Despite best intentions and proper planning, sometimes an executive search just doesn’t go the way you planned. In recruiting, it’s important to recognize that eventually, you will encounter an executive search gone bad.

In this moment, you should focus less on who’s responsible for that particular result and more on how you will rescue that search from going off the fails and taking your reputation with it. But rescuing your search, and rebuilding trust with your client, is easier said than done. And beginning that process depends heavily on where you are in a particular search.

So How Do You Fix a Search Gone Wrong?

The good news: It is possible to rescue an executive search before it’s too late. The first step is to determine exactly where the search went wrong, so that you can go back to that step in the process and begin anew. Depending on how long the search has been in progress, and how large a setback you’ve experienced, you may need to communicate what has happened to the hiring team so that they can understand where and how the search will progress moving forward.

Early in a search, speed bumps typically occur when the usual talent acquisition methods fail to produce any viable candidates. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut for this fix, which often requires recruiters to spend a considerable amount of time looking for new candidates that may work for the position.

If you find yourself in this position, consider asking contacts for referrals that may be qualified for the position. In our digital environment, referrals remain an underutilized but valuable source of leads for talent that can get your search back on track.

When the search does produce candidates, but none of them makes it through the interview process and reference checks, the result is similar. Even worse, the length of time spent conducting interviews, assessments, and reference checks can make starting over feel all the more daunting. As searches progress further, setbacks can often become more costly. In some cases, however, it pays to have a backup plan. Occasionally, the hiring team selects a candidate that they want to make an offer to, but the candidate rejects the offer and decides to either stay with their current organization or explore other opportunities.

While this scenario can seem costly, there is hope if you’ve run a quality search. In this moment, it’s beneficial to consider other candidates who progressed deep into the search to see if the hiring team might re-evaluate them and extend an offer. In fact, while mistakes towards the end of a search can feel especially costly, oftentimes, an otherwise well-run search can limit the impact of setbacks.

Thrive TRM Can Help

Thrive TRM can also help rescue an executive recruitment gone wrong by making it easy to compare candidates that are left and identify ones that may be worth taking a second look at. Importing profiles is easy and fast, and customized reports can show various strengths and weaknesses to help you evaluate candidates that show the most promise.

Discover solutions for search firms to see how we can help you with executive search.

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