Executive search industry generates a modest $9 billion in revenue industry, which has grown at 3 percent cumulative annual growth rate. This industry is projected to reach $153 billion in market size, according to Statista report. 

As shocking as it may sound, this growth is almost invisible. Executive search firms mostly operate in stealth mode, yet growing at a fast pace. 

World renowned executive search firms – Korn Ferry, Spencer Stuart, etc. occupy major market share in this industry. How are these executive search firms different from regular recruitment firms?

If you’re a recruiter, at least once you may have wondered how executive search firms find great candidates. If you did, the answer is – through extensive research.

Unlike mainstream recruitments, where job boards are the primary channel to source candidates, executive recruiters don’t rely on them. Instead, they use their already formed network of executives. In fact, most executive search posting don’t go on job boards, including LinkedIn. A leading executive recruiter, says, “many executive level candidates aren’t on LinkedIn or any form of social media.” 

Executives are one of the busiest people, invested in making impact. Most of them aren’t found making social updates or changing their profile pictures. 

Building Strategy

Most executive search firms start by building a strategy. They map out target companies within the industry for which they are looking executives. Then, go after shortlisted candidates.

Doing Research

Before going after a candidate, executive recruiters perform a thorough check about the shortlisted candidates’ credibility and work ethics. This starts with asking executives in the recruiter’s network. For instance, they could ask one of their connections, who is the best chief marketing officer they know. This network of executives is built over several years of working in the industry, and continuous networking. Every time, an executive position needs to be filled, recruiters use this network to source candidates.

There on, executive recruiters approach candidates who have been thoroughly referenced and vetted.

In a nutshell, recruiters at executive research firms create a robust strategy, research, vet candidates, and finally approach candidates. Internet searches are part of the whole process, and at times LinkedIn complements these searches. However, recruiters at executive firms don’t rely on it.

Executive recruiting firms use a meticulous approach and recruiters follow a systemic procedure. This requires recruiters to be excellent at communication, and time management.  Further, conducting due diligence is also recruiters’ responsibility.  Using this approach reduces fall out and increases the chances of success.

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