To The Client: Preparing for an Executive Search

Once a search is retained, Robin Russell LLC is responsible for candidate evaluation and presentation. Any internal or external referrals, prior interviews or contacts, internal candidates, etc. should be disclosed and forwarded to the recruiter to include in the candidate pool. Courtesy interviews, if necessary, should be handled the same way. Parallel recruiting muddies the water and defeats the purpose of an exclusive search.

Be prepared to hear marketplace feedback about the company and its executives from candidates considering the opportunity. Positive or negative, it will be a valuable opportunity to calibrate internal perceptions with external perceptions.

Candidate compensation will be another point of marketplace feedback.  Individuals who are interested in your opportunity will likely be in similar roles elsewhere. Their current compensation packages will either validate your salary parameters or bring them into question.

A search can go sideways if a client doesn’t move quickly enough—with decisive feedback, prompt scheduling, clear direction, and even respect for candidate considerations like travel timing. Most candidates will have more than one company competing for them. Hiring C-level candidates requires playing an A game.

Considering a Search?

Searches are conducted on behalf of retail companies looking for senior-level executives.

The Search Process


Gain clarity on the priorities for this role and be sure there is consensus on the job requirements before moving forward.

My goal is to be able to talk about the company the way you would, before discussing the position with prospective candidates.

We will meet the CEO and/or hiring manager as well as key individuals within the management team to understand the history, culture, opportunities, and challenges for this role. We will discuss company literature, website, analyst reports, and other information including:

  • compensation and benefits
  • job description
  • annual reports
  • company literature
  • competitive analysis
  • organization charts


Based on our discussions, this document will be an intelligent, comprehensive summary of the opportunity with detailed responsibilities and requirements. As it is circulated, it will also serve as unofficial, positive PR in the marketplace for your company.

During the course of a search, hundreds of conversations with high-caliber executives will occur, each one with a positive tone about your business. Candidates are often surprised by how comprehensive RR LLC position specs are, and they know this is an opportunity to take seriously.


Based on the search strategy, a source list will be developed and the search to locate individuals with qualifications that closely match your requirements will begin.  Each search starts from scratch, with creative research and a wide net.

The process is designed to yield multiple qualified candidates to compare and evaluate competitively against each other.  Emphasis is on best-practices companies and candidates with a track record of success and career progression.

Typically we present initial profiles of 5-10 potential candidates within 30 days for review and discussion.


After a review of the profiles, the most qualified and interested candidates will be personally interviewed to obtain a realistic understanding of their accomplishments, capabilities, and potential. Candidates are also evaluated to determine any limitations they would bring to the position.

We will present a report to you comparing the past work experience and education of each active candidate and update it weekly throughout the search.


When you decide which candidates you want to meet, we will agree on an interview schedule and agenda for the first round.  Travel and hotel arrangements are typically expedited by the client. At this stage candidate and client feedback is essential to keep the process focused. The initial candidate meetings will be followed by additional in-depth interviews to select the candidates who are the best fit for the position.

When the finalist candidate is identified, Robin Russell L.L.C. will provide the candidate’s compensation profile and will be available to assist you in negotiating the appropriate compensation and all other aspects of completing your employment offer.  A “soft” offer will be discussed with the candidate to ensure any questions or concerns are addressed.  The final offer of employment is usually made by the client and followed by written confirmation.


To protect a candidate’s confidentiality, reference checks are generally performed only after you have expressed a strong interest in a particular candidate.

I will speak directly with individuals who are, or have been, in positions to evaluate the candidate’s performance on the job.  Superiors, subordinates, vendors, and industry consultants are contacted after the finalist candidate has accepted the position.  A confidential written report summarizing our findings, with the references and relationship to the candidate, will be presented.

Commonly Asked Questions

What retail functions do you specialize in?2022-07-12T17:15:06-07:00

My specialty is senior retail roles across all functions including CEO. That includes Operations, Merchandising, Finance, Marketing, Information Technology, Supply Chain and E-commerce.

How do you keep a search on track?2022-07-12T17:15:22-07:00

Once underway, the search progress is closely managed with a weekly update document that summarizes the status of Active Candidates (in the interview process), Candidates Being Pursued, and Eliminated Candidates.

What are your fees?2022-07-12T17:15:27-07:00

Straightforward and performance-based.

Fees are 30% of a candidate’s first-year salary ONLY (no bonuses, sign-on, or stock options).

There are no administrative fees; expenses are submitted for reimbursement monthly and must be pre-approved if over $500.

Retainers of 1/3 of the estimated fee are due at the beginning of the search and after 30 days.
The final fee is calculated after the candidate is hired, and invoiced on the candidate’s first day of employment.
All placements are guaranteed for one year.

How do you manage confidentiality and brand representation?2022-07-12T17:15:32-07:00

The client approves everything said about the opportunity and company, which is clearly articulated in the position spec. Any individuals or companies who should NOT be targeted are identified up front. The position spec itself is only sent to potential candidates and sources never put in a blanket email or posted on job boards.

Who is included in a search team?2022-07-12T17:15:39-07:00

Robin Russell conducts the search from beginning to end.

How long do searches typically take?2022-07-12T17:15:45-07:00

Most searches are either complete or at offer stage within 90 days.

Do you represent individuals seeking new positions?2022-07-12T17:15:50-07:00


Robin Russell LLC • Independent Executive Search

“The difference between success and failure is talent, period.”

Indra Nooyi

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