Frequently Asked Questions

To deliver the highest level of client service attainable in retained executive search. Each of our clients is unique. With our scientific, committed focus we are available and accessible at any time, seven days a week, to both clients and candidates, to facilitate successful completion of an assignment. Our approach is effective, highly flexible and customizable. Many inappropriate hires by clients occur when they “cut corners”. At Mitroff Consulting & Associates, we have developed a system which is efficient, timely and does not compromise quality. We provide our clients with full due diligence. Most importantly, our approach assures success for any industry or functional area. The critical significance of each assignment is never lost on us, neither from the client’s perspective nor from the candidate’s.

We believe that clients cannot afford to make a bad hire. While mistakes are very costly, it is possible to train and develop skills within an executive, but near impossible to “fix” someone’s attitude. Hence, Mitroff Consulting & Associates emphasizes the potential candidates fit not only with their skill set match to the position specification, but equally important, the potential candidate’s cultural and attitude fit to that of the client. We are a premier provider of executive human capital solutions.

We are a highly recognized, retained search and management consulting firm with a proven ability to identify and deliver superior leaders across a variety of industries. Whether large or small, public or private, global or local, every company deserves and requires an effective leadership team. Identifying the right leader for the right position at the right time is a complex challenge best met with the assistance of a search firm that has a proven track record of success. Energy and persistence conquer all things.

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There are a number of reasons why we do so, not the least of which is to attract “A” plus players. This requires they have anonymity. The vast majority of potential candidates we approach are employed full-time.  They are not usually actively seeking a new opportunity. The potential candidate understands when working with our firm, their career goals are taken into account. The fit of their goals as well as those of our client are considered.  Should a potential candidate have the belief the search firm wants to complete the assignment so they can “earn” their fee, top notch candidates will not participate in the search process.  The contacts, both our sources as well as potential candidates, all understand we only conduct searches on a retained basis.  Hence, complete confidentiality is assured to all parties.  Without this assurance, our experience has indicated the slate of potential candidates is compromised. Additionally, there is mutual trust.  Our clients understand we are presenting a potential candidate only when he is a strong fit rather than just to complete the search and obtain our fee.  We want the search to come to a successful completion for all parties, the client and the candidate, and obtaining our fee is not the motivation.  We bill for services rendered no different than physicians, accountants or other professionals. Additionally, as a retained firm, we commit one hundred percent of our efforts to our client’s needs.

As a Retained firm, our clients are assured:

  • Mitroff Consulting & Associates commits one hundred percent of our efforts to completing successfully the search assignment
  • Our retained search approach creates a mutually beneficial relationship and full level of commitment between our client and Mitroff Consulting & Associates
  • Our comprehensive assessment of candidates includes face-to-face interviews, interview reports, personality profiling and search specific (profiling specific to the actual position being sought), Candidate-to-Job Match reporting,  in-depth reference checking, and degree verification
  • Mitroff Consulting & Associates is accountable for filling the open position regardless of time investment.

We are one of only a few boutique search firms in the Country founded, managed and conducting searches by a prior Psychologist. Norm was a practicing Clinical Psychologist and he brings expertise in understanding people, what motivates them, what hampers them from making effective career decisions and how to overcome an individual’s resistance to making changes. His experience assures clients they will obtain the most qualified candidate for their company’s goals and future success. His ability to help candidates work through their career directions maximizes the successful results of the search and assures timely completion.

Additionally, Mitroff Consulting & Associates develops a personality profile unique to the specific search assignment for each and every search. This specific “Candidate-to-Job Matching Report” provides interviewers of the client company with custom-generated Behavior-Based Interview questions that probe the unique challenges faced by each potential candidate. The report we create will graphically compare and contrast a prospective candidate to the “ideal” candidate profile for the specific role we have been retained to search. Our report includes information which indicates just how much the prospective candidate would have to adjust his or her natural behavioral tendencies in order to mirror the behaviors of the client’s “ideal” position’s top performers.

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First and foremost, we are specialists in the search process.  We purposely do not limit our practice to a narrow industry focus.  By maintaining a broad industry focus, we have fewer “blockage” issues;  therefore, fewer companies in any given industry are “off-limits” to us.  This is a major advantage to our clients because we are able to recruit from a larger pool of A+ professionals.

