more resources available to them and also bring a level of professionalism sought by many upper level candidates.  Their corporate brands are less extensively promoted than agencies, as their reputation management is more private and directly with clients, not with potential applicants; this means that they are less eager to advertise roles unless the circumstances require it.  At the retained level, a client would pay an increment to start the search, a payment when candidates are submitted and final payment when the candidate starts.  These are success based milestones and are normally a third of the overall fee in each case.  Fees typically vary from 25% to 50% of the first year’s remuneration package.

Executive search is typically used for filling purely senior roles (it is important that the target audience has some kind of reputation, otherwise the referral mechanism does not work; they also need to be senior enough to be inclined to network internally and externally, for the same reason).  The roles are sometimes confidential by nature, or where there is a difficulty identifying high quality talent in a market crowded by mediocrity, or where there is a scarcity of talent generally.

Search and Selection

Some clients may choose to request a combination of candidate acquisition techniques to include advertising in addition to executive search.  This is most likely when the rationale for applying one method or another is not conclusive, therefore it becomes important to increase the available of candidates using a variety of methods.  ‘Selection’ is another term for advertising roles and sifting the responses into the same talent pool as the search process.  Using both methods increases the workload drastically for the recruitment business, therefore it often carries a financial premium.

Executive search firms

An executive search firm, or head-hunter, is a type of employment company that specialises in recruiting executive (senior) personnel for companies.  True executive search consultants typically have a wide range of personal contacts within the area in question, a detailed specific knowledge of that area, and typically operate at the most senior level.  Executive search professionals are also involved throughout all of the hiring process and beyond, conducting detailed interviews as well as only presenting candidates to clients where they feel the candidate in question will fit into the employment culture of the client.  Retained recruiters work for the organisations who are their clients, not for job candidates seeking employment.  Clients often prefer to work with head-hunter s who have performed in the past for them and by working exclusively and on a committed (retained) basis, the client generally develops a much deeper relationship with the recruiter, and receives a much higher level of service.

Types of executive search firms

There are broadly two different types of retained executive search firms in operation.  Global firms tend to cover numerous different sectors.  Such executive search companies will have many offices all over the world and the consultants will typically be split by which sector they are expert in.  These firms are often publicly listed and may have dozens of offices in major generic business hubs.  Boutique firms tend to be more sector specific.  That is to say that they will cover only one sector and within this sector, they may only look at certain aspects and may have a single office (or very few) whose location is relevant to that sector.


Off limits and exclusivity

Search firms generally commit to off-limits agreements.  These agreements prevent a firm from approaching employees of their current clients as candidates for other clients.  Since they act as management consultants working in the best interests of the clients for whom they conduct searches, it would be a conflict of interest to simultaneously remove talented executives from those client companies.  Search firms may decline assignments from certain companies in order to preserve their ability to poach candidates from those companies.  Some large search firms may insist on guarantees of a certain number or monetary value of searches before they will put an entire large company ‘off-limits’.


Executive search methodology

Because the client is paying a retainer, the search is highly customised to the client organisation’s needs, with the search professional providing a consultative service throughout the process.  It also recognises that the client also has a responsibility to cooperate closely with the search firm to protect the retainer and ensure that the search firm has a reasonable chance of success.  Executive search firms typically have long-lasting relationships with clients spanning many years, and in such cases the suitability of candidates is paramount.  It is also important that such companies operate with a high level of professionalism.  Retained searches serve client employers rather than job-seeking executives.

Executive search firms often also provide clients not just resumes, with legal market intelligence gleaned from contacts within their clients’ competitors and insightful, consultative information about the market in general.


Targeting methodology

Quality oriented search firms work hard at cultivating and continually updating their network of contacts (or ‘sources’).   Some of the best candidate referrals come from people who could be candidates for the job themselves but for any number of reasons are not interested at that particular time.  When a search assignment is awarded the search firm will be ready to start recruiting potential candidates based upon fit with a written or verbal job specification developed in conjunction with the client.   The sources are contacted by a ‘researcher’ and potential job candidates are identified as a result of a recommendation, or a source may put themselves forward as a candidate.  This process establishes an evolving ‘long list’ of perhaps dozens of people.

Another way to identify potential candidates involves search firm ‘research’, which is contacting targeted people in specific companies who appear to fit the job profile in some logical manner.  The better the firm’s network of sources, the smaller the need for more speculative research, which is a hallmark of less specialised search firms.

The job seekers are then qualified and presented in a one off or rolling ‘short list’ (normally four to six people), as previously agreed, to the client by the consultant.  Assessing degree of potential fit of the candidate with the job specification is a key activity for the search firm, since the most common reason a search consultant is engaged by a client company is to save time and effort involved with identifying, qualifying and reviewing potential candidates for specific leadership positions.  Like any specialist, (in comparison to the fees they charge) a good search firm is simply too well connected, staffed and practised to make internal non-specialised recruiters economic.

Job seekers

Job seekers who qualify for senior executive level searches often mistake head-hunters for career transition or outplacement specialists.  They do not actively place out-of-work individuals as, at the top of the pyramid, there are relatively speaking many more quality people than roles (i.e. it is a ‘client driven’ specialism) and therefore economically it would be a show-stopper to spend too much time on individual career consultancy – the client is the company paying the recruiting firm.  It may be worthwhile to contact executive search firms if you qualify, but they are driven by their specific assignments for their clients: they find people for roles, not roles for people.  Executive search consultants can be ‘career makers’ for some individuals, but for most, this will not be the way they will find their next role.

Managing reputations

However, managing a client’s reputation is a critical role for an executive search firm to play and following through on reasonable commitments made to job seekers from long list onwards is important to maintain goodwill for the search firm and for the client.  It is therefore critical that clients consider whether the search firm will enhance or detract from their corporate reputation as they conduct the assignment.  Very aggressive companies will naturally side with search firms and methods with similar hallmarks and so on.