Executive Search: What it is and How it can Help Your Business

A recent survey in which 1,400 executives were interviewed showed that one-third of executives believe that, performance issues aside, the top factor leading to a failed hire is a poor skills match.

Basically, it doesn’t matter how skilled someone is in their current place of employment. If they’re placed in a position they just aren’t fit for, it won’t work out for them or their employer.

Finding top talent can be difficult and matching said talent to appropriate positions can be even harder. That’s why it’s so important to hire top-notch executive search firms and career placement agencies to find your employees.

What is Executive Search?

Executive search (informally known as head-hunting) is a specialized talent acquisition service that helps organizations find highly-qualified candidates for executive positions. Executive search agents may also look for and recruit other highly-specialized positions for which there’s high competition, such as senior data analysts and computer programmers.

This method of talent acquisition usually involves commissioning a third-party, generally an executive search firm, to investigate the availability of qualified candidates currently working for competing companies. Once a shortlist of qualifying candidates is identified, the executive search firm or consultant may act as an intermediary in offering the individuals employment for the company. The firm may also perform screening and conduct benefits negotiations on their client’s behalf.

How Executive Search Can Help

Executive search firms take advantage of their broad range of personal contacts within an industry, as well as in-depth industry knowledge, to find ideal candidates for their clients. They will also help companies draft accurate and compelling job descriptions to draw in a wide pool of qualifying candidates. After detailed interviews, they will selectively present the candidates they find to their clients.

Many corporations employ executive search firms because they lack the network, resources, or knowhow to do their own talent recruiting. Some companies even use these firms to indirectly “steal” from their competitors, since going through a headhunting firm can get them access to talent they wouldn’t find on their own.

Different Types of Executive Search Firms

The relationship that exists between a firm and its clients can be either retained or contingent.

Retained firms are paid throughout the search process. Clients typically opt for retained recruiters when they need to find candidates for high-level positions. Clients of retained firms tend to develop strong, long-term business relationships over the course of their partnership.

On the other hand, contingent firms are paid after the successful completion of a search. They rely heavily upon their wide array of impressive contacts. Because each contingent firm has its own list of industry contacts, companies may work with multiple firms at the same time when they have an important role to fill.

If you want to use an executive search firm for your own candidate search, you should find one with experience finding talent for positions like the ones you have open. It’s important that you partner with a firm who has had success working within your own industry.

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