“Once a client, always a client”.  At Mitroff Consulting & Associates, we believe it is unethical to recruit from a prior client; hence, all clients of our search firm are off-limits.

We also believe that in any given industry there are a limited number of A+ professionals; this is true whether it is public accounting, wine, consumer packaging, etc.  A search firm should seek to provide their clients with the highest level of candidates – i.e., A+ professionals.  With that understanding, the search firm which specializes in a given industry limits its access to such candidates.  Our broad industry focus allows us to go after more top candidates, more often.

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Mitroff Consulting & Associates approaches search with the understanding that no one is a “candidate” until proven otherwise.  That is, all contacts are “sources” – professionals within the industry who either are performing the duties of the role we seek to recruit, or will know of others who are doing so.  These “sources” enable us to network with the best of the best in the specific industry and discover those who are performing the responsibilities for the position our client seeks to complete.  Once our firm has identified an A+ professional who has the talents, abilities, and skill set for the role, then we administer to that professional the personality profiles and determine their “fit” to the culture, personality, energy demands, management skills, etc. required for success in that specific position.  Should the professional be a strong “fit” not only from a skills set, but also now from a culture and personality “fit”, then they can be advanced to the classification of “Prospect”.

Then we begin in-depth referencing, background checks, degree verification, etc.  Should the professional pass with outstanding marks, then and only then, does he become a “candidate”.  Once he is a candidate, then we present him to our client.  That way, our clients are assured only professionals who are a “perfect” fit for the opportunity will be presented.  We do not seek to take up valuable time of our client or that of sources by submitting individuals who “sort of look the part”.  Again, the professional must fit on all criteria before we consider him to be a candidate and then present him to our client.

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Through our focused, specific networking process we “get into” the correct pool. We have over 16,000 qualified, updated contacts in our database. We have developed a specific strategy for networking. Norm’s scientific approach [not only does Norm have a Ph.D., but he has published scientific papers] honed over the years of doing search results in our specific focus of finding the professionals who have the skill set. However, that is just the beginning. Once we have identified individuals who have the skills, then the real work begins. Does the professional have the work ethic and attitude our client seeks? Mitroff Consulting & Associates prides itself on identifying and presenting professionals to our clients who have not only the skills sets for the opportunity, but also the “right” attitude, work ethic, and motivation to do the job, and do it well.

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Mitroff Consulting & Associates prides itself on having over a 98% success rate in completion of searches and completing the search assignment within an average of 53 days from the actual date the search begins.

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We believe being a successful executive, at whatever level, is generally synonymous with being an outstanding performer. And yet, like world-class athletes, even the best can get better. Mitroff Consulting & Associates’ Executive Coaching Program empowers professionals to strengthen specific skills, abilities, and behaviors that will make them more even more effective as leaders. Our tailored, customized process is highly strategic and specifically designed for each executive. The coaching program is designed to increase the executive’s understanding of his current business realties, assess his strengths and weaknesses, identify ways to improve specific business and leadership abilities and deliver better business results. We focus on those areas that will have a direct impact on the executive’s and the organization’s ability to achieve mission-critical business objectives. Therefore, as the executive strengthens his performance, he optimizes the organization’s performance as well.
We work with executives to identify, capture and manage new career opportunities. The majority of our coaching executives are not looking for just another job; they are seeking new challenges in which to develop and apply their considerable skills and talents. We identify what it takes to assess each opportunity and position them optimally to stand out from others wanting the same opportunity. Additionally, we prepare our coaching executive’s during the first few months in a new opportunity to maximize their initial success.

Our coaching focuses entirely on the needs and attributes of the executive. We guide the executive along a path of discovery uncovering issues and insights about himself along the way. Our advice is customized to each individual executive’s situation. It is important for the executive to understand we do not do the work for him; rather, we help him help himself. Our coaching program assists the executive in choosing a mountain, the “right” mountain for that specific executive, and helps him climb that mountain. It does not include our carrying the executive up the mountain; the executive walks on their own feet. We provide a savvy sounding board not available anywhere else. It is secure, confidential, and comfortable. This allows the executive to articulate career options perhaps not yet shared with anyone else and enables him to “think outside the box” and “test drive” ideas without the risk of embarrassment. He is able to make superior decisions about what to do based on what he truly wants to do.

