From the desk of...


What to Look for in a Professional Search Firm?

Jul 15, 2022 | From the desk of...

From the Desk of Matt Levin – What to Look for in a Professional Search Firm?

By Matt Levin – Assistant Practice Director, Engineering & Operations Practice

Following his recent promotion to Assistant Practice Director within our Sales, Marketing, Engineering, and Operations practice, we asked Matt Levin to sit down and get granular about what clients should be looking for in a search firm. Coming from a subject matter expert like himself, he provided us with a considerable amount of insightful information. Congratulations Matt!

As a company looking to expand your talent pool and build your team, what should you look for in a professional search firm?

Our team at CSP takes pride in our relationships with clients and candidates alike. We often share the same values and we uphold the belief in doing things the right way. It is our goal to find candidates and clients who are aligned by qualifications and corporate culture. We are an extension of our clients and candidates, therefore, we must represent both in the best possible way. 

CSP is a professional search firm with a unique trait – we provide recruiting capabilities in four primary verticals and partner with our clients to fully understand their hiring and staffing needs.  For example, I focus on Engineering and Operations – supporting mainly manufacturing, distribution, logistics and engineering firms.

Simply put, a company should be seeking a consultative, and relationship-driven search firm that genuinely believes in a collaborative partnership. Leveraging more than a decade of experience in professional recruiting, here are four key areas I recommend companies in any industry look for when selecting a professional search firm. 

A Consultative Approach

A professional recruiter must be able to build a relationship with several decision-makers within a client’s organization – from the hiring managers to leadership to staff. This way, they truly understand the business, the culture, the organization chart, the role, and the expectation for future hires. Additionally, they will invest the time to partner with the client to discuss the search – pitfalls, market perception, market conditions and status of the search.  

Throughout the process, a professional recruiter should act as a consultant to the client with regard to all aspects of the search in an effort to find the best candidate for their position. It is worth mentioning that, at CSP our team is referred to as “Search Consultants.”  We believe that this is a better reflection of how we approach the business.

The ideal situation is when a client works exclusively with one search firm. In an exclusive arrangement, the client only works with one firm to identify talent.  This provides value to the search firm because they have established a business partnership and from the client’s perspective, it makes it easier to manage the search, especially when the client isn’t managing calls, emails, and resumes from multiple firms. 

Knowledge of the market

Each industry and market has its own characteristics, which is why it’s important for a recruiter to have expertise in that space. Recently, we worked with a client to source talent for a role that required specific experience. In this region, that type of experience in that industry is not as prevalent as it is in other areas.  After doing our due diligence, we collaborated with our client to discuss the current market. We agreed that we needed to modify our search efforts and seek talent outside of the region.


A professional recruitment partner must consistently provide feedback on what the market is offering and how the search is going. Time cannot be wasted on hoping to find a candidate in a pool that does not exist. Additionally, transparency about the company and position is essential – both the benefits and the challenges that come with it. This level of candor will help narrow down the right candidate who will then ultimately be positioned for success. 

A partner, not a vendor

Seek out a partner, not a vendor relationship. If your recruiter spends 15 minutes on a kick-off call and sets out to work, that is not a great sign of a true partnership. Having a partner is about being able to listen and learn about what a company needs and wants, investing the time, and then determining how to help guide and steer the search with a collaborative approach. 


Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our approach and how we can be a resource and partner to your firm.