What Does an Executive Search Firm Do?

Executive search firms are specialist management consultants, sometimes referred to as executive recruitment agencies which help organisations find and hire the best senior-level executives, including C-suite positions (like CEO’s, COO’s and CFO’s). But what does an executive firm do?

Executive search differs from recruitment as they go beyond simply sourcing candidates actively looking for a job and start by getting to know the organisation and its culture, preparing job descriptions and mapping talent, before moving on to identify candidates, screen prospects, and then introduce shortlisted candidates to the organisation. Often they complete the search by helping with onboarding and advising on executive compensation and benefits.

They can also play a vital role in succession planning for senior leadership roles, both in large businesses (where market sensitivity exists) as well as in smaller businesses.

Executive Search – The Key Responsibilities

  • Understand the organisation and its needs: Executive search firms take the time to learn about the organisation’s culture, values, and goals. This helps them to better understand the type of executive who would be the best fit.
  • Develop a job description and Success Profile: Executive search firms work with the organisation to develop a job description that clearly outlines the responsibilities and qualifications for the position. They also develop a Success Profile, which is a document that describes the ideal candidate in terms of their skills, experience, and personal qualities.
  • Identify and screen candidates: Executive search firms use a variety of methods to identify potential candidates, through in-depth research of markets to create a talent map. This may also include networking, existing candidate data, and data from advertising campaigns. They then screen the candidates to ensure that they meet the qualifications for the position before conducting comprehensive assessments and occupational personality profiles.
  • Introduce candidates to the organisation: Unlike traditional recruiters, the client will not be simply sent CV’s to pick from and the selection to shortlist is often exclusively conducted by the search firm. Executive search firms will typically submit a detailed shortlist report (sometimes a long-list ahead of this, depending on the agreed touch points). The search firm will arrange final client interviews and assessments, provide feedback to the candidates, and negotiate salaries and benefits. Often the consultants will support the structure and format of the client’s assessment process to ensure that they optimise this depending on the role.

Executive search firms play an important role in helping companies find and hire the best senior-level leaders. They have a deep understanding of the executive market, how to assess leaders, and can access a pool of candidates that may not be available to the organisation on its own. They also have the experience and expertise to help organisations make the best hiring decisions and use tools which are often not available to non-specialists.

Why work with an executive search firm?

There are many benefits to working with an executive search firm, including:

  • Access to a wider pool of candidates: Executive search firms have access to a wider pool of candidates than most organisations on their own, principally through the extensive research conducted prior to the search. This is also because they have a network of contacts in the executive market and they use a variety of methods to identify potential candidates.
  • Confidential platform: They also offer a confidential and highly professional platform for potential candidates to have discussions without leaders in competitor organisations being forced to contact internal team members.
  • Expertise in executive recruitment: Executive search firms have the expertise and experience to help make the best hiring decisions. They understand the executive market and they know what it takes to be successful in a senior-level role.
  • Objectivity: Executive search firms provide objective and unbiased feedback on candidates. This can help to avoid making emotional decisions that could lead to bad hires.
  • Time-saving: Executive search firms can save a lot of time and resources by taking care of the entire recruitment process, allowing internal recruitment teams to focus on less strategically significant mass hiring requirements across the rest of the business.

If you are looking to hire a senior-level executive, working with an executive search firm can be a wise investment. They can help you to find the best candidate for the job and save you time and resources in the process.

CJPI Insights

This post has been published by the CJPI Insights Editorial Team, compiling the best insights and research from our experts.

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