➢ Better Search Metrics

metricsThe executive failure rate in the US is an embarrassment, and has been for decades, at over 40% within 18 months, by several surveys.  And measuring search firm performance by appropriate metrics is one answer, though most companies would freely admit that poor candidate quality is not among the top reasons for executive failure.

Metrics are hard to verify, so skepticism is in order.  Nevertheless, we in the search industry should be measured, but I think traditional metrics miss the mark.

Stick Rate – 87%

This is the metric most often quoted, usually stated as the percentage of placed candidates still on the job and contributing after 3 years.  For us, it is currently 83%, far better than the 40% mentioned above, and over a longer period.  But I must admit to feeling impotent in terms of having much control over this one.  For a client it might be a more useful comparison to measure stick rate for candidates brought in through a search firm versus the rate for all executives hired, and against other search providers.

Cycle Time – 88 Days

Next to candidate quality, speed is every client’s most important issue, and the usual metric used is search completion time.  However, I maintain that “time to a slate of candidates” is a far more useful measure of a search firm’s performance, because that is the client’s chief concern, and all that happens after submission of the finalist slate is in the client’s control.   We will submit a slate of candidates within 4 or 5 weeks, and complete searches in less than 90 days.

Number of Completed Searches – For David, it is now over 260

Experience matters in search, because there are so many moving parts, and so many personalities involved.  How many searches has the consultant running the search completed personally?

Repeat Business – 75%

Repeat business is the life blood for small firms like ours, because we lack the big marketing engine and prefer to focus on search execution as much as possible.  Without repeat business, a small firm would soon disappear.  Most clients are old clients, and those that we do lose are a result of our CEO or VPHR client leaving the client.  If we are able to develop his/her new employer as a client, we consider the business retained.  If we retain the old employer and develop the new, we calculate a net gain for this statistic.

Search Completion Rate – 92%

We have never had a search cancelled for lack of performance on our part, so this seems an odd measure.  The 8% slippage in the number above was due to cancellations based on combining divisions, a precipitous drop off in the economy, change of control and other client issues.

Guarantee – Year One Candidate failure and repeating the search – 1%