Executive search, How do executive recruiters find candidates?  

Filing vacant positions for junior staff in firms is often done through applications from persons who fulfil the requirements of qualifications and experience that the firm requires, and as listed in their advertisements in various media. When companies are looking to hire senior executives, they are looking for the best candidates who have proven performance records, besides qualification and experience, and this requires conducting detailed searches for such candidates. This is why most firms leave such work to be carried out by specialized executive recruiters whose job would be to go out and find the best candidate for a job.

These firms rarely run ads, but will have researchers who will go specifically looking for potential candidates who are already holding jobs similar to that required by the recruiting firm, and often in the same industry. They can also look for candidates from beyond the specific industry but who they feel have transferable skills that can be of great help to the firm needing such executives. These firms also maintain databases of skilled executives looking for better opportunities, and who have registered their interest with them, often while still remaining firmly in jobs. They can do this without having to worry about any fees or charges, as executive recruiters derive their income from charging fees from the firm they are recruiting for, and not from the candidates. These can be quite high and as much as a third of the yearly compensation that is being given to to the recruited candidate.

Many of these search firms for executive recruitment are engaged for a fixed period of up to four months, during which they are expected to come up with suitable candidates for the position that needs to be filled. At times they may be paid a retainer for this period, but further contracts can depend to a great extent on the success they have from a given assignment. Other firms seek such executive recruitment assignments only on a results basis, and will be paid, only when they come up with suitable candidates that the client firms finally engage. This is more common for mid-level executives, where often the pool of likely candidates is much larger.

Executive recruiters will fill posts for all management functions right from financial, sales, marketing, production and others, though some of them may specialize in a particular filed or in a particular industry. They work nationally and often internationally, as this then gives them a much wider base of both executives for recruitment and also more firms that may require their services.

Executive recruiters keep a close look on social media and other industry and professional bodies that have the required information on the working and skills of executives that may make for suitable candidates that other firms may require to hire. When they are given an assignment, they will look at the information that they have on the right candidates, and can even approach such suitable persons directly, even if they have never registered with them and have not indicated their availability for a job.

Social media like Linkedin have made it much easier for executive recruiters to find and identify potential candidates for the jobs that they have been asked to find candidates for. These social media encourage people using them to freely indicate their skills, experience and even particular assignments they have undertaken that highlights their abilities. While this is meant to be shared with their peers, this makes for a good source of information for recruiters. Executives themselves have realized that optimizing their profile on social media, gives them a greater and wider scope to market and sell their own expertise to interested firms.