Professional Practice Guidelines
The Executive Recruiters Association (ERA) strives to enhance the professionalism of its members. Accordingly, “ERA" has developed the following Professional Practice Guidelines to assist ERA member firms in their business relationships with clients, candidates and the public. As the profession evolves and adapts to developments in business practices, technology and law, the “ERA” may amend these Guidelines.
Relationships Between ERA Members and their Clients
ERA members are partners with their clients in a consultative process aimed at selecting outstanding executives. The success of these partnerships depends on excellence in client service. The following guidelines describe the processes and professional practices that contribute to outstanding client service.
Accepting Client Assignments
Outstanding client service begins with a clear understanding of the client organization, its business needs and the position to be filled. An ERA member should:
Performing Client Assignments
- Accept only those assignments that a member is qualified to undertake on the basis of the members knowledge of the client's needs and the member's ability to perform the specific assignment.
- Accept only those assignments that will not adversely affect the member's objectivity, loyalty and integrity.
- Disclose to prospective clients information known to the member about relationships, circumstances or interests that might create actual or potential conflicts of interest, and accept potential assignments only if all affected parties have expressly agreed to waive any conflict.
- Disclose to prospective clients limitations arising through service to other clients that may affect the member's ability to perform the assignment.
- Base acceptances on an understanding that, among other things, defines the scope and character of the services to be provided; the identity of the client organization; the period, if any, during which the member will not recruit from the defined client organization; and the fees and expenses to be charged for the services rendered.
- Discuss with the client when advertising is required or is a recommended strategy for the particular recruitment assignment.
Members should serve their clients with integrity and objectivity, making every effort to conduct recruitment activities on the basis of impartial consideration of relevant facts. Specifically, an ERA member should:
Preserving the confidentiality of Client Information
- Advise the client promptly, and offer alternative courses of action if it becomes apparent that no qualified candidates can be presented, or that the length of the assignment will differ considerably from that originally specified.
- Present information about the client, the position and the candidate honestly and factually, and include reservations that are pertinent and important to an assignment.
- Withdraw from the assignment if a member determines that a client has characterized its organization falsely or misled candidates, provided the situation is not rectified.
- Thoroughly evaluate potential candidates wherever possible, including:
- In-depth interviews in person or by video conferencing,
- Verification of credentials, and
- Careful assessment of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses, before presenting candidates for client interviews.
- Complete thorough reference checks and transmit these references to the client.
- Advise the client if advertising becomes necessary.
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
- ERA members should use their best efforts to protect of confidential information concerning their clients. Specifically, a member should:
- Use such confidential information received from clients only for purposes of conducting the assignment.
- Disclose such confidential client information only to those individuals within the firm, or to potential candidates who have a need to know the information.
- Not use such confidential information for personal gain, nor provide inside information to third parties for their personal gain.
Relationships between ERA Members and their Candidates
- ERA members should protect their integrity, objectivity and loyalty by avoiding conflicts of interest with their clients. For example, a member should:
- Refuse or withdraw from an assignment upon learning of conditions that impair the member's ability to perform services properly, including conflicts of interest that may arise during the assignment (unless all affected parties expressly agree to waive the conflict).
- Inform clients of business or personal relationships with candidates that might affect or appear to affect the member's objectivity in conducting the assignment.
- Not accept payment for assisting an individual in securing employment.
Although a members primary relationship is with the client, member firms seek also to establish profession; relationships with candidates. These relationships should be characterized by honesty, objectivity, accuracy and respect for confidentiality. In building such relationships, a member should:
Relationships between ERA Members and their Contractors
- Provide candidates with relevant and accurate information about the client organization and the position.
- Present to clients accurate and relevant information about candidates, and otherwise maintain the confidentiality of information provided by prospective and actual candidates.
- Encourage candidates to provide accurate information about their qualifications. Upon learning that a candidate has misled the client or member regarding his or her qualifications, the member should reject the candidate, unless the client, candidate and member agree that the candidacy should continue, following disclosure of the facts.
- Advise prospects and candidates of the status and disposition of their candidacies in a timely fashion.
- Consider whether an individual's permission is needed before sharing his or her background information with a client, and secure permission as
- Advise candidates of any limitations on a member firms ability to advance them as candidates in future searches
ERA members sometimes rely on contractors and subcontractors to assist in the recruitment process. A member should:
Relationships between ERA Members and the Public
- Avoid contractors and subcontractors whose practices are inconsistent with the standards of professionalism expected of ERA members.
- Encourage its contractors and subcontractors to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines.
ERA members should recognize the importance of public trust and confidence in their profession and seek to serve their clients in a manner consistent with the public interest. Therefore, a member should:
- Observe the principles of equal opportunity in employment and avoid unlawful discrimination against qualified candidates.
- Promote and advertise member firm services in a professional and accurate manner.
- Conduct relations with the media so as to reflect favorably upon the ERA, clients and the executive recruitment profession.