‘Executive Search’ – a credible recruitment strategy that should offer value for money

As a leading executive search firm in education, Prime wishes to provide some balance to the discussion around executive search work and costs.  So, what is it that we want to say?  Well, firstly, executive search is now well established in the public sector and increasingly schools.  It used to be the domain of the private sector where headhunting (as it is often referred to) is an established method of finding new talent.  Essentially the concept is the same but with different perceptions.   In the private sector it might just be a phone call to identify a few individuals followed by a coffee with the recruiter, then the prospective employer to see whether there is a fit.  At the cutting edge of big business, most hires are made on the basis of networking, or the use of the ‘black book’, ensuring a quick recruitment process.  Executive search has its own identity; one which distances and differentiates itself from the sometimes hard, cold and cut-throat world of headhunting.  It also has a more protracted timeline and a greater amount of assessment to qualify and verify the expertise of the candidate irrespective of their reputation.  The process is strongly aligned to scrutiny, transparency and probity around the use of public funds.

Secondly, executive search, contrary to a few recent press articles is not expensive when it provides ‘value for money'.  With some executive search fees for schools up to as much as £50,000 it’s no wonder that pricing is a big concern.  Fortunately, this is far from the norm, but it is worth considering some of the factors that weigh on the final cost.  For example, does the recruitment firm have a fixed fee or percentage of salary model?  Percentage fees can sometimes be very costly.  And is it an existing sector in their practice?  An existing practice would be an advantage in terms of the number of credible individuals they could immediately source.

Executive search should help to identify a suitably experienced field of candidates from which you can appoint and the costs should broadly be in line with industry norms, typically half the amount of the ones hitting the headlines.  In some cases, firms like ours have taken significant steps in securing even greater value for money for clients by offering to re-run the service without additional fees if a campaign fails first time.

Whatever your experience or if you are considering such a service for the first time, executive search is a robust method to both finding and assessing suitable candidates.  It can be very cost effective if the terms of engagement are right for the work being carried out.  In many cases it can be the better option for the quality of candidates it attracts. 

If you have any thoughts about this or any of our articles we would very much welcome your comments.

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‘Executive Search’ – a credible recruitment strategy that should offer value for money

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