The recruiter selection process involves multiple phases (Note: Process and pacing often vary based on the market demand, stage and the size of the organization):

Set-Up Phase

Clarifying NeedsRecruiters work to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the competencies and experience the client looks for.  In addition, they focus on the company goals, values, styles, and culture to understand the ‘type’ of candidate who would be successful.

Long Lists. A firm spends the first week or two of a search creating a “long list” of 100-plus candidates. The search team sifts through existing networks, internal contact databases from prior candidates and online platforms. The team will continue to find candidates throughout the search process, always keeping alternatives in the pipeline.

Search Phase

Initial Outreach. Next, the team reaches out.  They prefer to connect via phone but will use other means for the initial contact. Those that respond to messages, even if a position is not of interest, ensure placement in the recruiter’s network for future opportunities specific to their wants.

Initial Phone Screens. In the preliminary calls, candidates describe their recent career experience, career path goals, and the corporate culture they seek.  The search team conducts 20 to 50 phone screens (or more) during the initial phase of a search.  These calls are more generic, creating new files, updating existing files, and creating new notes for the lead recruiter to review. 

Subsequent Communication. During the initial phone screen, IF there seems to be a potential match to the client’s needs, the team will either discuss a specific role (at a high level) or choose to share the discussion notes with the lead recruiter to get their thoughts on the candidate’s match.  If a candidate is a potential match to the client’s needs, they are then contacted.

Selection Phase

Initial Interviews. On average, 25% of screens result in a subsequent detailed discussion with the recruiter. Typically, a search firm will interview multiple candidates, but the recruiter will recommend only five to 10 to meet directly with the hiring company. This stage can be confusing for candidates; some are presented immediately while others are put into a holding pattern while the shortlist develops.  It does a candidate a disservice to introduce them to the hiring company by themselves – a client always asks for more to review.

Client Review Phase

Sendouts.  A recruiter presents individuals with a high probability of ‘fit’ for the vacancy they represent. Candidates who complete the recruiter’s interview process successfully make it to the “shortlist”.  Your file will be shared with the client if you are on this shortlist, and agree to move forward.  Typically, a search firm supplies a shortlist of qualified candidates while keeping a few others as alternate options. This stage of a search can last weeks or even months.  The recruiter is responsible for the introduction, not the hire, thus the client decides to move a candidate forward.

Company Interviews. Every company has its approach to this crucial process, which may include multiple interviews with the HR department, hiring manager, and, if applicable, the CEO and the board.

Offers. When a company is ready to make an offer, they often consult with the recruiter to ensure that their offer aligns with the candidate’s expectations. The recruiter (or the client) shares the remuneration package directly with the candidate.  The recruiter is still the intermediary throughout all discussions and potential negotiations.

Excerpts from: https://huntscanlon.com/the-ins-and-outs-of-executive-recruiting/