Methodology and Process

We receive high accolades from our clients.  The reasons we receive this positive feedback and produce great outcomes are rather simple. There are a few things we do that are uniquely different than other firms in the search industry.

We do not rely on a database to find candidates for clients. Your search requirements are unique to you. Your culture at is unique. Your strategic projects and initiatives are unique, specific to your system and evolving. Consequently, that requires intentional research and candidate targeting/engagement specifically for you. A hypothetical example… perhaps one of the areas of expertise you might be seeking in your next CEO is someone who has deep understanding of how to systemically deploy analytics for strategic decision making at a high level. This will require employing targeted research to identify large and complex organizations that are excelling in the use of data analytics and the leadership that has led the charge organizationally.  Not a generalized slate of candidates extracted from a database. Candidates that we will develop for you are likely happy, not looking and fully engaged in their work. These are the people we seek with near exclusivity. We do not have a “bench” of usual suspects to roll into the candidate pool on searches that we lead. Ever.

We purposefully keep the number of clients we serve low. Why is this important to you? There’s a simple equation and it is as follows: the more clients a search firm has, the fewer exceptional candidates they can produce. That is because a firm cannot recruit from their clients. If a search firm is serving 40% of the organizations where your next leader is working, that means the nanosecond you engage them, you have eliminated 40% of the potential candidate pool. By keeping our client base small and serving only 4% of target worthy higher education organizations, we have access to nearly the complete array of candidates in the marketplace. Since access to candidates is the oxygen you require from your search firm… would you rather have 60% lung capacity or 96%. We will help you breathe easy.

While our team is fully engaged throughout the entire process, we are a bit fanatical about how it begins as that sets the tone and tenor for the entire engagement. This will include spending sufficient time with the key stakeholders to truly understanding the successful candidate phenotype. Of course, through our experience with searches, we know what higher ed leaders do in general terms. But what do you want your next leader to accomplish? How will you know they have been successful after their first 12, 24, 36 months in the role? Is there an appetite for non-traditional candidates in the mix and from what background(s)? What perspectives would be a value-add to the organization and position? Are there issues and items that will require the skills and style to push over the finish line? What strategic initiatives are being prosecuted now and what new initiatives would you like to see explored? Diving deep at the onset of the search is critical to a great outcome and we do that very well.

Team Approach

At Anthem Executive, we take a team approach to our searches.  You do not just get a primary search consultant or two assigned to your search, you get the benefit of our entire team of executive search professionals at your service who serve in the background to ensure that your search receives the attention it deserves.

We approach this issue differently. Think of your search as an international commercial flight. The reason that there are at least two and on some transoceanic flights, four flight officers is to ensure safety and continuity throughout the journey. Any one of these aviators can fly the aircraft and land it safely. So too with our team. Once your search journey is underway, there will always be two, and more often than not, three in the cockpit. That will ensure a safe trip with minimal turbulence that gets the you to the destination smoothly and on time.

Additionally, we will not change the team as some firms do. We are all there from takeoff to landing.

Diversity and Inclusion: A top Initiative in Every Search

It’s difficult to deliver a diverse candidate slate of qualified candidates. However, we do. Simply including candidates from various underrepresented groups to “hit” a number is a disingenuous and unfair practice in which we do not participate. It’s unfair to you and to the candidate(s) to include those who have little to no chance at being viewed as viable for the role just to be able to say… “we provided a diverse slate.” The way we ensure a diverse candidate mix is to be intentional about targeting diversity candidates who have had successes in their previous and current roles and who do fit the phenotype profile we seek on your behalf. We are expert at generating candidate curiosity about an opportunity and consequently we are able to engage with those who are happy, hitting their objectives and under no dark clouds in their current role. These are the diversity candidates you will see from Anthem Executive.

Metrics of Success

  • +97% Access to Top Candidates. We purposely concentrate our practice on a select group of strategic clients to dramatically minimize “off limits/non-compete” issues. Anthem delivers greater access to rare, high-caliber leaders, in contrast to other firms who are in many cases hands-off to top tier candidates they have already placed within a client organization and cannot touch. With our unique Portfolio Approach to the marketplace, we intentionally choose to represent no more than 3% of organizations in your industry; conversely, we are then able to provide our select clients 97% access to the best of the best.
  • High % Diversity Hires. Our team includes ethnic/gender diversity and multi-industry cross-pollination of experience, and 60.8% of our searches result in placement of females and/or people or color.
  • Exceptional “Stick Rate”. Within higher education, 94% of our firm’s placements remain in the same role for three years or more.