Participation in our Transition Coaching program does not preclude the executive from being a possible candidate on an executive search. If the executive becomes a participant in one of our searches, the transition program is formally suspended and the relationship with Mitroff Consulting & Associates focuses exclusively on the search.

We identify what it takes to assess each opportunity and position the executive to optimally stand out from others wanting the same opportunity. Additionally, we are prepared to guide our coaching client during his first few months in the new opportunity to maximize his initial success.

The program is designed around a two to four month curriculum that consists of weekly consultations focused on specific topics. The coaching work is performed by telephone so the geographic location of the executive is not an issue.

It is our experience that executives who have successfully completed our coaching program are able to immediately use primary and advanced coaching skills to create more effective performance conversations, empower employees to make better decisions, and create a culture of accountability.

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Mitroff Consulting & Associates provides our clients with a comprehensive profile of the “ideal” candidate matched to the specific position we have been retained to complete. We utilize state-of-the-art personnel assessment technology supported by scientific and behavioral research to enable managers to select the highest caliber candidates and to maximize the career potential of our client’s employees. Our profiling reports empower managers to effectively match the behavioral tendencies of candidates and senior management with the behavioral requirements of specific positions. The profiling reports we provide our clients are comprehensive, detailed assessments of the candidate and provide our client with specific suggestions to query the potential candidate on and describe how the candidate fits and does not fit the precise requirements of the specific position we are recruiting. We provide insights as to the candidate’s respective strengths (and weaknesses) and how well they fit the specific position.
For every position there are behaviors that enhance performance and behaviors that hinder performance. The Job Profile we use identifies the behaviors that correlate to effective job performance in a specific position. The “ideal” job profile is generated from the responses of the company’s “job expert” to the Job Profile Survey. The “job expert” can be a successful incumbent, or others who understand the difference between effective and ineffective performance in the position being profiled.

We also provide an in-depth Custom Job Analysis process that thoroughly researches a specific position. This rigorous analysis results in valuable insights regarding the traits and behaviors necessary to excel in a particular job. As a part of this process, clients also receive custom-written Behavior-Based Interview Questions designed specifically for their company.

The Candidate-to-Job Matching Report provides the company’s interviewers with custom-generated Behavior-Based Interview questions that probe the unique challenges faced by each candidate. The report graphically compares and contrasts a candidate to the “ideal” profile created during the Job Analysis process. The Candidate-to-Job Matching Report shows how much “flex” the candidate would need to exert in order to perform the essential duties of the position. In other words, the report indicates just how much the candidate would have to adjust his or her natural behavioral tendencies in order to mirror the behaviors of the position’s top performers. Our profile will provide our client with detail information as to how much extra energy the candidate has to expend to match the job – i.e., a safeguard against job burn-out.

You will find our comprehensive profiling assessments to be accurate and very helpful in building the management team and avoiding “mishires”.

We maximize the potential that not only will you have the right employee on the correct “bus”, but the right employee will be sitting in the “correct and best seat on the bus” for their career goals as well as the employer’s goals. This increases employer and employee satisfaction, reduces job burn-out and minimizes stress-related Workers Compensation claims.

We can provide clients with an analysis which maximizes lines of communication, resolves conflict more effectively, builds more productive teams and motivates the company’s people to achieve their potential. With the “New Hire Integration Report”, we provide our clients with a report which introduces the new employee to each of their managers, peers and direct reports. It is designed to maximize the new hire’s ability to “hit the ground running”.

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Talented people are available in today’s marketplace: finding them, recruiting them, and bringing them on board is still a serious challenge. The ideas behind Hiring Hard so you can Manage Easy will help you get the best when you have the opportunity to hire. Everyone is seeking to hire smart and to select the best. The only proven way to create a high-performance corporate culture is to hire and train just the right people. We recommend that you use the following four principles to dramatically improve your chances of hiring the right candidate.

