This is the first stage of the search process. It entails an in-depth discussion of client requirements (in-person, via Skype or Phone) with the relevant members of the hiring committee or staff whose input would be relevant for the search.

+ All specific, general and preferred skills and qualities are discussed in detail, including those deemed as ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ qualities.

+ Other factors such as what worked and what did not with previous employees in the role are also explored, as well as any unique or particular dynamics regarding the team, organization or sector that may influence the search are discussed.

+ A detailed discussion of the company culture ensues. This is as important to the search as are particular skills and experience. The cultural aspects which are important are leadership style of the Executive Team, organizational structure, level of formality/informality, general team dynamics, innovativeness, pace of work, etc.

+ The total compensation package, including base salary, other compensation, benefits, flexibility with work location/hours and other perks are also discussed, at this meeting.

+ Generally the bulk of the requirements are communicated during the kick-off meeting, however it is common for this to be an iterative process, whereby the ideal profile is refined after the initial meeting.