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How Executive Search Works

The process of executive search is very different to types of recruitment seen at lower levels of an organization.  Retained search firms are typically used for this process. Two of our group companies – Dillistone Systems and GatedTalent support the process of retained executive search, working with headhunting firms all over the world.

Our FileFinder CRM system is used by search firms small and large, while our GatedTalent platform is used by over 85,000 senior level executives to share private career and aspirational data with these recruiters.

Our group provides extensive market intelligence on topics associated with executive search and this insight brings together some of our key ideas.

How Executive Search Firms Look for Candidates

Looking for executive candidates is quite different to recruiting for junior positions. While the latter involves finding candidates via job boards, the former relies on executive search services to go out and look for the best candidates for the position. The process of finding the right executive candidate is different because executive position ads are rare. On the contrary, headhunters look for the best person for the job using various techniques. In some circumstances, the firm may target and approach potential candidates holding a similar position in the same industry – in other cases, the recruiter might seek to find executives in entirely different sectors who have appropriate transferable skills.

The executive perspective – how to find a headhunter

If you are an executive looking to find a job, you may be considering to find a headhunter to help in your job search. While finding a headhunter can help you in landing a new job, you need to do it the right way to achieve the best results. Your goal should be to make yourself more visible rather than literally approaching a headhunter. Executive appoints are usually filled in confidentiality, which means that your best shot relies on how visible you are to recruiters.

How do headhunters help in the executive hiring process?

The role of headhunters is to find people who are qualified to fill an open position in the hiring organization. This means that a headhunter can place you in an open position only if you know them or they find you during candidate search. If you need to increase your likelihood to be headhunted, then you need to improve your executive brand by optimizing your LinkedIn profile to fit with a position you may want to be headhunted for.

Should an executive pay an executive search firm?

Given the high potential of landing a job through a headhunter, many people wonder whether they can expediate the process by paying an executive search firm. Well, the simple answer to this question is NO! This is because of the simple fact that the hiring company is the one that pays the headhunter. This means that the hiring organization expects a highly qualified candidate for the position, and the headhunter will not forward your name if you do not qualify. To increase your chances of being headhunted, optimize your Linked and GatedTalent profiles around the kind of positions you hope to be considered for.

How to Find Executives Jobs

Executive jobs are often associated with the phrases “Not Actively Looking” and “The Hidden Job Market.” The phrases are because executive jobs are rarely advertised and it is usually to find out when there is an opening. This begs the question of how does one find an executive job. Since such positions cannot be found on job boards, increased visibility is essential for executives. You can increase your offline visibility through networking and increase your canes for recommendations. On the other hand, increasing your online visibility increases your chances of being approached for open positions.

Interview Questions for Executive Positions

The journey to landing an executive position does not end with being discovered. You will also need to answer certain interview questions to determine your suitability. Recruiters usually avoid predictable questions when interviewing for an executive position. The questions can be centered around details of the hiring company, personal values, perceptions, culture, and motivation. It is best to be prepared and come up with appropriate answers for all possible questions.

Staying up to date with content on executive search

Our team blogs constantly on topics associated with executive search.  To stay up to date, be sure to follow GatedTalent on our social media accounts - LinkedinTwitter and Facebook