This is what true transparency should look like in executive search

Honesty will always be the most valuable leadership quality because it is the gateway for trust and inspiration. Clear communication and transparency are fundamental when placing candidates because dishonesty can disrupt employee performance, encourage team members to leave an organisation and foster a poor work ethic or questionable culture.

Some executive search companies don’t place enough emphasis on the importance of emotional intelligence and fostering relationships based on transparency. This is evident through the lack of communication with candidates and clients, poor organisation or placement workflow, and not being honest about approach, metrics and time spent on each placement. What executive search agencies should be doing is offering project plans with strict deadlines, detailed and accurate job descriptions, marketing & market documentation, detailed candidate assessments and specific data on candidates that have been shortlisted.

Transparency will:

  • Act as a great risk mitigation tool because ‘all the cards are on the table’
  • Allow both parties to build rapport and assess if the opportunity is the best fit
  • Increase chances of long-term employment and growth
  • Give the candidate all the information they need to make better informed decision

Here are some of our tips for first time candidates and clients to ensure transparency in executive search for a long-term fruitful prospect.


  • Discuss the workflow process and outcomes honestly to help mitigate risk and manage expectations
  • Canvas and filter candidates through body language and verbal communication because eye contact and mannerisms can carry more weighting than words
  • Initiate a phone conversation to analyse the likes/dislikes of prospective candidates, you can use this to implement a psychological or emotional test to determine characteristics
  • Prepare a tailored questionnaire to give to potential candidates to assess their ‘problem solving’ skills and open the lines of communication
  • Reference checks are key in determining skillset and how people perceive work ethic
  • Don’t use social media as a decisive factor, it should be treated with care because although public it is a private platform and may not represent professional ethic


  • Communicate your skills, experience and ideal role clearly and honestly to ensure you don’t waste time or worse, land a job that does not align with your experience or passion at all!
  • Canvas the job description thoroughly and raise any concerns you may have about the criteria early on because information speeds up decision making processes & saves you time
  • Plan answers (and questions) to any potential questions for your interview, know what you want and ask for it

There is no doubt that transparency links to retention because quality candidates value great service and concise communication – it is the foundation of trust.

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