Your fee is 35% of the hired individual’s first year’s guaranteed income. Isn’t that high?
Not for retained executive search. Many of our competitors, such as Korn Ferry for example, charge 30% or 33 1/3% of the first year’s total compensation. So if a candidate is hired at $200,000 with a bonus and benefits calculated at $75,000, the 30% fee is $82,500. Our fee at 35% of the first year’s guaranteed income not including projected bonuses is $70,000 so our rates are actually at the low end of the scale.

I see that in addition to your fee, all interview and travel related expenses are paid by your client. Typically, how much are these expenses?
It depends on the search assignment. If our client is Atlanta-based, wants us to pre-interview candidates in various parts of the country and then participate in the interviews, airfares can add up. Regardless, we don’t spend our client’s money lightly. We fly coach and will try to combine travel for two or more clients so we can split the bill. Other retained search firms can add 10-15% of the estimated fee to cover a variety of expenses. If a client near either our California or New York locations, there may be no expenses involved at all.

How long does a search typically take from start to fininsh?
We never promise a search will last less than 90 days, although some do. Others can be significantly longer. It usually takes us 3 to 6 weeks to scour the marketplace, talk to potential candidates, gather information and then present a group of qualified candidates to you. Then it may take a week or two to arrange interviews. We will check references on one or two finalists who are frequently invited back for a second meeting. After that, by the time an offer is negotiated, accepted and the candidate gives notice, 90 days isn’t really so long.

Your executive search agreement is for a 90 day period. What happens after 90 days?
It has happened where a search goes beyond 90 days and our client has paid the entire estimated fee before anyone is hired. If that happens, our efforts don’t diminish, but if anything strengthen and our references will attest to this. We have never walked away from a difficult search and we never will, but we won’t cut corners. Since we offer an unconditional guarantee on our placements, we are highly motivated to get it right the first time. We will continue our recruiting efforts until our client is satisfied.

What are the terms of your guarantee?
If you tell us a replacement search is necessary, we will do it – no questions asked. Of course, it isn’t meant to be a lifetime guarantee, but we want our client to be absolutely sure the right person has been hired. We believe that with most positions, you will know within six months if you have the right person. However, with some positions such as a product developer in and offshore sourcing environment, it may be 18 months before you can see what this person can do.

As a client, who do I work with, Blade or Bill?
Usually whoever develops the search parameters will act as the account executive. Regardless, they both keep up to date on all searches. Bill may recruit candidates for an assignment on which Blade is the account executive. If Blade’s travel plans will allow us to save expenses by his pre-interviewing candidates for a search on which Bill is working, then he will do so.

Do you have staff?
We have seven people who work with us and they are all quite versatile. Three people focus on information gathering, i.e. researching companies, identifying potential candidates, developing work history information, checking references, et cetera. The other four are involved in information processing. We are constantly scanning the internet, reading trade papers and monitoring other information sources to keep up do date with what’s happening in the industry.

What sets you apart from your competitors?
We have several competent and reputable competitors, however we don’t think that you will find another firm with a stronger track record in our niche: apparel, textiles, footwear, home fashions and accessories. We have been in the business for over 20 years so we know these industries thoroughly.