The Recruiting Process (from beginning to end)

May 21, 2024

Let's face it; finding candidates and hiring people is difficult! Simply posting a job, or placing a help-wanted ad just doesn't do the trick. The whole process takes time and energy, and causes frustration and opportunity costs. We feel your pain, and we thank you for choosing Locke and KEY. We look forward to working with you, and we would like to take some time to "de-mystify" the recruiting process. We are here to help you with your hiring needs, and allow you the time and energy to focus on your core business.

A unique aspect of our service is that we share our recruiting process with you; we don't just troll the internet, throw resumes at you, and hope that you like the candidates. We feel that adding an employee or executive to your organization is of utmost importance, and we want to include you at every step of the way; we are consulting with you and we want to provide full disclosure of the candidate market and what we are learning from our research, and hearing directly from the people we contact. No one can guarantee to find you exactly the person you want, but we will counsel you to make the best decision with whoever is available in the marketplace.

There are many factors involved in a candidate search, and many reasons which it may be difficult; if it was easy, you wouldn't need our help. We want to make the recruiting process comfortable for you, and explain how it all happens.

The typical fully engaged search process (from beginning to end) and timeline is as follows (all times are approximate):

We meet with you in person at your office to get to know you, and to discuss the details of the search, such as the qualities and qualifications you are looking for in a candidate, where we might go to find the candidates (research, postings, target companies, networking, associations, etc), and we help you understand the process of the search and the general timeline. We answer any questions that you may have. (2 hours, plus travel time).

At the office of Locke and KEY, the Recruiting Process begins, and we do any or all of the following:

  • General search strategy, planning, preparation, etc, depending on the scope of the position we have discussed with you. (3-4 hours)
  • Develop an original, or modify an existing Position Description, to be approved by you. (2-3 hours)
  • Conduct initial research to create a Target List of companies from which to recruit (you will approve of this list). We develop a tiered/prioritized list, so that we know which companies to call next, if we don't find a candidate from the first list. (4-8 hours, or more, depending on how many new lists we need to create). This is an ongoing process.
  • Search the internet for appropriate websites to Post the Position. These postings, if applicable, are approved by, and paid for, by you. Resume responses will be directed to Locke and KEY. Once posted, we send some initial posting response resumes to you, to calibrate a possible fit, and to discuss the qualifications of this initial glance at the candidate pool. (two to five hours, depending on quantity and quality of responses.)
  • Search for, and present to you, Resumes pulled from the (resume board) websites of passive and active candidates to calibrate their backgrounds to your needs. (10-40+ hours, depending on where we search and how extensive the process is).
  • Generate Names of potential candidates, from the approved target list of companies. Because this research is ongoing, and it depends on the number of initial target companies, we peg the initial name research at about four to eight companies per hour. (10-40 hours; continuous process)
  • Call and Recruit the potential candidates, and perform brief initial phone screens with interested candidates. This is the most significant portion of the search time-wise, and from here, we begin to provide you with status reports of the candidate pool, market information, and level of interest. We will not pull you into a bottomless expense loop; we want you to understand the realities of the search process and the market. (20-60+ hours; continuous).
  • Perform comprehensive (60-90 minutes) telephone Interviews, with each of the approved candidates, using pre-approved questions, to give you a full background and assessment of the final candidates. You will receive a typed (almost verbatim) transcription and a brief evaluation of each candidate. (continuous). This service is highly valued by our clients.
  • Lisa Locke will also interview the candidate for you, at your company site, with you in attendance, should you desire. This allows you full concentration of what the candidate is saying, without worrying about what you are going to ask next and how. You are invited to co-interview and be as involved as you wish.
  • Close the Deal. Thoroughly discuss compensation with the candidate, verify degrees, perform reference and background checks, present and negotiate the offer. (1-5 hours per candidate, depending on number of references)
  • Celebrate your new hire.

In order to honor your urgent needs, you should expect that we will work quickly, and will conduct an initial 30-60 hours of research/recruiting in the first few weeks, unless you instruct us to do otherwise. If there are reasons you wish to proceed more slowly, please let us know before the search begins.

Because we are here to meet YOUR needs, we want to make sure that we clearly understand your ultimate goals, and that we know what resources you have to put towards your search for candidates. If for any reason, you want only PART of the search completed, from the list of processes above, we are happy to perform any of these functions on an hourly basis, with no minimum.


Locke and KEY offers you unique alternative to traditional recruiting: more thorough transcribed interviewing, a lower risk, more flexible, higher value, consulting and recruiting service. Depending on the size of the project, Locke and KEY charges by the hour throughout the search for professional fees, plus a nominal hourly rate of $5 for telephone charges, and a placement fee at the end, if you hire a candidate involved from our search efforts.

Because retained firms charge a minimum set fee of $60-75,000 per search, (and only help you with executive level searches), many organizations such as yours often have few choices in obtaining solid recruiting consulting services. We offer a more affordable alternative, which gives you the opportunity to control costs, and use only what you need, and pay as you go.

No firm can promise to fill your position in a pre-specified number of hours, but we are motivated by our desire to build a long term consulting relationship with you, and to help you find qualified candidates as quickly as possible.

We require payment in advance, at 40 hour increments. The first payment will be required in order to begin the search. At any time, if you chose to cancel the search or put it on hold, you will be refunded any money that has not yet been billed.

Research: online databases/resume/job board searches, et al.

In addition to calling companies directly to recruit current employees, it is also practical to take advantage of the websites which offer the job postings and resume searches mentioned above (such as Monster/Dice, industry associations, etc). Each search is unique, depending on your needs, but typically it can cost up to $1000-1200 (a one- time fee for you) to post the position and/or search the resume database.

Terms of engagement and expected hours:

We work closely with you throughout the recruiting and consulting process, to keep the fees reasonable. Although some searches may close in as little as sixty hours, some searches may take over one hundred and fifty hours, depending on how difficult the market is, or how specific the requirements are, or how particular you are in finding a match. No search firm can make promises ahead of time, as to whether the available candidates might be interested in, or qualified for, your position. This is why we consider ourselves recruiting consultants. Our process and our research is our deliverable. We will keep you abreast of the search along the way, with details of the market, names and status of candidates, hours billed, and we will work together with you to take the most efficient route possible to making a hire. Because much of the initial work involves research before we ever pick up the telephone to call a candidate, we will consult with you to make sure we are searching the best places to find you the best candidate.

Our Guarantee:

We also guarantee our work. If the employee whom you hire through Locke and KEY leaves your firm within one year of hire, for any reason, we will conduct the search again, on an hourly basis, but you will not be charged another placement fee. Thank you very much. We look forward to serving you.