From time to time, orthopedic companies are compelled to carry out “secret” job searches.  These searches are referred to as “Confidential Searches”.

So what is a Confidential Search?

A Confidential Search is performed when there is a job opening that is not publicized or advertised in any way. Not even shared with inside employees.

Why do a Confidential Search?

I have seen four specific reasons why an orthopedic company may carry out a Confidential Search.  Most of these reasons are based on “timing”.

#1 – The company is replacing an under-performing employee, usually in a senior role.  The organization doesn’t want a gap in leadership is this role for months. This is the most common need for a Confidential Search.

#2 – The company is planning for a big reorganization and doesn’t want to alarm the specific leaders. 

#3 – The company wants to make strategic moves without the competition getting wind, such as, expanding into a new territory or developing a new business segment.

#4 – The company is in the middle of a merger, an acquisition or an IPO and this new role is not yet ready for public consumption.

What is the process for a Confidential Search?

Organizations should not try to execute a confidential search on their own because they will not be able to keep it a secret. They need a 3rd party, so they will engage a retained recruiter.

The company will debrief the recruiter on the reasons for the new/changed role, the vision for the company going forward, and the compensation package.

Then the recruiter will select individuals on a CONFIDENTIAL basis who he thinks may be interested in the job and who can excel in the job. The recruiter will keep the search entirely confidential, no ad blasts on LinkedIn or email. These searches are more complex and take longer to fill for obvious reasons. 

The recruiter will guard the name of the orthopedic company in early discussions with targeted candidates. Note: When I begin speaking with potential candidates, I don’t divulge the name of the orthopedic company that I am representing. Instead, I explain what the general space is, and that the role would be at their current level or above, while I size up their own ambitions. This allows me to vet the candidate without divulging anything that the company isn’t prepared to share at this time.

The company should limit the search committee size. No more than four people inside the company should be aware of, and involved in, the selection process. I’ve found that this size is manageable and helps limit the possibility of any leaks, while also allowing for a diversity of perspectives on each candidate.

If there is an incumbent in place, the in-person interviews will probably occur off-site in a rented space.

On average, the company should allow 90 days from the engagement with the recruiter, to the actual start date. 

Questions –

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