That is how much the global recruitment industry is worth*. Of that only £9bn is executive search**.
Despite the fact that executive search makes up just 2.5% of the recruitment market, executive search and contingent recruiting are often thought of interchangeably, when in reality, they are two entirely different services.
Contingent recruitment agencies are hired to present a pool of active applicants to their clients. At any one time only 5% of the potential candidate pool for executive roles are actively looking***. A further 95% are passive candidates that will move for the right opportunity. Executive search consultants are retained on an exclusive basis to research the entire market (not just the small segment of active candidates), personally interview and assess potential individuals and make a shortlist of recommendations based on a detailed client brief.
An executive search assignment most commonly requires a consultant to lead the project, interviewing and engaging with candidates, and a researcher to identify candidates that could potentially fit the brief.
In contrast, recruitment agencies will typically use one consultant to deliver, who is often more junior in experience than their executive search equivalent. A contingent recruitment agent often won’t interview candidates in person, leaving it to the client to fully assess the candidate.
The executive search business model relies on a partnership between the search firm and their clients in order to fully understand the requirements of the role. They then identify the most qualified candidates that fit with the client’s culture and have the right background and experience for the specific opportunity.
But, as the vast majority of the global recruitment market comes from recruitment agencies, it is obvious that not every recruitment need requires the help of a specialist executive search consultancy.
So when should you engage an executive search firm?
Executive search is most commonly used for senior executive roles, as most firms do not have the internal resources to recruit senior positions outside their network. An executive search firm with relationships across the industry will have the ability to reach out to the very best talent in the market.
2. Particularly difficult roles
Roles that require a very specific skill set can be problematic to fill. Even the most experienced hiring managers with extensive networks can struggle to fill niche vacancies. Occasionally you just won’t have the right contacts in the marketplace to extensively search for high-level talent.
If you are replacing a key director and don’t want word to get out, you need to be extremely sensitive when approaching candidates.
In this case it can be beneficial to distance yourself from the search by using a third party.
Executive search firms can access candidates without revealing any sensitive company information. On many occasions we have asked candidates to sign non-disclosure agreements before imparting any information about the client. In some rare cases, we have conducted an entire search without discussing the company name at all until the candidates were chosen for interview.
4. Targeting competitors
The transport and infrastructure industries are pretty tight knit and the chances are when you are searching for the best talent, you will be looking to recruit from your competitors.
Receiving an application for a role from someone at your number one competitor is one thing, but actively poaching them can create friction. Especially if the person you targeted isn’t interested in making a move.
Having an intermediary to make the approaches removes this sensitivity. If you have any particular individuals in mind for the role then discuss that with your executive search consultant and have them make contact on your behalf.
5. Urgent timescales
Conducting a search for high-level positions is time consuming. If you want to find the best person for the job then a thorough search needs to be conducted and it needs to be done well. While your internal recruiting or HR function may be pressed with various priorities, your executive search partner has been retained to fill a specific role within timescales agreed by you.
For many roles, your in-house recruitment team or contingent recruitment agencies are more than capable of sourcing candidates. Occasionally, you may find you have a key senior executive position that requires a more in-depth approach and someone who can go the extra mile to fill it. To discuss your executive search requirements with us click HERE.
****LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, 2016.