How is executive search different from other selection processes?

  • Strategic KPI session before the start of the executive selection process

    Before each executive search process, we organise a question and answer session between the client and the dedicated executive search project manager to determine the exact objectives of the position and the expectations for the recruitment company. The list of requirements received from the client is supplemented by comments from the executive search expert and additional requirements are added to help the database build a clear long list. If a client is interested in several areas of experience of potential C-level executives, two or even three longlists are drawn up to help compare more different candidates.

  • Highest level of search confidentiality

    Confidentiality levels are established before each executive search process. Indigroup offers the following three levels of confidentiality:

    • Medium – Client confidentiality only: the identity of the client is protected until the confirmed candidate has been interviewed directly by the client. This protects the business from the dissemination of information to competitors and internal employees, if that is the objective.
    • Highest – Confidentiality between the client and the position by directly asking candidates if this type of role would be of interest to them at this time. Only after receiving a response does the client choose which candidates they want to communicate directly with and disclose more information to. This method completely protects the client from any information leakage
    • Low – Both the position and the identity of the client are openly stated. This level of confidentiality is appropriate for executive search and selection projects where a managerial position is being created from scratch or is currently vacant.
  • Comprehensive screening of a large number of referrals

    To ensure an impeccable reputation, three levels of referrals are checked in every executive search and selection project:

    1. Referrals by colleagues.
    2. Referrals by subordinates.
    3. Referrals by line managers, if any, in the organisational chart.

    Indigroup checks referrals directly in executive search projects, but if the client wishes to check referrals with its own resources, interviews are arranged directly with the client. At a minimum, we check five different referrals per executive position

  • A communication plan is agreed on the replacement of the executive and the introduction of the new executive to the team

    Typically, an executive search project has two scenarios:

    1. Replacement of an existing executive – In this case, the executive search project manager discusses with the client exactly whether the team will be informed of the change of executive before, during or after the selection process.
    2. A new executive position is created (shareholders leave, etc.) – In this case, the team is usually informed before the selection process and often internal candidates from the client are also involved in the selection process, and we also evaluate them.
  • Dedicated project manager for C-level executive search.

    The quality of an executive search and selection project requires a professional with experience in C-level executive search who is known and valued by the senior executive community. The project manager is at the heart of the whole process, and is therefore a key factor in the successful selection of a top-level executive.

What kind of executive positions are we looking for?

Top executives

This is easily defined to include only managers (directors and CEOs) of companies or groups of companies

Functional C-level executives

This is the level that reports only directly to the CEO or the Management Board. These roles include CTO, CMO, CIO, CFO, CSO, etc.

Team or Unit Managers

this is the link below the functional C-level executives, who are normally responsible for the direct management of a team of specialists without an intermediate line manager.

Board members

Include both independent members of public sector boards and members of private sector boards.

How do you motivate an executive to join your company?

We provide each client with up-to-date survey data that we gather ourselves from our interactions with every potential executive-level candidate in the Baltics, but we always provide a generic model just before the selection process, so that the client knows what’s most important:

Duration of executive search

The quality of an executive search company’s service is also measured in terms of speed, which is why the overall timeframe for the selection process is crucial, even if the search is for a top-level executive. Typically, the more senior the position, the longer the timeframe for executive search and selection, but this is anticipated at the start of the project so that the client can plan and prepare for the recruitment of the right executive.

*Until the eligible candidate is confirmed

**Until the confirmed candidate is recruited

Choice of testing for executives

The aim of an executive search company is not only to suggest the most suitable executives to the client, but also to help them choose the final most suitable candidate. We have therefore standardised the testing process and have four tests, of which two are required and two are optional:

  • Referral testing

    Not only is it important whether the referrals are positive, but also how many and what kind of contacts the executive candidate provides.


    Cultural fit test integrated into the job interview

    A medium to large company has an established culture that can be modified to some extent, but the executive candidate must at least meet the basic cultural requirements.

  • Placement tests

    Only final candidates who have already successfully passed the referral and integrated cultural compatibility tests are tested. These tests include a range of personality, leadership style, values and logic tests.


    Selection company rating scale test

    All candidates proposed in the executive search project can also be rated by the executive search company. We have a 5-factor rating scale that we can use to assess candidates on a 20-point scale. If the client wishes, they are provided with a ranking of all the candidates in the selection process.

Number of candidates in the executive search project

Long list 

The long list is drawn up after the executive position is discussed with the client. The list is an extended one and includes all provisionally eligible managers according to the approved requirements. The executive search and selection project manager is fully responsible for the drawing up of the long list. Working with the database, he envisages a large sample of candidates, which will only be narrowed down in the next stages.

