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Modus Operandi

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Terms and Conditions

Modus Operandi

As a small firm, we are able to service our clients on a one to one basis taking responsibility for not only establishing and developing client relationships, but also for winning business and managing all aspects of an Assignment from proposal to completion.

Although 75% of the Assignments that we undertake are conducted on a Search basis, we are occasionally asked by clients to carry out Advertising Selection campaigns and therefore, in the breakdown of our modus operandi shown below, we have included the Advertising process.

The following information details the methods and processes ASASS would use to ensure timely and cost effective identification of quality candidates.


1) Proposal

All assignments carried out by A Steele Associates are conducted on the basis of the clients’ approval of our written proposal and our adherence to the strict guidelines laid down in our Code of Conduct. The proposal would contain the name of the Director who would lead the Assignment, our understanding of the role, recommended method of candidate identification, fee structure and proposed timescale.

2) Assignment Specification

At the start of an Assignment, we would draw up an Assignment Specification detailing the organisation, its market standing, how/why the requirement had arisen, the job specification, candidate specification and salary package. Once this document was approved by the Client, who may have supplied the majority of the information themselves, it would be used as the source document throughout and would also be presented to shortlist candidates where appropriate.

3) Research and Identification of Candidate

Search: Each Assignment is treated totally separately and research is carried out on the basis of the specific client needs and job specification. A target list of companies would be drawn up by ourselves and passed to the client for amendment and approval.

Once that list had been approved, we would then commence the candidate targeting process, utilising all the research facilities available to us. We would endeavor to gain as full a picture as possible of the identified candidates’ current position, hierarchical status, remuneration, etc. in order to assess their suitability before making any approaches.

Any relevant market information gathered during research would be passed on to the client. For example if it became clear that salary expectation was either greater or smaller than the specified salary, that the client’s standing in the marketplace was significantly different to that perceived by the client, or any other pertinent intelligence.

Approaches would then be made with the utmost discretion to preserve both client and candidate confidentiality. It is important at the approach stage to begin the process of selling the concept of the role and the organisation in order to bring the suitable candidate to sufficiently high a comfort level to proceed to the first interview stage.

Although we are fully committed to the Systematic approach, we do make full use of any database information or pertinent networking resources that are available to us, including names that clients may choose to pass on to us.

Advertising Selection: Having discussed the specific role with the client and gained a good understanding of the type of candidate sought, it is imperative to ensure, firstly, that the selected media are the most suitable and that the advertising copy is factual, informative and attractive.

We would recommend the media either broadsheet, trade press or web based, although we would take into consideration any strong views expressed by the client. We would also be responsible for writing the advertising copy, design of artwork and placing of advertising through our in-house facilities. The client would approve all media selection, copy and artwork at the various stages up to insertion.

Advertising response would then be screened and appropriate candidates invited to attend first interview.

From this point, i.e. post first interview, the process is the same for both Search and Advertising Selection, although it must be borne in mid that the level of interest and perception of the candidates will differ between those approached on a Search basis and those responding to an advertisement.

4) Shortlist

After having successfully completed the first interview process, we would, in most cases, conduct a second interview to further evaluate those individuals before drawing up a shortlist. That shortlist would comprise a realistic and manageable number of candidates and we would present a full CV and Consultant Assessment for each candidate including details of salary and full compensation and benefits package. We would take responsibility for setting up of interviews, collation of feedback from both client and candidates, assessment of interest levels etc.

We would be responsible for rejection of candidates at this stage, ensuring that they are handled professionally and tactfully, thus maintaining their goodwill and favourable impression of the client.

5) Completion

The completion process is deemed to commence when the preferred candidate has been identified, and finishes when a written offer is accepted. It is imperative to maintain open channels of communication between the parties concerned to ensure awareness of status at all times.


Our fee scales are geared at retainer and shortlist stages (where appropriate) on the estimated time and resources that we have to allocate in order to achieve our objective of providing the client with a list of suitable candidates that meet the agreed Assignment specification. Any work involved subsequently and, more importantly, any profit, is covered by the completion fee.

If a hiring is not made from the original shortlist, we would undertake to re-activate the process with no extra charge, providing that the Assignment brief remained unchanged and that the intent to make a hiring remained, thus giving a reasonable opportunity to complete the Assignment.

However, if, for reasons beyond our control, we were unable to complete the Assignment, we would, in the following circumstances, seek reasonable cover for our profit exposure:

If the Assignment brief changed to the extent that the original research became invalid
, we would seek a stage fee to reflect the work needed to bring the Assignment back up to speed. In certain cases, that stage fee may be discounted from the completion fee.

If the client terminated the Assignment at any time prior to completion because of a change of plan, policy, or mind, or the introduction of a third party candidate not interviewed by ourselves, we would reserve the right to minimise our business exposure by changing a termination or exit fee that would reflect all fees and expenses incurred up to that time plus at least 50% of any remaining proposed fees from that point to completion.

All fees are subject to variation from time to time to accommodate individual Client requirements although any such variation from the normal terms of business is only valid for the duration of the assignment to which it applies.