How Long Does an Executive Search Typically Take?


This is usually one of the first questions potential clients ask us. When companies are looking to fill an executive position, they are generally hoping to hire someone fast. At PIXCELL, our headhunters in Quebec aim to strike a balance between providing a swift recruitment process and employing the kind of rigour on which we have built our reputation. This is crucial to ensuring the long-term viability of the hire. At the same time, we know that top-level executives are highly sought after, and that agility if often the key to recruiting rare talent.

When you work with our specialized talent acquisition agency, you can be confident that we will make efficient use of your time and allow you to hire the top candidate in your industry as soon as possible. While PIXCELL does the recruiting, you can focus on the activities that add value to your company.


The three steps of our rigorous recruitment process

Our executive recruitment firm is with you every step of the way, from precisely defining the position to be filled to onboarding the chosen candidate.


Step 1: Arranging a preparatory meeting and defining the job profile


To ensure an executive recruitment that is a long-term success, our experts know that it is essential to have a solid understanding of the unique attributes of your company. During the first week, we take the time to clearly understand your needs and the needs of your business. A consultant from our Montreal headhunting firm who has been specially assigned to your company will come to your offices to meet you and form an overall picture of the organization. What is your business climate and your company culture? Who are the people that form your executive committee? Is your market in a period of growth or decline? Are you in the middle of a merger or acquisition? Knowing the specific business challenges you are facing will help us determine the candidate profile for the position you are filling.

This preparatory meeting allows us to build upon what you have told us about your company’s needs and lay the groundwork for a job profile that is wholly adapted to your requirements. Our experience has shown us that this step is crucial to recruiting the right candidate. A carefully defined description of the position allows you to find the right candidate for the role, that is, the leader who will grow within your organization and help you meet your company goals. Our track record speaks for itself: 100% of the executives hired with the help of PIXCELL are still in place after two years.


Step 2: Finding and evaluating talent


For four to eight weeks, our specialized consultants use every means available to seek out potential candidates who meet the criteria for the position. The amount of time spent in this stage varies depending on how challenging it is to search for candidates for the position in question. The experts at our talent acquisition agency work on your behalf by employing sophisticated technology and tapping an extensive network of international partners. They also conduct an initial pre-interview with the candidates to confirm their professional experience and medium- and long-term ambitions. Thereafter, our experts meet with qualified executive candidates and evaluate them according to our non-traditional four-step methodology:

  • Confirmation of professional experience and academic background
  • Confirmation of professional ambitions and motivations as well as personal goals
  • Detailed confirmation of professional achievements
  • Confirmation of candidates’ suitability from a behavioural standpoint in light of your company culture


During this period, you will receive a weekly progress report that permits you to track the evolution of the recruitment process. During this stage, when the team at PIXCELL is busy at work behind the scenes, each day brings you closer to hiring the ideal candidate.


Step 3: Selecting the candidate


The next two to five weeks are devoted to selecting the right candidate. The expert from our headhunting firm who is working with your company will submit to you a shortlist of candidates that includes the reports we have complied for each person. We also help coordinate the various interviews with your selection committee and board of directors. We work alongside you during the final interview process and in the process of selecting the candidate.

When your choice has been made, we remain at your side to help you frame the offer for the chosen executive candidate and conduct negotiations. Our headhunting firm also looks after follow-up steps, such as performing extensive reference checks and background checks and informing candidates when they have not been selected.

The specialists at our executive recruitment firm also provide change management support to new executives to ensure that they remain in their new position over the long term.


So, how long does an executive search typically take?


Companies can expect to receive pre-screened applications as soon as one to two weeks after beginning the executive recruitment process with PIXCELL. Generally, it takes six to eight weeks to form a shortlist of candidates. The final step, namely, selecting the executive, generally occurs seven to fourteen weeks into the process.

The length of the recruitment process varies based on several criteria, notably the candidate profile and how rare this profile is in the industry in question. Other factors may also influence the time required, for example, how soon the company can make a decision about the position. That said, the experts at PIXCELL understand that certain positions need to be filled right away; we are therefore always willing to adapt our work methods to the needs of your company.

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