Top Executive Search Firms


What is Executive Search?

Executive search – also generally called headhunting – is a specialized recruitment service, which companies use to fill senior / executive positions. In contrast to general headhunting executive search usually starts at a higher salary level (like 120.000 USD, but depending on the location) and more senior hires like C-level or board members.

Top Executive Search Firms
Top Executive Search Firms

What is an Executive Search Firm?

An executive search firm is a type of professional service firm that specializes in recruiting executives and other senior personnel for their client companies in various industries. Executive search agents/professionals typically have a wide range of personal contacts in their industry or field of specialty; detailed, specific knowledge of the area; and typically operate at the most senior level of executive positions. Executive search professionals are also involved throughout the hiring process, conducting detailed interviews and presenting candidates to clients selectively, when they feel the candidate meets all stated requirements and would fit into the culture of the hiring firm. Executive search firms typically have long-lasting relationships with clients spanning many years, and in such cases the suitability of candidates is paramount. It is also important that such firms operate with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality.

How does it work?

The process is quite straight forward and usually also very similar throughout all the search firms.

  1. Hire an executive search firm
  2. Talk about the role that has to be filled
  3. The search firm or consultant is then researching target companies or generally fitting candidates
  4. The executive search firm then presenting a shortlist of qualified candidates who match the client’s requirements
  5. The customer or the firm then reaches out to the candidates to see if they might be interested taking that new role
  6. There might also be an initial screening or assessment of the candidate involved
  7. Before being hired there are the negotiations on salary and benefits
  8. The candidate signs the prepared contract adjusted to the negotiations
  9. The candidate starts the job and the executive search company is compensated unless the candidate leaves within a certain timeframe which then leads to another round

What are the top executive search firms?

Many companies claim to be the best executive search firms. Prestige is a big factor in the industry and so there is a fierce fight for the top positions in the industry. There are many firms that specialize so there are also many lists of the best firms per industry or segment, but here we want to have a more general look.
According to Forbes these are the 10 best executive search companies:

  1. Korn Ferry
  2. Heidrick & Struggles
  3. Spencer Stuart
  4. Russell Reynolds Associates
  5. Robert Half
  6. Egon Zehnder International
  7. Diversified Search
  8. Lucas Group
  9. Boyden
  10. N2GROWTH

How do I pick the right firm for me?

There are plenty of companies out there who want to do business with you and help you with your search. So picking the right one is not always easy. What helps is having good references in your trusted network circle. So maybe you want to ask around in your own network who has any experience with executive search firms.

Other than that you can also go with the rankings you can find online. But you should always recheck if the companies really fit your needs. And of course it also helps to speak to more than just one company just to be able to compare them and make a good pick.

How much does a headhunter cost?

The price of an executive search firm depends much on where you are, which firm it is and the position you are looking to fill. But generally speaking a headhunter costs about 25-30% of the yearly salary of the candidate.

Is executive search a good career?

Why should you work as headhunter or executive search consultant? Well, it very much depends on what you want to archive in your career. Executive search consultants are usually people who like to network and meet new people and are generally good at identifying a matching candidate for a customer. It also is a sales job as you “sell” your candidate to your customer and of course you also have to acquire your customer first.

There are plenty fo examples of very successful executive search consultants. If you are especially gifted as an entrepreneur you even want to start your own headhunting company at some point in time and become one of the top executive search firms on the planet.

Executive Search Berlin

Berlin is the fast growing technology heart of Germany. Many startups are founded here but also traditional companies open their offices to speed up their digital transformation. Are you looking for executive search company in Berlin? Get in contact with us.