Understanding Off-Limits Restrictions: Questions Companies Must Ask Before Signing on the Dotted Line

by David Nosal, Managing Partner (August 2013)

Executive search firms generally adhere to the off-limits principle of not recruiting candidates from a client organization for at least one year after executing a C-level search assignment for the company in question. Search firms first introduced this policy not only to ease clients’ hesitation around welcoming third-party consultants into the inner workings—and sometimes chaos—of their organizations, but also and perhaps more importantly to reassure clients that the search consultants wouldn’t poach key executives that they might get to know in the course of a search assignment. Originally geared towards protecting clients’ interests, off-limits restrictions today have a very different effect in the largest search firms unless they are skirted around, manipulated, or worse yet, concealed entirely.

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