The Diligent Method

Our approach is methodical and our playbook long established, enabling search consultants to act crisply on each client's behalf. Our approach to all client engagements – search, contract leadership services, and organizational development – is consultative, collaborative, and tailored to the needs of our clients. We can be adaptive and flexible to most client requests except any which would diminish the quality of client outcomes.

We begin every engagement with in-person client meetings.

We develop requirements based first on your strategic and tactical objectives, and secondly on the position's role, function, inter-organizational dependencies and expected first year deliverables. With input from the hiring executive and key stakeholders, we construct a detailed search specification that we refer to as an Opportunity Profile. It includes required functional, educational and industry experience; valued or desired human competencies; and the nuances of what will be required of anyone to excel in this position. Should discrepancies emerge between stakeholders, we work with the hiring executive to resolve them. By investing this time up front, we optimize our productivity so we are focused only on the pursuit of the most proven performers. The Opportunity Profile will be made available to prospective candidates and to the interview team, and it will serve as the measuring stick against which all candidates will be compared.

Sourcing is easy. Discerning the truth about candidates is hard. We revel in that process.

Our methodology continues with a target-specific sourcing process to identify and assess those most coveted, passive candidates whose profiles align best with the specific skills, knowledge, industry experience, pedigree and talent to succeed in this position. Our multi-threaded approach to sourcing includes referrals from professionals we trust, extensive social and professional networking, media research and more. The overwhelming majority of our placed candidates come from warm referrals, as opposed to job postings.

Vetting potential candidates is where our real value begins.

Multiple live, exhaustive, multi-hour interviews that track candidates' careers and vet their accomplishments are conducted by at least two senior search consultants. These challenging candidate interviews always are conducted in person or by videoconference. They epitomize the heart of our vetting process, typically augmented by search-specific homework assignments, and are backed by thorough, probing reference checks performed by the lead search consultant, not by support staff. Once we have a collection of finalists, we score each candidate for capability, fit and for projected career longevity.

We consider all searches to be diversity searches.

Nearly all of our clients share diversity challenges in one form or another, most notably in the executive or middle management ranks. As a diverse firm ourselves (we are 50% minority-owned), we are sensitive to this need and have been highly successful in placing experienced candidates who represent a wide spectrum across races, gender, culture, age, sexual orientation and other criteria. What these candidates share in common is their level of top-flight capability and experience.

We advise clients throughout a search's lifecycle of the presence of diversity candidates and will present status reports on all candidates on a weekly or bi-weekly basis that offer summary updates on each candidate's emerging strengths and weaknesses during their vetting, their level of interest in the opportunity, and whether there is known competition from other employers.

We provide our clients an extensive Candidate Portfolio on each candidate we present.

In our Candidate Assessment, we provide an objective fact-based analysis of what each candidate brings to the position's primary requirements, backed by our optional (if a client so chooses, at no additional cost) metrics-based Diligent Candidate Valuation and the candidate's mapped position within our Comparative Candidate Quadrants. The resume/CV section is a thorough tracking of the candidate's Career History, high-level accomplishments and employment changes. Mini-case studies documenting Representative Accomplishments provide interviewers useful, real world fodder for substantive interviews.

We help optimize your interviews for maximum efficiency and quality outcomes.

During the sourcing, vetting and presentation of candidates, we work with you to select a manageable number of candidates for interviews at your offices, in individual interviews or panel interviews, as you prefer. We ensure each client's interview process is carefully orchestrated. We work with you to ensure that your interview team is comprised only of optimal A-players (because B- and C-players never attract A-players), and that the team shares a common understanding of the position and its requirements. If desired, we prepare the interviewers regarding the roles they must play in the process, including a prompt, meaningful feedback mechanism, either one the client currently uses or one provided by us. We facilitate interview scheduling and can handle any travel arrangements, if desired.

During candidate interviews, we stay close to the interview team.

Crisp, prompt feedback is essential for the search's success at this critical stage. While the client ultimately must make the final hiring decision, we frequently are asked to help facilitate the decision-making process when the attributes of strong candidates are on par with each other.

References should be honest, candid and enlightening, from people who matter – not checkmarks on a form.

