30 Hillside Terrace
Search is a strategic institutional act. Academic institutions and other not-for profit organizations are increasingly turning to outside consultants for professional assistance in identifying exceptional leaders.
I. The Client and the Position
To serve our clients most effectively, we devote several days to site visits at the beginning of the search in order to understand the institution, its goals, and the mission of the new administrator. We interview all the relevant people, including board members, trustees, search committee members, and others when appropriate. We work with an institution and its search committee to forge a consensus about the mandate of the new administrator.
Soon after the conclusion of these interviews, we summarize our understanding of the assignment and provide a profile of the person we think will succeed. This process affords an opportunity for the client to rethink key institutional positions and goals. It also helps to ensure that we and the client have the same understanding when we begin to search for prospective candidates.
II. Research and Candidate Identification
Most of our candidates are not looking actively for new positions, but will respond to a major opportunity. We begin our research and candidate identification as soon as a position profile is developed and approved.
Candidates come from many sources–search committee recommendations, our own networks, and nominations. We seek advice from pivotal people in the field whose judgments we value and who can, in turn, lead us to interesting candidates. The process is like building a pyramid–a foundation of sources upon which a group of candidates is set. Through the interview and referencing process a small group emerges whose accomplishments, authority, and vision stand out as appropriate to the needs of a particular institution. We are also especially attentive to the issues of professional access for women and persons of color.
III. Interviews, Finalists and Reference Checks
For each search, we conduct in-depth interviews with the most promising candidates. These interviews can last from two to four hours and cover a candidate’s life and work. The interviews enable us to understand what is exceptional about each candidate and to evaluate the compatibility of candidate and client. The best candidates are then referred to the client for review. We also help an organization expand its notion of a talented person’s credentials; we encourage a broad view of talent, not merely replication of skills. Although our interviews are comprehensive, we never rely on the alone to form our judgments. To test our assumptions, we speak with people from all junctures of a candidate’s career and at all levels in their workplace–supervisors, colleagues, and support staff–to fill out working portraits of final candidates.
IV. The Final Choice
The client makes the ultimate choice. Our responsibility lies in bringing forward candidates of great merit who are variations of the ideal. The client then has the opportunity to choose from a strong pool of candidates, each of whom offers unique strengths to the institution.
A final choice can be complicated. Some candidates may have second thoughts about leaving their current position, about moving, or about family considerations. We work closely with client and candidate to resolve these issues. As part of our role in the search process we provide ongoing consultation and support to facilitate a successful candidate’s entry into a complex new environment.
V. Fees and Methods of Payment
In consultation with our client, Auerbach Associates sets a fee for a search consulting contract, on either a fixed or adjustable fee basis, equal to approximately one third of the salary for the position. We then bill our clients for this fee in three or four monthly installments. Under and adjustable fee contract, at the conclusion of the search the final fee is adjusted, either up or down, to reflect one third of the successful candidate’s negotiated first year base compensation and any associated cash bonus.
On occasion, additional fee considerations may include the complexity of the organization, the position, and the time demands of the search. We are conscious of the budgetary constraints of our clients and we try to reflect this in our fees, just as we try to respect ongoing relationships with clients in a competitive pricing structure.
Customary reimbursable expenses include travel, lodging and meals, videoconferencing, telephone and fax, copying, and delivery. We always discuss in advance the out-of-town travel of prospective candidates or of our staff.
Copyright 2016 Auerbach Associates
30 Hillside Terrace
Belmont, MA 02478