Confidentiality in Executive Search

Confidentiality – a Must in Executive Search


It is often said that ‘Information is Power’. In our business, nothing is more valuable to our clients and candidates than quality information that is accurate and 100% confidential.

Our company subscribes to a code of ethics that states that the relationships to clients and candidates should be characterized by honesty, objectivity, accuracy and respect for confidentiality.

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Confidentiality towards clients

By its very nature, an executive search requires the client-company to divulge highly sensitive information about its organization. The search consultant must treat any and all information received with the utmost confidentiality. At the same time, the consultant cannot conduct an effective search without making some information available to potential candidates. To protect the interests of the client-company, however, the search consultant should guarantee that s/he would:

  • Use confidential client information only for the purposes of conducting an assignment.
  • Disclose client information only to others within the search firm (who may be supporting the consultant on this assignment) or potential candidates who have a need to know the information.
  • Never use confidential information for personal gain or provide that information to third parties for their personal gain.
  • Caution the candidate to also safeguard the client’s confidentiality.

Confidentiality towards candidates

When a professional becomes an executive search candidate, s/he puts her/himself at a certain amount of risk with the current employer. For that reason, s/he is entitled to the highest levels of confidentiality from the search firm and the client organization. To safeguard the confidentiality of the candidate, the search consultant should:

  • Following a meeting to discuss the candidacy of a potential candidate, obtain the authorization of the candidate before submitting her/his name and a report on her/him to the client organization.
  • Upon the request of the candidate, contact the candidate directly rather that through her/his assistant or anyone else in her/his current company.
  • Not contact references provided by the candidate without the candidate’s permission.
  • Not discuss a candidate’s potential candidacy with anyone outside the search firm, and ensure that all employees of the firm abide by the same rules.
  • Caution the client to also safeguard the candidate’s confidentiality.

Confidentiality, therefore, refers to an ethical principle associated with the Executive Search business.

We commit to the above and ask for the commitment of clients and candidates in respect to confidentiality. It is a matter of mutual respect, ethics, and professionalism.

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