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Executive search firms
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Executive search firms

While most firms have a human resources or personnel department which tackles all recruiting issues, other firms prefer to count on the professional service of recruiting companies. Still, if an organization is searching for its most important officers, like the CEO, CFO, etc., it may not be realistic to count on its own department. Sometimes only an executive search firm could handle the hard task of finding the perfect CEO or CFO in a shortly and first-class manner.

To be sure that everybody understands the meaning we put into the phrase “executive search”, we could also describe it with the more mundane word “headhunting”, or to put it another way: the process of recruiting qualified individuals for executive positions in an organization. It’s important to be noted that the executive search firms only identify and present the candidates that are suitable for the specific position. Thus the actual decision is being taken by the clients themselves. As HR professionals were able to see through the years, the executive search turns out to be a lucrative but though business. The competition in the sector is more than severe. Still, that can make clients happy as fierce competition always leads to better sector results and more qualitative products.

Evolution of executive search firms

Entering the business in 1953 Heidrick & Struggles was one of the first executive search firms in the USA. They started their business in Chicago, Illinois, but went international in a short period of time. The firm’s first international office opened doors in the United Kingdom in 1968. Today the company operates in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The company even became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Another industry leader is the worldwide known company Korn/Ferry. They started offering talent consulting services in 1969. Since then they have conducted more than 10 000 high-level searches. The firm has about 80 offices in 40 countries and thus serves big corporations all around the globe. Today the company’s representatives are constantly being invited to share their expert opinion within international forums on executive search and other superior hiring practices. Not long ago Korn/Ferry’s CEO Gary Burnison spoke at the World Business Forum 2011 – Inspiring Leaders event. The event is a highly respected platform for sharing ideas and trends that are shaping the future of the HR business.

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