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July 2018

What's an Executive Search Firm and How do They Work?

What's an Executive Search Firm and How do They Work?

Have you ever been contacted about a job opening and wondered “how on earth did they find out about me?” The answer to that question may not be as creepy or random as you think.

If you were contacted, you were likely found by an executive search firm. Executive search firms are groups of recruiters who look for high-level candidates for top positions within companies. Want to know a little bit more about them? Here’s what you should know.

How Firms Find Their Talent

Agents from executive search firms have a wide range of personal contacts in specific industries. They work with those contacts and know a lot about a certain field that helps them find exactly who they are looking for. When they receive a group of potential candidates, they will sort through them and conduct thorough interviews. They may ask the candidate about their job history and maybe even how they would like to work for a gender diverse company. McKinsey’s research proves that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. After the interviews, they will select a few people to bring to their clients.

Different Types of Search Firms

Under the branch of the “executive search firm” term are two different types of recruiters. The first type is a contingent recruiter. These recruiters are paid after they successfully complete a search. They rely on their contacts heavily and obtain many resumes, which is why many clients choose to work with them.

Retained recruiters are the second type and are paid for the search process. These recruiters are able to build strong and long-lasting business relationships with their clients. They have more access to senior-level candidates, making them perfect for any job search.

Why Would a Company Use an Executive Search Firm?

If a company chooses to use a search firm it’s because their internal resources are pretty much non-existent. The search firms have contacts that most existing companies wouldn’t have access to, so the clients use the firms to get in touch with those people.

If you’re looking to use an executive search firm, make sure you choose one that has years of experience placing clients with potential candidates. The firms with more career-filling success will likely have more contacts and can be of better use to you and your company.