Once you are ready to extend an offer, qualitative written references that are the product of our interviews with past employers, clients, and colleagues (at the superior, peer, and subordinate levels) illuminate far more about the candidate than the usual, cursory verification of past employment. If a client so wishes, our firm will arrange financial and criminal background checks, as well.

We help you extend an offer that is right for you, and for the candidate.

We provide input on each candidate's compensation requirements up front, and re-qualify that understanding with the candidate before an offer is extended, so that any new, previously unvoiced expectations are minimized. We consult with you in preparing the offer, presenting it to the candidate, negotiating its acceptance and determining a start date acceptable to all parties. If your policies dictate an offer must be made by the hiring executive directly or by Human Resources, we can present a non-binding, pro forma offer to the candidate and then coach you on how the candidate responded to specific details, enabling you to make an informed decision on how to negotiate to a successful "Yes."

After acceptance, we consult with you on your on-boarding process and on transition planning.

Staging the new hire's arrival will be critical to his or her success. So too will the new hire's first 90 days, so we stay in regular contact and provide active listening and coaching, as needed. We also stay in contact with the hiring executive to ensure that his or her expectations are being met, and advise on any issues we believe may warrant executive attention.

Our work does not end upon a start date, because we offer a minimum six-month no fault guarantee with our searches — up to one year with C-level roles.

Long after the search has been completed, we monitor this A-player. At least once every quarter for a year, and often longer, we touch base with our placed candidate and the hiring executive to make sure everyone is delighted with the outcome. As search professionals, we take pride in the leaders we deliver to our clients, at all levels. As a matter of synergy, we consider our success tied to their growth and the value they deliver for you, our client. Just as it should be. If the candidate leaves within the first year, we will provide a free re-fill.

As your partner, we require of you what all clients require of us. Responsiveness.

Ours is a nimble, agile business. Your responsiveness to our outreaches by phone, text or email is critical to our success in serving your needs. This is as true during the drafting and formalizing of the Opportunity Profile in the first week as it is during the time sensitive offer stage, when hours or even minutes can mean the difference between success and disappointment. While we will not abuse the privilege, when we need to reach you urgently, administrative assistants need to know to respect us and to convey our expression of urgency. Recruiting and hiring A-players is a competitive sport. We want you to win. Urgency, as much as diligence, matters.

Size matters too. Just not as you might expect.

Our search process and deliverables have been shaped over a twenty year period, influenced to a degree by those of the large global search firms. However, as continues to be proven time and again, our firm's size gives us a considerable advantage over our global competitors, whose vast client bases by default preclude them from presenting all the best candidates available or else violate their ethical and contractual obligations. Moreover, whereas these same firms are reluctant to perform searches below a VP level, we regularly perform searches from the CXO level down to Director, filling out leadership teams.

We founded ourselves based on the diligence of our process and our judgment.

Although we must say unabashedly that our network of top talent across industries – financial services, high tech, major consulting firms, media & entertainment, healthcare, biotech, higher education, and many others – is very, very strong. Sourcing top talent is easy. Vetting the best available candidates through our diligent process and presenting them with detailed documentation is our hallmark.


"We just completed a long and challenging search with Diligent Partners for a partner-level executive for our management consulting firm.  Completing a search like this for a small, culture-driven firm was no easy task, and we put both George and Scott through the ringer with our selectiveness, stubbornness, and hundreds of questions.  Both George and Scott did a great job working with us, walking us through all the details, and most importantly, finding several extremely well qualified candidates for us to meet with and ultimately hire.  Our search came with some self-inflicted bumps along the way, and I was impressed with the manner in which Diligent Partners stuck with their commitment to us from day one to the first day on the job of our new executive.  We liked their candidates so much, we ended up hiring two."

Greg Long
Director & Co-Founder, Caiman Consulting

"George and Scott have just completed a most professionally effective engagement for one of my critical IT Director positions.  Every step of the process was made clear and was executed with precision.  Their sourcing generated for my organization a viable cadre of leader-candidates whose credentials were aligned with our requirements and yet reflected variations in focus, personality, and style.  Their assessments were spot-on, just the right balance of reality and optimism.  Their leader-candidates were so well qualified that even those not selected proved to be strong candidates for other opportunities in my organization.  DP's work is the most satisfied I've ever been with an executive search firm's performance."

Tom Ream
Regional CIO, Sacramento-Sierra Region, Sutter Health