A Law School Assignment: Reach out to a "Trusted Service Provider"
I was recently contacted by an adult friend of mine who is in law school. He is taking a Professional Responsibility class and was instructed to reach out to a non-law related "Trusted Service Provider" and ask a few questions. I was honored to get the call. The result - some information you should know about us (Abeln, Magy, Underberg & Associates) as well as the Retained Executive Search field.
Beyond competency, what skills would you suggest to cultivate a reputation for trustworthiness?
- Responsiveness (if that a skill?): no one ever calls us with an easy assignment or a long timeframe. When we get a call about a new assignment, we often have just a few hours to get back to our client to get started. (Without a fast call, they could call another trusted advisor.
- Follow-through (is that a skill?): searches take 90 to 150 days to complete (if all goes well). The follow-through I reference is the ongoing communication with the client during the life of the search. They want updates - and frequently.
- Creativity: if search was easy, they would not call us. They expect us to look in places for candidates that they would never think of. (A common saying at my office: “That is why they call it search.” The inference - it is not ‘fetch.’)
In your experience what are some things you do with intention to protect your reputation?
- Ethics: there is no common ethical stance that search firms take OR have to take. An example of a common ethics topic in search is Off-Limits. How long is an employer we work with Off-Limits to us (where we cannot go in and take people from a client where we recently placed people)? Some firms have no such policy. Some firms have a one year timeframe. Some only have a timeframe for the office location they work with - a specific location even if the company is global in scope. We are very upfront on this topic - and are proud of a two-year complete (all locations) policy. The candidate we place - Off-Limits for as long as they are employed by our client.
- Blog - while often it is only one/month, we put out information that our clients seem to enjoy. (We are a bit more frequent with our Tweets.)
What are some things that you feel could destroy your reputation?
- Firms in our field get in trouble for two things:
o Stealing people when there is an ‘assumed’ off-limits understanding. (Most firms never put this in writing - we do).
o Taking on an assignment where the firm has no expertise. (We know that we are the wrong firm for certain types of positions. We let our clients know this up-front and often help them find another service provider to assist them.)
These are areas we want to further discuss with you.
Please ask us - we will also continue to address these items in future posts.