Atkinson Stuart's Management Consultants, in order to perform their duties responsibly, are guided by the following ethical principles which reflect fundamental values of our retained executive search consulting profession.
Our Management Consultants will:
Atkinson Stuart Management Consultants are partners with their clients in a consultative process aimed at selecting organizational leaders. The success of these partnerships depends on excellence in client service. These shortcuts to the guidelines describe the processes and professional practices that contribute to our outstanding client service:
Outstanding client service begins with a full understanding of the client organisation, its business needs and the position to be filled. An Atkinson Stuart Management Consultant should:
- only accept those assignments that he/she is qualified to undertake on the basis of the consultant's knowledge of the client's needs and the ability to perform the specific assignment.
- only accept those assignments that will not adversely affect the consultants's objectivity, loyalty and integrity.
- disclose to present and prospective clients limitations arising through service to other clients that may affect the consultant's ability to perform the search assignment.
- Base acceptances an an understanding that, among other things, defines the scope and character of the services to be provided; the identity of the client organization; the period, if any, during which the Consultant will not recruit from the defined client organization; and the fees and expenses to be charged for the services rendered.
- Discuss with the client when advertising is required by law or is a recommended strategy for the particular search assignment.
Performing Client Assignments
Consultants should serve their clients with integrity and objectivity, making every effort to conduct search consulting activities an the basis of impartial consideration of relevant facts. Specifically, an Atkinson Stuart Management Consultant should:
- Conduct an appropriate search for qualified candidates.
- Advise the client promptly, and offer alternative courses of action if it becomes apparent that no qualified candidates can be presented, or that the length of the search will differ considerably from that originally specified.
- Present information about the client, the position, and the candidate honestly and factually, and include reservations that are pertinent and important to an assignment.
- Withdraw from the assignment if he/she determines that a client has characterized its organization falsely or misled candidates, provided the situation is not rectified.
- Thoroughly evaluate potential candidates, including:
- in-depth interviews in person or by video conferencing,
- verification of credentials, and
- careful assessment of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses, before presenting candidates for client interviews.
- Advise the client if advertising becomes necessary.
- Avoid the voluntary presentation of resumes in the absence of an existing client relationship.
Preserving the confidentiality of client information
Atkinson Stuart Management Consultants should use their best efforts to protect confidential information concerning their clients. Specifically, a Consultant should:
- Use such confidential Information received from clients only for purposes of conducting the assignment.
- Disclose such confidential client information only to those individuals within the firm or to potential candidates who haue a need to know the information.
- Not use such confidential Information for personal gain, nor provide inside information to third parties for their personal gain.
Avoiding conflicts of interest
Atkinson Stuart Management Consultants should protect their integrity, objectivity and loyalty by avoiding conflicts of interest with their clients. For example, a Consultant should:
- Refuse or withdraw from an assignment upon learning of conditions that impair the Consultant's ability to perform services properly, including conflicts of interest that may arise during the assignment (unless all affected parties expressly agree to waive the conflict).
- Inform clients of business or personal relationships with candidates that might affect or appear to affect the Consultant's objectivity in conducting the assignment.
- Not accept payment for assisting an individual in securing employment.
- Avoid knowingly presenting simultaneously, without disclosure to clients, the same candidate to more than one client.
Although a Consultant's primary relationship is with the client, our firm seeks also to establish professional relationships with candidates. These relationships should be characterized by honesty, objectivity, accuracy and respect for confidentiality. In building such relationships, a Consultant should:
- Provide candidates with relevant and accurate information about the client organization and the position.
- Present to clients accurate and relevant information about candidates, and otherwise maintain the confidentiality of information provided by prospective and actual candidates.
- Encourage candidates to provide accurate information about their qualifications. Upon learning that a candidate has misled the client or our firm regarding his or her qualifications, the Consultant should reject the candidate, unless the client, candidate and we agree that the candidacy should continue following disclosure of the facts.
- Advise prospects and candidates of the status and disposition of their candidacies in a timely fashion.
- Consider whether an individual's permission is needed before sharing his or her background information with a client and secure permission as necessary (permission should always be obtained if an executive's CV is submitted).
- Advise candidates of any limitations on our firm's ability to advance them as candidates in future searches.