Is executive search reserved for recruitment firms?

For many years, the concept of the executive search concept was reserved for specialized headhunters who mostly work in HR consulting companies. Recruiters who provide executive search services specialize in using direct methods to reach people holding high positions and, therefore, often with unique competencies. As part of executive search activities, candidates are searched for and contacted using the following methods:
  • contact via social networks, e.g. Linkedin, Xing, Facebook
  • direct phone call to the company
  • face-to-face meeting (e.g. at a conference)
  • contact through your own networking
Until now, it was believed that such activities are questionable from the point of view of business ethics, and for this reason employers used intermediaries – recruitment firms. With the spread of the Linkedin network, sourcing tools, applicant tracking systems (like Element), and the Internet, the know-how related to executive search activities has become generally available. Currently, executive search activities are carried out by recruitment companies and internal HR departments of employers alike. The use of direct and executive search activities by internal HR departments has become popular, in particular, in the IT industry. This is due to several reasons:
  • the significant increase in demand for candidates from this industry forced the search for new methods of acquiring candidates;
  • programmers and other candidates from the IT industry spend a lot of time on the Internet, often using the social networks Linkedin, Github or Stack Overflow, thanks to which the recruiter can relatively easily reach these candidates directly;
  • recruiters working in the IT industry are used to using IT tools supporting direct / executive search activities.
The ease of direct contact with employees of other companies via the Internet, in particular via the Linkedin portal, and the growing shortage of candidates, are in my opinion the most important reasons why direct and executive search have become methods used also by internal HR departments and have ceased to be the exclusive domain of recruitment firms.


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Maciej Michalewski

Maciej Michalewski

CEO @ Element. Recruitment Automation Software


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