For Those New to the Search Process

From our experience over thirty years in the search industry, many hiring executives and/or search committees with whom we have interacted have been comprised of first-time participants, and many times the hiring manger and/or search chair is a “rookie” to the executive search process, even within the context of an executive search. Because of this frequent dynamic of little to no experience in an executive search process, our approach is very much an educational and mentoring approach. Essentially, every step of the process “Methodology” is in fact a learning and training opportunity involving training the Hiring Manager, the Search Chair, Committee Members, Board Directors, the System President/Chancellor, and other key stakeholders in the process. Because we have sat in key leadership positions and presided over hundreds of search processes, the expertise our team brings to the client experience is priceless.

Candidate Assessment Tools

With our firm’s skill in attracting top national candidates to engage them in conversation, and in combination with the use of Anthem Executive’s candidate assessment tools, prospective candidates can be accurately assessed for desired technical skill sets, soft skills and motivations, and the organization’s key stakeholders and search committee members will be fully equipped and well prepared to select those candidates who are most viable and best “fit” the criteria for the role.

Our clients and search committee members frequently comment that our tools:

  • Allow the search committee to truly compare and contrast one candidate against another
  • Provide information that a resume cannot, such as insight into the candidate’s thought processes, flow of logic, and communication skills
  • Provides valuable documentation to validate a hiring decision
  • Allows every committee member to have an equal voice in the assessment process by evaluating each candidate based on elements of the Search Criteria.
  • Assists the committee in determining those candidates who best fit the criteria for the role as well as the culture of the organization, and who are most suitable for advancement to the next phase in the hiring process.
  • Provides the format for an apolitical process by which all candidates can be truly compared and contrasted.

Candidate Management and Engagement

As former executives, we have been a client of many search firms, have participated as a candidate ourselves in numerous searches, and experienced first-hand the impact of excessively long and frustrating searches, and infrequent and impersonal interactions.

Now as executive search leaders, we have translated our experience into a proven model of success. Our executive backgrounds and national network of trusted colleagues give us unique insights and an edge in understanding the viewpoint of candidates, and treating them with professionalism and respect throughout the process.

Our team members remain in close communication with all candidates, especially those who rise to the top as viable contenders for a job. Since we recruit and engage exclusively with passive candidates who are employed, happy where they are, and “not looking”, these candidates are more likely to resist initial efforts to bring them into a process of due diligence, and even when they declare themselves as candidates, they remain busy bringing value to their current clients, so there is hard work involved on our part in maintaining their interest and engaging them through every phase.

One of the secrets of our proven candidate engagement process is the toolkit we have developed and utilize in the assessment process, tools that are employed at various junctures to gather more information and data from the candidate, and as they progress deeper into the process, involving their spouse/family/partner as well. These built-in touchpoints, as well as keeping candidates apprised of search progress via phone, email and text, have proven to be successful time and time again over our consultant’s 80+ years of combined client service.

Off Limits: Why Institutions Experience Failed Searches

The fundamental caveat in the search industry is that a search firm does not recruit away from its clients.

Simply defined, “off limits” means that some of the largest search firms have too many clients and too many intertwined relationships, and, therefore, too many formal and informal “off-limits” situations that preclude them from going after the full range of top talent in the market.

To bring this closer to home for your institution, the search firm who has done the most president searches, or has the longest list of clients in your industry sector, effectively blocks you, the client, from the most talent within their long list of clients.

Many client enterprises have expressed to us their dissatisfaction with the search firms they had previously hired. We hear consistently from Trustees, Search Committee Chairs and organizations who have been using the “broken executive search firm model”. This resounding theme is heard across industries and in many organizations.

“Off-limits” can make the difference between having a candidate pool filled with aspirational candidates, as opposed to qualified, successful individuals currently sitting in the role you are recruiting for.

The solution to the “off limits” issue is Anthem Executive’s distinctive Portfolio Approach to the marketplace, in which we intentionally choose to represent no more than 3% of institutions in higher education; conversely, we are then able to provide our select clients 97% access to the best candidates.

We also limit the number of similar concurrent searches in a particular role and industry so that we can provide the absolute best selection options to clients.

The Solution to the Off-Limits Problem: The Selective Engagement Approach

The solution to the “off limits” issue is Anthem Executive’s distinctive Selective Engagement Approach to the marketplace, in which we intentionally choose to represent no more than 3% of institutions in higher education; conversely, we are then able to provide our select clients 97% access to the best candidates.

We also limit the number of similar concurrent searches in a particular role and industry so that we can provide the absolute best selection options to clients.

Performance Guarantees

Anthem Executive extends behind our placements with replacement guarantees.


With Anthem Executive , there are distinct advantages!