Benefits of Hiring an Executive Recruiter

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The executive team of a business can make or break it, so finding the right personnel for this team is crucial. With the help of an executive recruiter individual or firm, you can have an external team hire someone who is diligent, efficient, and brings new, innovative ideas to the table. In this article, we’ll explain why you should hire professional executive search recruiters and conserve your company’s time and resources. 

What Is an Executive Recruiter? 

An executive recruiter is a professional or firm who finds and recruits candidates to fill executive positions within your company. They will make a detailed list of your requirements, do research to identify potential candidates, perform screening interviews before presenting appropriate candidates, and provide downstream services, such as salary or contract negotiation or post-offer reference checks. 

Difference Between Executive Headhunter and Executive Recruiter

While we often use the two interchangeably, there are some key differences. Executive headhunters target groups of qualified candidates by gathering a list of candidates. In contrast, executive recruiters find specific candidates that are right for the position. For example, if you want to hire a chief technology officer, they’ll search for someone with the same role in a different company. 

Recruiters recruit from candidates who have no plans to leave their current role, while headhunters seek candidates looking for new roles, such as those who are planning or have left their organizations. Recruiters are more involved in hiring as they actively screen and interview candidates, while headhunters direct candidates toward companies with open positions. 

How Do Executive Recruiters Find Candidates? 

Recruiters find candidates on:

  • LinkedIn
  • By asking for referrals
  • Job boards,
  • Talking with professional networks
  • Online job postings
  • Direct resume submission 
  • Career fairs
  • Other social media services, like Instagram or Facebook

They often use social recruiting, where they scrutinize candidate’s social media activity and social networks to rule them out or qualify them, or they may search for relevant keywords and phrases on LinkedIn to recruit them. 

Criteria Executive Recruiters Use to Evaluate Candidates

When candidates send resumes, it is added to their database; the recruiter will search keywords using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) when they have client roles to fulfill. If the resume matches the keywords, they will be called and reviewed for fit. Recruiters look for these things in a candidate: 

  • Information that supports their qualifications
  • Reasons not to hire them
  • What other people are saying or posting about the candidate
  • The professionalism of their online persona
  • If you can align yourself with the mission, vision, and purpose of the company and communicate that passion to your team
  • Their Integrity and if they can create a trusting and safe environment for their team while acting in the organization’s best interest
  • A risk-taking mindset to keep the organization relevant to both employees and customers 

Jobs That Executive Recruiters Recruit For

Here are a few examples of positions that they recruit for. 

Managing Director

Managing directors, with an average salary of $100,784 per year, are executives who work with CEOs to implement their organization’s strategy or offer financial advice to the board of directors. Other responsibilities include analyzing investment opportunities, writing business plans, and evaluating opportunities for cost savings. 

Director of Operations

A director of operations earns up to $84,753 per year, and is in charge of an organization’s processes and procedures. They discuss strategies with the COO (chief operations officer) or CEO (chief executive officer), monitor workflows and systems, and oversee performance metrics. 

Chief Executive Officer

Chief executive officers have an average salary of $115,626 per year and are mostly the highest-ranking executives of an organization. They establish the business’s mission, vision, and strategy and how to frame a culture that supports these, representing the company at different work events and conferences and working with other C-suite executives to ensure the team executes the strategy within the given budget. 

Chief Technology Officer

With an average salary of $127,491 per year, Chief Technology Officers oversee a company’s technology processes and infrastructure. They evaluate technological opportunities, such as new software, to review performance metrics or determine a new technical strategy. C-Tech Officers also control the annual capital and operating budgets for specialized operations, staffing, and purchasing. 

Vice President

A business’s Vice President oversees specific business functions, for example, marketing, sales, finance, or operations (in this case, they would be Vice president of Operations). They can earn as much as $252, 780 annually. 

Benefits of Hiring an Executive Recruiter

When it comes to the executive management team of an organization, you can’t just pick any candidate to fill in the big shoes. The hiring process has to be meticulous and void of errors; otherwise, the cost of only one failed executive hire is around $2.7 million

Due to the hefty investment in hiring an executive, consider hiring a due diligence company, such as Diligence International Group, who can do background checks for you. Let’s explore the numerous benefits of hiring executive search recruiters for your business. 

Thorough and Objective Candidate Screening

When internal candidates are also considered in the executive pool, biases can be a massive problem during recruitment. Acting as an impartial third party, an executive search firm can present a perspective focused on a candidate’s merit and achievements rather than connections or how long they’ve been working for the business. 

Additionally, these recruiters possess the marketing resources and advanced tech tools required to pinpoint suitable candidates from a diverse pool, further eliminating perceived bias related to gender, race, age, or ethnicity. They also have strong links in upper-level professional networks because of their experience, giving them information on a large number of candidates. This means they have better chances of finding the best executive for you.

