Back to Latest Posts

But Wait – There’s More . . . . . Search Ethics Continued

Thank you for your comments and feedback regarding last month’s Blog about Search Ethics.  This topic captured the attention of many – and I sincerely appreciate the interest and the dialogue that resulted. 

There’s more to address on each topic under the Ethics headline.  The recent Blog entry addressed Dual/Parallel Processing of candidates.  I want to take this a bit further. 

Conflicting Searches (the ‘Partner Issue’ of Dual/Parallel Processing)

Conflicting searches is a related topic to Dual/Parallel Processing and has to be mentioned as part of this discussion.  The example – if a firm is conducting a CFO search for a family-owned manufacturing company, accepting a second similar search with a different client might be a problem.  As mentioned in last month’s blog, it is the clients (possibly both) that suffer.  The candidates might do well; the search firm might do well; the client is paying the bill.  Who is the search firm loyal to . . . . . first come, first served OR highest salary wins? 

Dual/Parallel Processing means that the same candidate is presented on two (or more) searches.  What if each client wants the same candidate?  As a retained-only search firm, we work in partnership with the client.  It is simply impossible to be loyal to two clients with similar needs and one candidate that is perfect for both.  

Generalist versus Specialist Firms

Throughout our history as a firm (August 1, 2022 – we start our 27th year), we have asked ourselves if we want to be a functional or industry specialist.  Do we only want to perform searches in finance and accounting?  Do we only want to perform searches in medical device manufacturing?  While creating the candidate pipeline would be streamlined (the identification of candidates), the work wouldn’t be as exciting and, based on our ethical principles, we would be limited in what we could do/when we could do it. 

There is a large multi-office firm (no office in the Twin Cities) that specializes in the higher education market.  They are currently conducting 10 (listed) searches that appear to be the head of the DEI function.  With the workforce often working remotely, how does the search firm choose who they refer to what opening? 

We simply never want to be in that position – so we won’t let it happen. 

More Ethical Issues To Cover        

There are multiple topics and subtopics to address in the Ethics in Search area.  We will continue to address these over time.  That said, feel free to call or e-mail me with questions.  This is a topic that needs to be addressed proactively before you engage any search firm to be your partner.