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Executive search identifies, engages and secures top talent for unique and niche appointments, especially where the role is commercially sensitive or highly confidential. It has been described as headhunting for the modern age, leveraging niche industry knowledge and connections without the exclusivity and limitations of headhunting’s ‘old boys network’.

Less crucial roles are usually filled by two or three recruitment agencies competing with each other, sending the business the best matching CVs from known candidates in their databases. Only the successful agency gets paid, and consequently the investment in filling the role is limited, weighed against the risk the agency is exposed to.

Executive search on the other hand is a retained service. Consultant and client enter into a formal contract detailing the service to be delivered. A single retained consultant proposes candidates to the client. This has many advantages:

Premium service

Detailed contract

Unrivalled attention

The best candidates

  • The consultant has time to search for and engage with the best candidates for the role (many of whom will not be actively looking for a job or on a database).
  • This is a managed process with agreed timescales and pre-arranged interview dates ensuring a smooth candidate experience, and availability of key individuals at the business.
  • The consultant develops a closer relationship with the client and has excellent insight and access to their business.
  • There is absolute accountability for the consultant to deliver a successful campaign providing regular updates to client and candidates.

Executive search provides the most robust process for key appointments because of the time and care that consultants are able to invest in the assignment. Fees are higher for retained executive search and the level of service reflects this.

A client looking for a recruitment partner who will support their business strategy and engage the best global talent should consider a consultation with a retained executive search specialist.