Saves Time and Money 

Finding the perfect executive fit is time-consuming and challenging. Getting in touch with and attracting top-notch individuals requires strong, foolproof marketing and convincing strategies, demanding the time and efforts of multiple recruiters. 

In-house searchers who do not have much experience with recruiting executives. They’re likely to hunt for candidates inefficiently, exacerbating the risk of hiring the wrong person for the job. A person whose visions don’t align with the company and who enforces rules without consulting the staff can cultivate a chaotic environment, reducing productivity and employee morale. Executive recruiter professionals will save you time and money, as enlisting their help decreases turnover risks and other repercussions. 

Confidentiality and Privacy

Many times, the executive candidates you’re considering hiring are already working at other companies, maybe even an organization you compete with. You can also be in situations where you’re looking to replace individuals with subpar performance.

Dealing with either of the two situations can put you in a tough spot, requiring utmost discretion. An executive recruiter is responsible for guaranteeing that the executive position news hunt does not circulate within the business world and stays confidential. This brings along the advantage of a smooth transition, with the significant business relationships of an organization remaining under wraps.

How to Find the Right Executive Recruiter

Now that we know the multiple benefits of hiring an executive recruiter, let’s look at the steps you should take as an executive and as a hiring firm:

Be Visible and Attend Conferences

Being professionally visible increases the chances of recruiters finding you, as well as recognizing your brand name and accepting your calls and emails when you reach out. You can gain visibility by attending industry conferences, participating as a panelist or presenter, and keeping your LinkedIn up to date. Recruiters often attend conferences, giving you the golden opportunity to network, so bring your business cards and make sure to get theirs.

Target the Right Recruiters 

Large executive search firms cover multiple industries, but most firms tend to specialize by focusing on a single niche or industry. Don’t waste your time by putting effort into firms that don’t recruit in your field.

Consider plugging “executive recruiters” along with your profession or industry in the search engine to find the right recruiters. For specific localities, you can search “executive recruiters boutique Oregon.” 

Select the Right Executive Search Firm

Selecting the right firm is the most critical decision. You should look at the following factors: 

  • The consultant should have thorough functional knowledge and understanding of the industry. You should schedule a call and ask about their backgrounds to learn more.
  • Consider the firm’s reputation. Are they good at their job, helpful, and easy to work with, and what was the previous client’s experience with them? Do reference checking and speak with organizations that have worked previously with them about processes, outcomes, skills, and communication. 
  • They should have knowledge and experience finding suitable executive-level candidates for different positions. For example, if you want a CFO in financial service, the firm should have financial service and CFO functional expertise. 
  • Consider factors like what the firm is known for, what the consultants are like, and their success rate. Look at online reviews for a thorough understanding. 
  • The assessment methodology is of utmost importance because multi-measure assessments reduce bias, mitigate the risk of wrong hires, and assist with onboarding. Ask questions such as, what type of assessments do you use? Are your consultants certified to use these tools? Have you incorporated multiple assessment types, such as psychometric assessment? 
  • They should have a trusted advisor relationship, such as by staying in touch, sharing insight into market trends and executive talent, and more. 
  • Understand the firm’s search process and whether they will be a “credible ambassador” for your company, meaning they can positively or negatively affect your branding.
  • What is their “guarantee period,” i.e., do they offer a replacement guarantee if a new hire quits immediately? 
  • Ask about their fees and policy on expense reimbursement so it meets your budget.

Cons of Hiring an Executive Recruiter 

While an executive recruiter is a great way to attract senior professionals critical to business operations, you can still face drawbacks, such as 

  • Higher costs and fees than standard recruiters 
  • Rigid fee or process structures that don’t suit your business needs
  • The discovery process can take time as firms look into your organizational structure, performance goals, competitive landscape, culture, long-term vision, and more. However, it ensures they don’t do midshires or have delays later.

When Does Your Company Not Need An Executive Recruiter

Your company might not need an executive recruiter in the following cases: 

  • Your company has limited financial resources
  • Your internal recruiters or HR team have sufficient experience, or if you already have an existing pool of capable candidates
  • If you need an executive role filled quickly and can’t wait for an extensive search
  • If you prefer to have complete control over the hiring process
  • You have small-scale hiring needs, meaning your company only occasionally needs to fill roles. 


You may be hesitant to get an executive recruiter on board when hiring the finest leading talent. Although you can surely achieve this task by yourself, why go through all that hassle when executive recruiter firms have trained professionals who can make the whole process much smoother and easier for you. If you wish to secure the right person for an administrative position, don’t be afraid to outsource the job to someone who knows what they’re doing.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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