Prepare Yourself

It often happens when you least expect it. Out of the blue you receive a call from a client, wanting to know if you might have an interest in a position they are trying to fill.

The opportunity seems promising, but you do not know what to expect. What does the process entail? How long will it take? What will the firm expect from you? Most important, what are your rights and obligations during the process? As a potential candidate, you are entitled to ask these questions and to have them answered.


As a potential candidate you have the right to expect a certain code of ethics that states that these relationships should be characterized by honesty, objectivity, accuracy and respect for confidentiality. Clients looking for candidates must also abide by all data privacy laws applicable within their country.


Furthermore, Guides and Trackers Direct (G&TDirect) believe that the most successful employee searches involve a two-way partnership, whereby the candidate and the client fully understand their rights, duties and obligations to each other during the search process. As such, we believe that all search candidates have the following rights.

The Candidate's Bill of Rights
I. Confidentiality
When you become a G&TDirect search candidate, you put yourself at a certain amount of risk with your current employer. For that reason, you are entitled to the highest levels of confidentiality from the client organization. To safeguard your confidentiality, the client should:

  • Upon your request, contact you directly rather than through anyone else in your current company.
  • Not contact references provided by you without your permission.
  • Not discuss your potential candidacy with anyone outside the search firm, and ensure that all employees of the firm abide by the same rules.
  • Safeguard your confidentiality.

It is important to remember that you do not become a search candidate until the client has conducted an initial evaluation of your suitability for the position and you have expressed an interest in it. If either of these two criteria is missing, you cannot be considered a candidate for the position. However, even if the position about which you are being contacted is not right for you at the present time, you may still benefit from being a member of G&TDirect with clients by being kept up to date with the market for your skills and experience. Candidates not selected on one search may be selected on another.

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II. Full Disclosure
In order to make the right decision, you need to know as much as possible about the position and the client organization. This ultimately requires full and open disclosure regarding:

  • The nature and requirements of the position
  • The compensation package
  • Whether relocation is required
  • Pertinent information regarding the client organization

Be aware, however, that during your first conversation, when you are still being evaluated as a potential candidate for the position, the client is under no obligation to divulge confidential information about the position or the firm. Only after you have been identified, as a legitimate candidate should you expect the client to disclose more than the most basic information. Even then, there are times when certain information about the firm must remain confidential until the final stages of the search process.

The client should also make clear whether the firm to manage the appointment in question has retained him or her. Retained executive search consultants work under an exclusive contract with the client organization; and thus have not only confidential access to the client on that assignment but have their full and committed attention. If the consultant fails to notify you of this important fact, do not hesitate to ask.

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III. Timely Communication
The completion of an employee search assignment can often take several months, with many steps between initial contact and the ultimate hiring of the successful candidate. Once you become an active candidate, the firm should communicate with you in a timely manner at each and every step of the process. This means proactively updating you on the progress of the search as well as responding in a timely manner to any inquiries initiated by you.

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IV. Feedback
The Client should give you an honest appraisal of where you seem to fit the opportunity and where you do not seem to fit. If at any point in the process the client decides not to proceed with your candidacy, the client should provide as complete an explanation of the decision as possible.

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V. Professional Treatment
Clients are expected to comply with all the employment laws that apply to the normal hiring process. In addition, they should also demonstrate a high level of professionalism with each and every candidate. Professional treatment means that the client:

  • Has a clear understanding of the position and expectations for it
  • Conducts an organized, well thought-out interview
  • Shows up on time and well-prepared for all appointments
  • Demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the market.
  • Answers all your questions in an honest and forthright manner

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VI. Adequate Process Details
As a search candidate, you are entitled to know what to expect as the process unfolds. For example, what is the anticipated time frame for the first round of interviews? If you make the first cut, what happens next? Most clients will readily volunteer this kind of information. If they do not, make a point to ask. In particular, be prepared at any stage in the proceedings to ask:

  • How long will this take?
  • Who do I have to meet with before a decision is made?
  • What time frame is the client working on?
  • What is the next step?

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VII. Respect for Your Time and Position
The client understands that, as a member of a Safari team, your current position demands your full time and attention. When scheduling appointments and interviews, the client should demonstrate the utmost respect for your time, your position and your responsibilities to your employer.

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VIII. Consistency Between the Search Firm (Recruitment Agent) and Their Client
The search consultant and the client should always do their best to be on the same wavelength in terms of the information they present to you. Keep in mind, however, that while the search consultant represents the client organization, they do not have complete control over the client's communication with you during the process. If changes occur that contradict the information given to you by the consultant, you should ask for clarification.

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IX. No Pressure
The best search placements happen when the candidate has the time to make a measured, well thought out decision. For this reason, the client should never try to hurry your decision or put undue pressure on you to accept an offer. However, the client should keep you informed of any deadlines imposed and the implications for not making a decision prior to those deadlines.

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X. A Trusting Relationship
If the client conducts him or herself in a manner befitting these guiding principles, you should naturally develop an open and trusting relationship. Conversely, if for any reason you do not feel you can trust the search consultant or the client, you would be well served to withdraw from the process. Keep in mind that the best clients strive for more than just filling the position; they want to help you make the best decision for you, your family and your career.

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Concluding the Search
If the client decides to hire you to fill the position, you have arrived at one of the most important stages of the search process: negotiation of your employment agreement. This can involve highly sensitive issues in which G&TDirect can play a crucial role of intermediary to ensure open and effective communication between client and candidate. Use this 'honest broker' channel of communication to candidly express any concerns or special requirements that you may have on terms and conditions.

When the search process is completed and you have signed on the dotted line, feel free to stay in touch with G&TDirect to make sure that your transition into the new position is a success. Feel free to contact us with major concerns that arise. We may well be able to help sort out problems, and the client will normally not resent diplomatic intervention by us. However, G&TDirect are not professional coaches, and thus their role here may be limited however advice will be made available to you on where to access these professionals.

If your candidacy does not result in hire, your information is still in G&TDirect's pool of candidates for future assignments. Clients may contact you from time to time to maintain the relationship and keep you apprised of any upcoming assignments. If you developed a good relationship with the client, you may want to take your own steps to maintain the relationship as well.

Regardless of the outcome of the search, the client may not use your name or the results of the search as testimonials without your permission.

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward
The executive search process is not a one-way street. Although you have a right to expect courteous, professional treatment from the search consultant and the client, there are a number of things you can do to facilitate the process and advance your standing.

  • Be honest. Under no circumstances should you inflate your resume, misrepresent your work history or "hold some cards back." Also, be genuine about your interest (or lack of) in the position. Complete and accurate disclosure by the candidate is an essential element in the search process.
  • Be flexible. Make every effort to fit appointments and interviews within your schedule.
  • Educate yourself. Conduct your own due diligence on the search firm and the client organization, and understand the unique value of retained employee search consulting.
  • Have realistic expectations. Understand that the process takes time and that you will be one of several qualified candidates.
  • Negotiate in good faith. Do not lead clients to believe you are negotiating only with them if you are considering offers from more than one organization.

Above all, do not think you have a "done deal" just because you develop a close relationship with the client. Remember that the clients job is to present several qualified candidates to the firm, and it is the firm who makes the ultimate decision.

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Making the Connection
How do you get on the "radar screen" of leading Safari Lodges and Operators around Southern Africa? One of the best ways is to register with G&TDirect. Doing so will raise your visibility with the most appropriate firms in an efficient, economical and confidential manner.

The more you know about the search process, the better you can position yourself should you become an search candidate. In the meantime, remember that the most successful employee searches involve those where you and the client know your rights and obligations within the search process and adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

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