Executive Search definition

Executive search refers to locating and recruiting individuals for senior boardroom positions. The term is colloquially known as headhunting although nowadays the term headhunting often refers to any highly targeted recruitment campaign to attract one, talented candidate, regardless of the role's seniority.

Executive searches are commonly undertaken by specialist recruitment firms with boardroom access, although some executive positions will be taken by senior leaders looking for their first placement in the boardroom.

Potential candidates will be contacted directly and the approach is much more personal and in-depth than for lower-level positions. The recruitment company may conduct an interview of its own before the business meets and interviews the candidate, and may also start first-stage negotiations over remuneration and responsibilities.

The same recruitment process may also be utilised for highly specialised and technical positions where the right candidate is crucial, and the pool of potential candidates is limited.

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