» Download the full PDF version of this article.
Selecting an Executive Search Firm
1. Size - If it is a one-man company or a group of one-man companies, you will not obtain the proper coverage of the Japan job market for potential opportunities. If too large a consulting firm, the quality level of consultants dramatically decreases as well as their level of professionalism. You become just another number and will not get the personalized attention you deserve. For optimum coverage, service and results we would recommend a firm with very low turn-over in their own staff and consisting of between ten to twenty seasoned consultants. You should always work with a professional organization for something as important as your career.
2. Web site - Take a good look at their web site. Is it a professional looking one? The level of care to create it represents the level of care you will receive working with them. Read it through carefully. You will get a sense of what they are like and their values.
3. E-mail/ Website - Is it a "co.jp". Only incorporated Kubashiki Kaisha (K.K.) companies in Japan are entitled to this e-mail / Web domain. It shows a company's commitment as well as their legitimacy in the market.
4. License - Do they hold a license to be an Executive Search Firm? This again shows their level of commitment to proper business practices. If not a properly licensed company it shows their level of professionalism. There are many fly-by-night companies: here today; gone tomorrow. Work only with a professionally licensed company with a long history and a reputation of success.
5. Experience - How experienced is your consultant? If less than 5 years, we would recommend you work with someone else. The last thing you need is a rookie to guide your career. Work with true seasoned professionals. Experience counts.
6. Visit their office - Do they actually have an office or would they rather meet you at an apartment, coffee shop, or serviced office? When you go to their office you can tell if they are a proper company or not. Those who insist on meeting you outside are usually one-man shows, or their office is not presentable enough to invite candidates to maintain their credibility.
7. Confidentiality - Do they keep your information confidential? Do they have confidentially certificates such as the Privacy Mark? The Privacy Mark shows they have passed government procedures on handling confidential information. There are unfortunately too many companies in our industry that illegally send your confidential information to companies without your prior approval. Be in control with your executive search firms and never allow them to send your information to anyone without your prior consent.
8. Reputation - With time, companies either build or destroy their reputation. Ask around and get a friend's referral to one with a good reputation. You always hear about the notorious ones.
9. Will they meet you - Will the company actually take the time to meet you face-to-face to discuss your career? Unprofessional companies try to take short cuts and just send in your resume to their clients. If they won't even meet you, how could they possibly handle your career or properly represent you? Work with a professional company.
10. Trust - Most importantly, can you build a solid relationship with your consultant? - You should be able to confide in them and trust them to help you achieve your career goals. In return, they should give you practical advice and encouragement.