23 June 2022 | by Louise Archer

Executive search training is essential for recruiters who want to work in partnership with their clients, get paid for all the work they do, improve work/life balance and reach true advisor status.  

 Misconceptions of Executive Search Training 

There are many misconceptions of what executive search training is and the type of recruiters which would benefit from it. When we think about executive search companies, our initial thoughts can be of SHREK firms and the traditional training they offer to their employees. But where these executive search companies can fall short is where contingent recruiters trained in executive search can come out on top.  

From our experience working for SHREK firms and feedback from clients who have previously partnered with SHREK firms, they can fall short in: 

  • Completion rates 
  • Client satisfaction 
  • Transparency 
  • Commitment to deliver  

And we believe all the points above are pretty crucial in delivering a flawless retained search service. 

There is, always was and always will be demand for executive search recruiters that deliver on the assignment, update and work with the client on the search process and offer advice in terms of talent mapping and pipelining.  

What Is Executive Search?  

Executive search is a recruitment process that delivers where contingent fails. This is irrespective of geography, industry, or seniority.  

When a role is easy to fill, the contingent model can often work but whenever the assignment is for a more difficult role (concerning a niche skillset, tough location, confidential search, multiple hires, etc.) we need to apply a more rigorous and thorough process. Executive search is exactly that.  

The terms ‘headhunting’, ‘retained search’ and ‘executive search’ are often used interchangeably. Whilst it can be confusing, they all ultimately allude to the same process of searching for candidates for senior, niche or difficult-to-fill hires. 

Key differences between executive search and contingent recruitment  

Contingent Recruitment  Executive Search  
Contingent recruiters work on a no-win, no-fee basis. With no commitment on either side, often in conjunction with other suppliers.   Retained recruiters work in committed partnership, with financial commitment from the client. Allowing them to commit in return to working with them until they reach a result.
Due to working at risk and subsequently needing to work on anywhere between 5-15 roles at a given time, clients are typically only presented with active candidates who make up 30% of the talent pool.   The financial commitment from the client allows the consultant to complete a rigorous and thorough search targeting not only the active talent pool but all the passive talent pool too.  
Clients are presented with the most relevant active candidates that can be found at that time. These candidates are often also interviewing with competitors.  Clients get access to the best talent. Both active and passive with headhunted candidates often being seen ahead of the competition. Clients are confident that they are making their hire from all the talent available to them at that given time.  

Demand for Executive Search Solutions  

The current market sees an imbalance: more companies are hiring than there are candidates. Whilst in the past, contingent may have been suffice, this can be a rare occurrence in the current market. There simply isn’t the volume of active, relevant candidates. The demand far outweighs the supply.  

When this wasn’t the case, SHREK firms were able to monopolise the market and create a gap between contingent and retained hires.  

Clients who are frustrated with the contingent model will be open to hearing other solutions that will better solve their problems. This gives you the perfect opportunity to pitch a retained search solution to ensure that your client secure the best candidate available to them in the current market.  

Now is the time to work with clients on a retained basis, engage in higher level search processes and change the approach to candidate assessments and shortlisting.

Our Executive Search Training  

We train contingent recruiters to sell and deliver Retained search solutions to new and existing clients. We’ve worked for executive search firms, we’ve worked contingently, and we’ve pitched and delivered retainers whilst working for traditionally contingent recruitment agencies.  

The best part is – in this market, you’ve probably already engaged in executive search. Now it’s time to get paid for it.  

Talk to us about our training.  

This is a free, no-obligation call. We’ll talk about your business and the challenges you’re currently facing.  

Then, if we think it’s suitable for you, we’ll talk you through the training programme. If we don’t think it’s right for you, we’ll be honest about that.  

So, worst case scenario, we’ll have a chat about your business, and we’ll advise, refer or share resources that are relevant to you.  

Louise Archer

Louise Archer

Louise has worked on the front-line of recruitment for twenty years. Having been a contingent recruiter before transitioning to retained she understands the struggles that consultants and companies face, operating on a contingent basis. Louise started training Retained Search four years ago, and since then has taught hundreds of recruiters to move to Retained.

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