1. Do a fit interview.

Ask questions to discover what the candidate believes in. What are her/his values? Conversational interviews can provide you with an understanding of the candidate as a person by learning about his or her values, beliefs and ability to create rapport.

  • What are the most important values you want in an organization?
  • Where have you been able to excel? Why?
  • What environments have been the most challenging for you? Why?

2. Do a competency interview.

Use behavioral-based interview techniques. Competency interviewing puts the focus on understanding the candidate’s inherent competencies. We recommend using a behavior-based approach to discover if the competencies are present in the stories the candidate tells. Probing questions make this form of interviewing successful.

  • Can you think of a situation in which an innovative course of action was needed? What did you do in this situation?
  • What has been a particularly demanding goal for you to achieve? What were the challenges? How did you overcome them? What was the result?

3. Do a presentation interview.

Our preference is to ask the candidate to prepare a presentation ahead of time on a provided case. The presentation case interview can give the hiring manager data that the traditional case interview cannot provide. You will understand how the candidate might conduct themselves while interacting with a client in a high-pressure situation. Finally, you will see the candidate’s preparation and their presentation skills.

4. Profile the Candidate.

Most interviewers never give an applicant a personality assessment or a communication profile. Have you ever hired somebody, and two days later it’s as though you hired somebody else completely? Personality testing can go a long way toward preventing this. There is not an interviewer alive who could not use some additional assistance in sorting the candidates who are very good in interviews from those who will truly benefit your organization. It is the candidate’s job to show off their assets and it is challenging for any interviewer to elicit from the candidate what his or her potential liabilities are. Personality tests can give you insights into what a candidate’s potential weaknesses are so you can better leverage your time in the interview. As clock management is an important part of interviewing, gaining insights into potential challenges provides you with a critical advantage.

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The termination of an employee should be done with respect and dignity. In most cases, the underperforming employee is aware of their shortcomings and actually feels relief when they are no longer being required to do something they are ill fit to do.

Following the usual and required legal protocols when firing an employee is, of course, required. Beyond that, the adage, “hire slow, fire fast” is the best policy. Many of our Clients have used our firm to terminate an employee knowing that we are going to be conducting the search for the new employee. Being able to discuss with the fired employee why they did not succeed and how we, as a search firm, might be able to assist them, in most cases eases the discomfort of being fired.

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“Buying” an employee back when they try to resign, typically referred to as a counter offer, rarely works, even in the short run. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the time, the employee leaves within six months to a year and a half, and often with more acrimony than the first attempt.

Counteroffers rarely work because:

  1. Management makes a counteroffer to solve an immediate problem. They are caught off guard. Management feels the need to do something quickly. Later, when the realization comes to mind they were “blackmailed”, held up by an employee who was unhappy and leaving, and they were taken advantage of, this will cause resentment.
  2. The trusted relationship between management and employee is broken – it is not the same anymore. In essence, the employee fired management and/or the company. No one likes to be fired.
  3. Money and title, the two most popular tools used in a counteroffer, are temporary. Most of the time, the adjustments management made to keep an employee are cosmetic and will rarely overcome the underlying reasons as to why the employee wanted to leave in the first place. After the “glow” of the importance of money or title wears off, the employee is mentally and emotionally right back where they were before.
  4. Others in the company will know the “tail” has wagged the dog. Management and the company have lost the respect of the employees who are aware of the counteroffer. The fear of this happening again will cause riff within the organization.
  5. The emotion of the moment forced management and the company to make this counteroffer; to make the employee feel “special”. However, how long is that feeling of euphoria going to last? What is going to happen when it wears off?
  6. An employee’s leaving never comes at a good time. Management will eventually say to themselves, “How could he/she do this to me? … It couldn’t have come at a worse time…. What am I going to do if they do it again? So, when (not if) is this person going to do it again? If that happens, I’m going to look like an inadequate manager and nobody is going to respect me as a manager.”
  7. Normally, for the counteroffer to be successful, management had to involve other managers, usually including someone above them. What are they going to think of the manager should the employee (or a similar employee) do this again? When/if this employee eventually leaves anyhow, the manager’s acumen will be questioned – the manager is at risk and the manager is not going to feel comfortable with the employee.
  8. Good companies do not buy people back. So, the insult to injury is that, not only were the management and company blackmailed, but others in the company know the company is not considered to be well managed.
  9. The employee bought back probably received some increase in salary (perhaps a significant increase). That fact is going to backfire – when the salary reviews come around again, management is going to remember how they were leveraged. Management will feel the employee already received a raise. The employee does not feel that way at all. He or she is going to expect a raise like everyone else. It is a “no win” situation.

