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What Is An Executive Search Firm?

Nov 3, 2007
What is an executive search firm? An executive search firm is a professional company, online or otherwise, that attracts, hires and develops people as leaders for the purpose of holding responsible positions in organizations and companies, specifically for positions where the job entails planning and taking action on behalf of the employer. The firm is hired by an organization or company, not the potential employment candidate.

The executive search company headhunts for candidates based on identification of them as being suitable for such a potential position, qualified to do that position and able to provide a suitably aligned verbal or written presentation regarding their suitability for the position in question.

One of the most important tasks that an executive search entails is in assessing the fit aspect of the potential candidate to a specific position. It is important that this search is done efficiently, saves time and can identify key aspects of suitability such as qualifications, experience and the ability to lead.

The firm will usually contact possible candidates via telephone, which may have resulted from recommendations given to the firm by a third party within their firm or another agency. The best firms aim to provide hard work in their tasks of finding and updating their potential contact lists in order to begin quickly on any given new search and be able to promptly line up possible candidates. Also, the firm will use research techniques to find candidates who may also be employed by other companies in the field and position that their client has available. In fact, these firms have found that the best referrals have come to them through people who themselves could be potential candidates for the same position, but for personal or other reasons may not presently be seeking further employment.

Executive search firms follow similar etiquette when it comes to phone calls to potential candidates in that they have a great deal of respect and will note the name of the person for future searches, if that person can recommend someone else for the position. In the end, the result can be that in future searches the firm will turn back to that same referee and end up with that person becoming a candidate for another position.

Most search firms use retained and contingent searches. Contingent searches are defined as a fee based search earned only the locating and presentation of a potential candidate to a client, or headhunting. The search is not about finding the exact fit, but more about finding a broad range of candidates for the client to choose from. This may or may not be contractual in nature and fees can be based on the first year's salary that a hired candidate earns. Also, the client is not bound to one search executive search firm, allowing the client more flexibility, choice of candidates and ultimately more work in choosing the right one for their job position. It should be noted that with executive positions, this is not considered to be the ideal form of search. Retained searches are defined as a more structured and contracted search for specific candidates that fit the criteria for a particular job position, as defined by the client. Clients are usually bound by contract to use only the executive search firm that they have assigned to the task, and the firm bases their search on clearly defined job styles, job experiences and skill sets. Generally speaking, this type of search generates repeat contracts from each client.

Executive search firms are specifically designed to help varied employers or clients look for high level management or above job candidates that suit the specific needs of their job positions. Searches can involve networking with people already in similar positions for potential leads and the majority of these are done on retainment, allowing for clearly defined job attributes versus the more random headhunting.
About the Author
Greg Heslin is a best selling career advice and "street smart" tips author on how to survive in the 21st Century workplace.To learn more about FREE cutting edge career tips and techniques, you can visit his web site at http://www.My-New-Career.com
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