Presearch Report

Building the Framework of a Private Executive Search

You’ve decided to recruit a key executive.

Whether a new position is being created or a previously existing one is being filled, we recommend looking at each executive search as a new beginning – an opportunity to take a fresh look at your organization. If you were starting all over again, would you structure this position the same way?

At the beginning of each executive search assignment, we conduct a survey of the organization called the Presearch Management Profile that is followed up with an extensive written report. This profile provides a candid snapshot of your organization that ensures that the completion of a search assignment will truly fulfill your long-term needs, and not simply put out today’s fire.

In addition, it enables you to:

  • Properly select executives, managers, and staff.
  • Eliminate excessive management turnover.
  • Increase the efficiency of the organization as a whole.
  • Develop a better understanding of the environment to facilitate the executive search.
  • Develop the qualifications, performance criteria, and personal attributes of key executives who are to be recruited.

This Profile also enables us to gain the understanding of your business that is necessary to recruit a person who will not only become a superior performer, but will also meld with the others in your organization. The major difference between a floundering organization and one that is highly-functioning is normally not the on-paper qualifications of the management and staff, but the internal chemistry, and the ability of the people in it to operate as one. The Presearch Management Profile enables us to understand the inner workings of the organization, and to find a person who will both fit into it properly, and enable the others in the organization to operate at the highest levels.


Organizational Survey: We gather our information on your organization from the people who make up your organization. Senior management selects a representative cross-section of the organization, including managers, staff, and line personnel through its various levels. The profile population should range from 8 to 15 managers and staff. We conduct a series of individual interviews with these people, and discuss their perceptions of the organization, work environment, and what new position or positions need to be added to make the organization more effective.

Confidentiality Creates Candor: To maintain confidentiality, the comments made by the profile population that are reported are not attributed to the people who made them. We find that people are more candid when promised this confidentiality, and, because we are outsiders, often are made privy to things that they would be uncomfortable mentioning to senior management.


Profile data will cover the following areas:

  • Key areas where additional personnel are needed, and the qualifications and personal attributes of the people needed for these positions.
  • The successful manager and the organizational factors leading to success.
  • The unsuccessful manager and the organizational factors limiting performance.
  • Those organizational factors that are perceived to stabilize the management group.
  • Those organizational factors which tend to create feelings of uncertainty and promote management turnover.
  • Those opportunities which, defined by the profile population, could increase management efficiency and the achievement of business goals.
  • A formal written report will be presented to senior management. In addition, an informal personal feedback session is also provided.


Framework For An Executive Position: In most cases, the information that is collected and presented through our presearch work will provide the framework for the development of more appropriate job specifications for an executive search. If it is determined that it is necessary to recruit a key executive, the key performance criteria for the successful executive will be listed at the conclusion of the report.

Valuable Insights On The Organization: Independent of any search activity, the Presearch Management Profile is used to provide organized, systematic information regarding the management community, enabling the senior management to:

  • Identify the strengths and the key problems of the organization.
  • Increase the efficiency of the organization as a whole.
  • Develop programs to reduce management and staff turnover.
  • Develop a structure that enables the organization to flourish.

Candidates Who Fit: When coordinated with an executive search activity, the Presearch Management Profile is used to develop a more complete understanding of the management environment for both the search firm and the client company. This understanding will facilitate the search process, with the results being better matched candidates generated more quickly.

Excerpts from Some of Our Presearch Management Profiles …

– From a commercial bank:

… “We need to reward, rather than penalize, the branches when they refer trust business: The comment that was heard most often was that the branches are actually penalized when they refer business to the trust department, because they lose the deposits, and get no credit for the referral. To establish trust business in a new market, the personal bankers, tellers, and branch managers will have to get behind the program.”

– From a manufacturer of custom components:

… “The previous sales manager was strong technically, but not tactful. He was headstrong and inflexible, and despite his technical knowledge, the methodology he used for quoting often produced inaccurate quotes. He relied too much on his own experience. It seemed like many quotes were done off the top of his head.”

… “The sales manager needs to ask questions of the customer. The print isn’t always exactly what they want. Often they specify tolerances, or add finishes that add expensive operations to the process that the customer really doesn’t need. He or she needs to get to know the customer, and know what their use will be on each part.”

– From a Fortune 200 manufacturer of electronic systems:

…”We had a reorganization this summer. Under our old management system, we had Integrated Product Design Teams, where Systems and Product Development were merged on the same teams. This had both advantages and disadvantages. There were fewer speed bumps, but no one was looking out for the company as a whole. People were looking at their projects only, and working for their teams only. No one was looking at the design process, and how to improve it. Customer focus was the priority. We had quick response, and a focus on this. We lost some of our customer flexibility with the change to our current structure, though.”

… “The reorganizations tend to be disruptive. You often have to start from scratch. You get the impression that management doesn’t know what they’re doing. We don’t seem to learn from the previous ones.”

– From a consulting engineering firm:

… “The culture here is entrepreneurial, free flowing, structureless. It is very much like a management consulting firm.”

  • Our people are quite senior.
  • There’s autonomy at the front line.
  • Our field people are more like consultants.
  • Our support and response times are quick.
  • There are few layers between the client and the decision maker.

– From a manufacturer of automated equipment:

… “Marketing and sales is our problem now, not technology. This company is undermarketed and undersold. We just keep creating new products. We need MARKETING.”

… “It’s time to get this company into high gear. Our president wants to free up his time to work on acquisitions. The board wants us to get into high gear as well.”

– From a consumer products company:

… “One of our big problems is that all of the other companies have an image – they know who their customer is. We really don’t know this, and our customer doesn’t know who we are.”

… “The VP of Marketing will have been successful if he or she can get our design down to a specific niche – so people can identify our brand.”

– From a specialty healthcare institution:

… “We’re not terribly large, but our disability range is huge.  We have many different needs here.”

… “We should offer a lifelong alliance.  We should be specialists in people with disabilities, regardless of age or needs.  We should be looking at people three, five and ten years out to see where they are.”

… “Part of the reason these clients are here is because they can’t find the medical needs in their home community.  This is changing for the better, however, and we’re getting more complicated cases as the level of care in the community gets better.”

… “In the past few years, we’ve introduced post-operative care.  There are now 15 beds in post-op, and the kids may come here 4 days post-op.”