Experts POol


Spano Pratt is an executive search firm based in Milwaukee and serving clients throughout the U.S. Executive search firms may differ than other recruiters which you may encounter throughout your career.

How Executive Recruiting Works

Executive search firms are hired by an employer seeking to have an independent expert seek, evaluate and present candidates meeting a specific criteria. It is the consultative process of partnering with employers to understand their talent needs in order to fill senior executive positions within an organization. Our time is spent focused on finding and vetting individuals we believe have a potential fit.

Often, the types of professionals we speak to are in a niche – and not actively seeking a new job. We often will identify potential candidates using a proactive approach such as contacting targeted people in specific companies who appear to fit the job profile. Savvy executives often appreciate the opportunity to develop a relationship and stay in our network.

Our fee is paid for by the client which is the employer or organization, and never by the job candidate. Sometimes individuals interested in a career transition misunderstand our role. We represent our client companies. We do not actively engage in outplacement services or fee for services related to career management or transition, as this would be a conflict of interest. However, there are skilled professionals who have developed a practice based on this service, and we are happy to make a referral.

What We Look for in a Candidate

In summary, we are looking for a good cultural fit and the demonstrated success or demonstrated potential to provide our clients with the right solution. Each position and organization is unique. In our situation, by the time we would actually meet, it is often clear that the technical pieces of the job have been met and we are focusing on a good cultural fit and will do a deeper dive on the relevant accomplishments. Before beginning to interview or search for viable candidates we have determined along with the employer the necessary set of skills, knowledge and attributes.

We have also conducted a cultural overview which will help us make a good match.

Here are some examples and tips of base line criteria we would look for in a typical leadership role. For each example we will provide the counter on what to avoid and the tip.

Tip Number One Remember First Impressions Start Now

We are looking for people who know how to develop professional relationships - return recruiter phone calls or email as quickly as reasonably possible. A 24 – 48 hour turnaround is considered reasonable given our access to technology. A momentum, an opinion, and relationship are building from the first contact. Stating no interest and a brief thank you if that’s the case is appreciated as well. A good tip is to ask the recruiter calling why you think my qualifications are a good fit? That will give you insight as to how to initially react and what the employer might be looking for.

Tip Number Two – Keep an Effective and Well Managed Online Image and Collateral

Many candidates without visible profiles or who are absent may be perceived as complacent in their career, not current, inwardly focused, or have very low career engagement overall. Or perhaps just not an astute user in social media.

While this may be anecdotal it is worth noting. Keep the LinkedIn profile complete and accurate with relevant accomplishments.

Keep the Facebook profile limited to your inner circle unless you are using it professionally for career purposes. Have a clean and updated resume to share. Regularly update your resume to make sure that accomplishments are fresh in your mind. Keep the document free of headers and footers that might be dropped in electronic communication.

Tip Number Three – Master the Phone or SKYPE Interview

Know and practice an effective communication style using the telephone. This may sound obvious but in an age of text and email this is worth noting.

The ideal candidate will have the ability to effectively communicate a thought in a concise and relevant manner in the initial phone conversation. It is common practice to begin the assessment process initially by phone. Therefore the candidate’s ability to speak clearly and convey a positive and professional phone persona will be critical to moving on to the next step in the process. Be prepared for the phone conversation. Allow ample time and reliable technology; charged phones and quiet space for instance. Of course, make sure you have learned something about the opportunity that may be publicly available. Avoid swaying off topic or providing minutia in that first phone meeting. Your goal is to secure an in-person interview with the recruiter by supplying relevant information to determine if a fit may be there – it is not to get the job. You want to use the time allotted to cover the first base and advance to second.

Tip Number Four – Prepare for the Interview

Addressing the solution you bring to the organization is critical. Ideally this has been identified. The cardinal rule is to not begin selling until you know what they are buying.You can find names and profiles of people working at the employer on LinkedIn. It may be worthwhile to identify hiring patterns or clues to what the organization values. Reaching out is not advised unless you have a confidential and personal contact. Establishing the rapport is critical. However, keep in mind that some of this chemistry fit is out of your control.

Tip Number Five - Trust the Process

It’s important to note that it is likely much thought and preparation has gone into selecting and vetting the right candidate. You have not been a part of most of those internal conversations. Therefore if not selected, view the experience as learning and practice for the next experience. It is a competitive market and often timing may reflect the size and quality of the candidate slate. It is not whether you were qualified as much as it is WHO IS THE BEST FIT AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

Rose IanelliRose Spano Iannelli, founding partner at Spano Pratt Executive Search, can be reached at




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