In the world of recruiting, terminology is frequently confusing and misapplied. Anyone seeking a job needs to grasp the distinctions between different types of recruiting firms and how they operate. A lack of understanding can be a hindrance in the complex task of finding a new job. This article explains how the recruiting market, and particularly the executive search world, works and seeks to help executives in making their next career move.
Let’s start with some basic definitions.
Executive search firms are retained by corporate clients to find the most suitable candidate to fill a particular role on a fee basis. Search is typically used for senior-level jobs, for which there is a smaller pool of appropriate, high-level candidates who can be identified and targeted. A search firm aims to find the best candidates for a position, whether or not they are looking to make a career move. There are a number of major executive search firms that work internationally across different industry sectors. Smaller “boutique” firms operate within particular industries or functions.
Contingent recruiting refers to the method in which the fees are collected and charged by the recruiting firm—part, if not all, of recruiting firm’s fees are contingent upon the placement being made. In some cases, a contingency firm may not have the exclusive relationship with the client company. Corporate clients will use the services of one or more firms to find the best talent in the market available at that time. They tend to work on roles at the lower salary bands but can also focus on temporary or contract positions. The scope of the roles that recruiting firms deal with may range from secretarial positions to qualified accountants to sales and marketing professionals.
Online recruiting has proliferated in the past few years. Most of these sites aggregate jobs from a variety of sources, but few offer the right kind of opportunities for senior executives. Those sites that operate at the top end of the recruiting market should be able to offer a mixture of automation (online registration and profile updating) and personalization (regular newsletters, information on relevant new opportunities, etc.). Standards in e-recruiting vary enormously, so limiting your involvement to firms with a sound reputation in a traditional environment is advised.
The distinctions between the different kinds of businesses in recruiting may not always be represented clearly to a potential candidate. It is important at the outset to establish the type of firm and its relationship with the client company to be certain about how the firm is going to use any personal information that you supply.
Why companies use executive search firms
Companies use executive search firms for various reasons. Usually, a key factor will be the firm’s or the consultant’s knowledge of, and/or access to, a particular sector or candidate population. Most search firms are organized by practice and function, with experts in particular industries and /or specific functions such as finance or human resources. Other considerations may include the need for absolute discretion, a desire for an external perspective, and time constraints.
The search begins with the client briefing its chosen search firm, which is expected to provide professional advice regarding the role and the availability of suitable candidates. It is typical for the search firm to present a list of high-quality candidates within the first few weeks of the engagement to the client. This list is then further refined by the consultant after interviews with candidates, following which the consultant presents the finalists to the client. The client will then select candidates from the list for interviews. Clients expect regular communication and updates from the firm to ensure the search is progressing at the necessary pace.
CNA Executive Search, recruiters for social media jobs across the globe
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