Short list

The path from the long list to the short list is a mirror of the competence of the project manager for the selection of executives. This process requires an excellent knowledge of the local job market, i.e. an understanding of how certain companies work, whether their culture is in line with that of the client company, whether the executives on the long-list have an impeccable reputation and whether their companies have a good track record. At the same time, the project manager for the selection of executives has usually already had contact with a large number of the long-listed candidates and can therefore make the right decisions about short-listing them.

Selected list

Only candidates who have already been shortlisted for the client after extensive interviews and testing are included in this list. This list typically contains between five and 10 candidates, all of whom meet the client’s requirements but differ in their financial expectations, length of experience and social skills. At Indigroup, we use a comparison model for the shortlist, i.e. not only the list is provided, but also the differences between the candidates are indicated.

*Untouchable businesses and candidates

The long list of executives is revised, either before or after it has been compiled, when the client identifies undesirable candidates or businesses. Every company seeking to hire an executive has partners from whom it does not wish to recruit, as well as specific executives it chooses not to involve in the recruitment process for various reasons. The executive search project manager will be sure to enquire about this list and remove managers and companies from it.

-Negotiations with the selected executive

The role of an executive
search company

The objective of the project manager of the executive search company is to understand the candidate’s needs in detail. All information about financial, intangible and career expectations is presented to the employer before the negotiation. The executive search project manager also provides interim feedback from the selected candidate after a job offer has been made, so that the employer can prepare for further steps in the negotiations.

The role of
the employer

The employer negotiates directly with the selected candidate with the full support of an executive search partner. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month from the time a job offer is made to the time a candidate makes up his or her mind, so the negotiations require a dedicated resource on the employer’s side that can devote sufficient day-to-day attention to them.

The most common force majeure events: 

Poorly presented offer

Especially when the employer presents the offer only verbally and then does not send a written offer. This can lead to a lot of interpretation and misunderstanding.

Lack of flexibility

In negotiations, both sides want to achieve the best result, so it must be established before the negotiation that the solution is likely to be a compromise.

Offering the job too hastily

This can raise concerns for top executives, who typically approach job changes with strategic consideration. If an offer is made after only a few interviews, it may lead them to question the employer’s seriousness. To avoid this, the timing of the job offer should be appropriate, ensuring it reflects a well-thought-out and structured executive search process.

Frequently asked questions

What is top-level executive search?

Top-level executive search includes the search for CEO and other C-level positions. The top-level executive search does not include the level of heads of department, so in general terms these are departmental executive level roles as well as company manager positions, i.e. first and second level positions in medium-sized and large companies.

How should I prepare for the executive search?

The preparation of an executive search in Lithuania project starts with a detailed definition of the need and ends with a predefined structure of steps for the executive search project. Executive search, whether carried out directly by an employer’s representative or by an executive search company, must have a dedicated project manager. It is a big mistake to assign this task to a position that also carries out other HR tasks. This does not ensure sufficient concentration, and a project at the strategic level, such as the search for executives, requires full concentration.

Does the executive search need to be carried out by a specialised executive search company?

An executive search company or a recruitment company providing an executive search service can provide the same quality of service. It is essential that the recruitment company has a steady workload of executive search projects and is able to improve its practical knowledge of managing executive search projects on a daily basis. Top-level executive search accounts for at least 40% of all our recruitment projects, so we have a consistent and specialised focus on executive search

How to attract top executives to participate in the selection process?

Executive search requires a well-developed value proposition, as executive search activity is particularly low. Before recruiting executives, we always analyse the market of competing employers and work with the client to develop the best possible value proposition that is both competitive and interesting. The value proposition must include not only tangible values, but also career prospects, challenges ahead, prestige and recognition

Does the search for a manager have to be confidential?

This is a strategic issue and should be one of the first things to be discussed when planning the management search. An executive search company in Lithuania usually has the option of conducting an executive search in both ways, but here are the pros and cons:

Public executive search and selection: this type of search can positively shape the employer’s image and attract more passive labour market participants. Unfortunately, this type of search shows competitors what competences are being sought and what further development is envisaged. A public executive search should be combined with a headhunting exercise, as attracting passive candidates is not only necessary in a confidential executive search.

Confidential executive search and selection: this type of executive search project is sometimes the only option if a change of incumbent is desired. At the same time, we also recommend a confidential search if you do not want to give away your company’s plans to competitors. Confidential searches, however, also have their drawbacks, as they do not attract as many candidates as public searches (except in the case of public searches where there is no headhunting).

How many candidates can be expected in the executive search?

An executive search firm can always provide the client with a potential final number of candidates before the selection process, but the final list of requirements must be confirmed before it is submitted. The number of candidates decreases as the list of requirements increases, and increases as the list of requirements decreases. Normally, an executive search should be conducted after the requirements have been confirmed so that at least 5 final candidates are put forward. The average number of candidates proposed by an executive search firm in an executive search project should be 5 or more, so that the client can properly compare the different competences and personal qualities of the executives.

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