The competition for qualified leaders is fierce, and the best candidates could be across town or across the globe. Executive search consultants know the terrain. Our members have access worldwide—across industries as well as geographies—and we have the know-how to help clients think in new ways about how to identify, recruit and retain top leaders. Search is what we do: we know the business, and we take the time to know your business.
Executive search consulting is a specialized form of management consulting, which frequently provides significant benefits beyond search including assessing an organization and its culture, integrating a new leader for optimum success and advising executive leadership and boards. A contingent recruiter, on the other hand, is focused on identifying potential candidates and helping a client narrow the candidate pool.
A business can take one of three general approaches to hiring executive level personnel: executive search consulting, contingent recruiters, and in-house recruiting.
Executive SearchFirms such as AESC members are specialized management consultants retained on an exclusive basis by clients in an advisory capacity. An executive search consulting firm typically partners with a client to identify, assess and select the very best possible candidate. To be sure a candidate is fully vetted, these firms employ highly sophisticated methodologies including competency-based interviewing, 360 degree referencing and due diligence processes that may be augmented by psychometric testing and broader assessments. Their success is defined by the long-term commitment and impact of the person hired, therefore they are motivated to help secure a lasting, successful executive hire for their client.Contingent RecruitersContingent recruiters present a pool of candidates that fit certain criteria. A contingent recruiter generally works the front-end of the process, leaving the assessment and selection work to the client. They seek to place as many candidates as possible in the shortest possible time and tend to work with many assignments concurrently. If a particular assignment is not getting traction, contingent recruiters have little incentive to continue. Contingent recruiters are most often used for mid-level positions or positions where there are a large number of qualified candidates. They tend to focus on candidates actively looking for a new role, and positions that have much lower risk associated with a failed placement.In-House RecruitingLarger organizations in particular are likely to have significant in-house recruiting departments. An in-house team has many solid tools available, including firm-wide skills inventories, access to traditional recruiting tools and a network of potential candidates. Generally, in-house recruiting departments are best resourced to focus on mid- and low- level placements and will work directly with an executive search partner for the third party expertise they bring to fill their organization’s most senior-level executive and Board positions.
Learn more about How Executive Search Differs from Contingent Recruiters