How does executive search work?

executive search consultants

The special feature of an executive search is the personalized, professional delimitation of the circle of candidates.

Afterwards, contact is established, usually by telephone. An ordinary job advertisement can also be part of an executive search, but it is usually not.

This is how executive search works:

1. Needs analysis

In consultation with the client, the personnel consultancy first creates the applicant profile. Who are we looking for? What skills does he or she need? Under what conditions does an applicant fit into the corporate culture?

Numerous factors can play a role here: the network of the potential candidate of choice, his (international) experience, the focus of his previous work. What successes does he have? And what salary is planned for the position?

It is important that the desired profile is as clear as possible at the end. Headhunters can now use this as a basis for their search.

2. Identification

The pot is on the stove, now only the matching lids have to be found. The headhunter uses internal databases, his own networks and probably also business networks such as Xing or Linkedin.

The difficulty lies in identifying candidates that fit perfectly in national or foreign competitors, for example. These candidates are now contacted actively but discreetly. Are you generally willing to change jobs? If not, under what circumstances would you be?

Because this point is important: Candidates who make the final selection must always be prepared to take up the advertised position.

3. Pre-selection

The large pool is now used to preselect the candidates who come closest to the desired profile and who would also bite. The recruitment agency invites these people to an initial interview, possibly postponing a second or third interview.

Personal suitability, willingness to change, salary expectations everything comes to the table. Now would also be the right time for a background and reference check.

4. Presentation

After the interviews, the list shrinks to a few candidates and includes all important information about the individual persons.

The recruiters now present this list with the presumably best candidates to the commissioning company.

5. Ruling

Now the company and the aspirants are brought together. This should be done at eye level, because what needs to be internalized is that the candidate is not an applicant!

In the best case, both parties approach each other and agree. Depending on the client’s wishes, the headhunters may still be active at this point, accompanying the salary negotiations and moderating. The Executive Search is successful as soon as the vacancy is filled with an adequate candidate.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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