When a gap appears in your leadership or senior-level teams, you’ll need to hire a talented and capable individual, one that can help your business to meet its strategic goals and enhance your competitive advantage. However, identifying the right professional can be a difficult challenge, especially when the role you’re hiring for requires a specific skill set that’s hard to come by. To help you make the right strategic hire for your current need, executive search could be one of the smartest investments your business can make.
In this guide to executive search, we tell you everything you need to know about this specialised, strategic type of recruitment that focuses on finding the strongest candidates with particular skill sets who are traditionally hard to find. We’ll discuss the benefits of executive search and guide you through the process to offer you a flavour of how it works. We’ll also help you to identify when it’s time to work with an executive search company.
Executive search: everything you need to know
A lot of people think that executive search and recruitment agencies perform the same services, when in fact, executive search recruitment is quite different from your average hiring process. To kick start your understanding of executive search, we’ve answered some of the most common questions on this topic.
What is executive search?
Executive search is a specialised type of recruitment that aims to identify, attract and recruit highly-skilled professionals of a high calibre. Typically, this term describes the hiring of difficult to source talent for the most senior roles within specialist areas - usually talented individuals that possess a rare set of skills. Generally, executive search seeks out candidates who can provide an immediate and long term impact on a business once hired.
Why is executive search important?
Finding in-demand candidates for specific roles is an intense process in any industry. That’s where executive search comes in, forming a vital process in the growth of an organisation and the highly-skilled people it hires. In any business, employees are the defining factor in what the business can or will achieve. A good hire can propel a business forward, whereas a bad hire can sometimes hinder development.
What is an executive search firm?
An executive search firm is a recruitment company - or a third-party firm - that is generally hired to find and recruit talented candidates for pivotal roles at a senior level. They’re different from regular recruitment agencies in both their approach to sourcing qualified candidates and how closely they work with their clients.
- At Carrot Executive, we work in partnership with our clients to map out, engage and secure senior-level or difficult to source talent. We’re firmly positioned to help you make key resourcing decisions in the markets you operate in. We take on the burden for you and provide the opportunity for you to get your hire right the first time. Discover our executive search solutions here.
Why do companies work with executive search firms?
Recruiting top-performing talent can be labour intensive and some positions are too important not to invest in. Employers turn to executive search firms because the position for which they’re hiring is critical within the business; they don’t have the knowledge, time or resources to give such a task their full attention; or hiring the wrong person could have a significant impact and they want to minimise the risk of a bad hire.
What is retained executive search?
Retained executive search refers to the process of sourcing senior talent through extensive research, following best practices to identify all of the potential candidates suitable for an opportunity. An executive search firm can directly approach senior talent who are currently employed, or target companies to persuade candidates who are not actively looking for a new role. A good executive search consultant will work very closely with their clients and are engaged in all aspects of the talent attraction and hiring process.
What is the difference between retained and contingency searches?
Both retained and contingency searches aim to hire people into either permanent or temporary positions. However, there are some key differences to note when deciding if you should take the retained or contingency approach.
Consultants perform contingency searches for free until they place the candidate into the vacant position. There are no upfront costs, and you pay the agency a predetermined fee, usually a percentage of the candidate’s annual salary, at the point your new hire starts. If the agency fails to place a successful candidate with you, then you’re not required to pay a fee.
When opting for a retained approach, you enter an agreement with your executive search firm. You’ll pay a deposit prior to commencement, followed by two or three further instalments at key phases of the project. Retained search can take 6 - 12 weeks because the approach entails a considerably more in-depth and consultative process. One key advantage of this method is that your recruitment partner is far more dedicated to your assignment and will persevere further than in a contingent recruitment setting.
- At Carrot Executive, we’ve refined our executive search solutions to be as transparent as possible. Our retained pricing model works on a fixed fee approach - our calculation of fees is based on time spent, not as a percentage of salary. This means our fee stays the same, regardless of the salary offered to the eventual hire. This approach can sometimes provide better value, is a more honest reflection of the actual work involved, and allows the client to budget confidently from the start.