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Many of our searches are nonconfidential, meaning we identify our corporate client’s name in public places such as LinkedIn. These are openings that companies hire us to fill, but also list on their corporate website Careers page as a matter of HR policy. Ideally, we come in at the beginning of a search and all resumes come to us regardless of how a candidate learns of the position. Sometimes, we follow a do-it-yourself effort that is falling short, and we are hired to complement the internally run search. Either way, the winner almost always comes from the pool of passive candidates we proactively reach versus a posting response.

Thus far in 2024, half of our searches are Client Confidential. The rest of this column offers the pros and cons of taking a confidential approach to your opening. To be clear, there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s case-by-case. But usually, the Client Confidential approach is deployed for leadership level roles.

PROS of taking a Client Confidential approach to your opening:

Candidate comfort: A confidential approach helps assure targeted passive candidates that they are in serious contention among a select short list and their time is less likely to be wasted. Moreover, a confidential approach helps reinforce the message to candidates that their own confidentiality will be maintained throughout the interview and hiring process.

Sensitive roles: When hiring for key leadership positions or positions involving access to sensitive information, a confidential search helps maintain discretion. It also prevents disruptions within your corporate operations.

Preserving employee morale: Publicly posting a job opening for certain positions, especially those at the executive level or indicating potential restructuring, can lead to concerns among existing employees about their own standing or job security. Conducting a confidential search helps maintain employee morale and prevent unnecessary anxiety.

CONS of taking a Client Confidential approach to your opening:

FOMO: The fear of missing out on potential candidates is understandable. It’s fair to suggest a good candidate may get missed if an opening is not made public. To proceed with a confidential search, you need to trust your search firm partner and have confidence that a thorough approach will be taken and that diversity and inclusion best practices will always be followed.

Transparency: Confidential searches might be poorly received after the fact by current members of your law department if they view it as by-passing their input. This is the flip side of preserving employee morale as a “Pro” to the confidential approach. If you have created a culture of transparency, then you might have a little damage control on your hands and need to explain to key team members why secrecy was preferred.

Bottom-line for Evers Legal

Those of you who know me can see the sales pitch coming. Here it is, genuine and simple: Whichever approach you choose, Public Opening or Client Confidential, we are expert at both. There are nuanced differences in terms of how each approach is handled. We will find great in-house counsel for each unique need, deploying the appropriate amount of discretion with each candidate communication. Always feel free to ask me for client references. Many of those are private and confidential, in addition to the general counsels and HR leaders who kindly populate our website with testimonials.

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