Counteroffers rarely work. It seems like a good idea at the time, and the company of management might believe they have to do it for sheer survival.

However, in short order, on a confidential basis, management is going to start looking for that employee’s replacement. We know that because Mitroff Consulting & Associates has been retained, numerous times, by many companies to do a “confidential” search to replace the “successful” counter offer employee.

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  1. Do not give your notice to you current employer until you have received a signed offer from the new company, agreed to all the terms and received all applicable documentation: job description, which is an outline of job duties and responsibilities; sign-on bonus; relocation package; benefits information, such as vacation and paid time off; education plan; training; etc.
  2. After carefully reviewing the offer and applicable documentation, sign the offer and either fax (or preferably scan the document and e-mail) a copy back to the company or personally drop it off to their office and confirm that it was received. Confirm your start date/time and find what you can do between now and your official start date. Oftentimes the hiring manager will contact you to welcome you to the company and possibly invite you to lunch. If you do not hear from the hiring manager, take the initiative and call them and express your enthusiasm about joining the company.
  3. Give your two weeks’ notice to your current employer in writing. Be aware of what compensation is owed to you: last paycheck, accrued vacation, medical savings plan, cobra, reimbursement for company expenses, etc. Ask for references from your colleagues. This is the best – and maybe only – time to request this information. Start to gather your personal belongings; do not take any company property without permission. You may be asked to leave upon giving notice. You may be asked to stay beyond the two weeks’ notice to transfer your knowledge. Be professional about this process and do not burn any bridges.
  4. Counter offers from your current employer are not a good idea to consider. The trust has been broken and they may only be keeping you around until they find your replacement. Remember the reasons why you went looking for a new position in the first place? Was it more money, a more challenging position, stronger leadership, to gain knowledge from a new industry, etc.? Please review the material on our website [] in “FAQ”, “Why Counteroffers Do Not Work”.
  5. Take a two-week vacation – this is very important! This may be your last vacation for a year. Tie up any loose ends and relax – you deserve it.
  6. From day one it is important to read the culture in your new company. Your first goal is analyze the new company, management, peers and direct reports and to identify their culture and style. This is an important step in understanding the similarities and potential differences. If we conducted the search, we would have already provided you and your team members with the New Hire Integration Report. Be a good researcher, watch and listen carefully and ask questions of your new colleagues to gather this important information.
  7. Find out early on who you can and cannot trust, who your allies are and who are your enemies. Depending upon your position, some may not be pleased about your presence while others will be relieved to have you on board. At this point, it is important to build your alliances and develop business relationships with your peers, direct reports, boss, community and clients to build trust and credibility quickly. Be careful not to move too quickly without building your alliances.
  8. Be certain that your goals and objectives are in line with the company and management. What business results are expected, by whom and in what priority are critical. The key to this step is to establish agreements among all parties involved.
  9. You may be motivated to hit the ground running with the best intentions and make a big impact early on. This can result in a lack of focus on what is important today. It is important to balance the short-term goals with the long-term goals. Create an action plan to manage your time to successfully accomplish your goals.
  10. It is important to create a clear vision and communicate it to your boss, peers, direct reports and other key players as well as establish formal and informal communication channels to keep the initiatives visible and the message clear.
  11. Balancing the needs of a fast-paced and visible position is challenging. You will be pulled between needing to pace yourself and still achieving impressive results while staying in top performance. It is to everyone’s benefit that you retain your curiosity, enthusiasm and energy over time.

I wish you success in your new position, and remember that this is a transition phase. Remember to read and understand your new culture, build alliances, determine goals and expectations focus on the most critical projects but keep your eye on the long-term projects, create a vision and keep your momentum.

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