Executive recruitment is an organized effort by a company to find quality candidates to fill roles within senior executive positions. The process can be undertaken by an internal recruitment committee or an external executive search company. Internal recruitment is arguably the more cost-efficient of the two, but using a third-party search company negates the need for an organization to build an in-house committee.
An external executive search company works for a client company and actively seeks out potential candidates for a specific job. The search is not aimed at placing out-of-work executive looking for a new job, but on identifying qualified candidates and approaching them with a job offer. Often times, this involves persuading candidates to leave his or her current job to be employed by the client company. Executive search companies have broad networks of professional contacts and inside sources to keep them informed of an array of qualified senior executives.
With the rise of the Internet, many companies have found it substantially less expensive (read: up to 75 percent cheaper) and more efficient to create in-house executive search committees to find the best executive matches. Through the utilization of white-collar social media networks and professional public databases, finding prospective candidates is now much simpler. Those same social media tools also help recruiters build relationships with candidates, and continue those professional relationships into the long-term. Additionally, internal recruiters know their companies better than any third-party and develop within a company's culture.
The method used is dependent upon each individual company. Keeping an external recruitment firm on retainer gives a company access to large professional networks of potential candidates without having to research and maintain those networks itself. Developing an internal committee lowers the cost of the executive recruitment process and ensures that the recruiters are well versed in company culture and values.
Executive Search Professionals
Executive search recruiters are professionals specializing in the recruitment of executive personnel such as senior managers, and other high-level corporate officers. These individuals typically specialize in one or more industries and have an extensive list of contacts and a detailed knowledge of the field. These specialized agents are often directly involved in the entire hiring process including selecting and presenting candidates to client companies and conducting interviews.
Recruiters of this type are frequently employed by talent search agencies that have developed long-term relationships with client companies and are familiar with the desired qualities each client seeks in its high-level employees. These search firms are usually held on retainer so that they are immediately available to carry out a specific search for a senior executive candidate. Recruitment firms work directly for their client organizations, not job candidates.
Retained agents work as management consultants and often provide their clients with rumors and business insights gained from industry contacts in regards to potential candidate matches employed by competitors. Executive poaching is a common method for securing upper-management talent while also putting competition at a disadvantage. These methods are legal and handled with a high degree of professionalism by the recruiters.
Not only can executive recruiters become specialized in a particular niche market, some become experts in a specific geographical region or city, while others may have a global focus and recruit candidates from all over the world. Similarly, recruiters may choose to specialize in employee types such as IT professionals, sales managers or senior executives.