Types of Executive Search

Get the right firm to handle your Executive Search. Find the right leader to drive your business. 

It’s that simple. But what does the ‘right firm’ mean?  

Thanks to google, you’ll be given lots of Executive Search options, everything from a contingent recruiter to an executive search firm or even a boutique consultancy. Ultimately sounding like they do the same thing – find talent.  

They do; however, they will operate on various role levels and service levels.  

This blog breaks down a diverse range of executive search firms and highlights how we are different at Innovex and strive to go that extra mile to help you identify which company will best fit your organisation’s head-hunting needs. 

Type 1: Retained Executive Search 


Let’s break it down, what is an executive search firm?

In a nutshell, Retained Executive Search Firms are head-hunters exclusively responsible for hiring a CEO, C-level executives, and leadership teams for their clients. 

Executive search consultants specialise in specific sectors because they can provide higher-level expertise and deliver the candidate needed to grow a business.

How does the process of an executive search firm work?

The process for an executive search firm is extremely proactive. Firms will collaborate with their clients to establish the ideal values, capabilities and specialist experience they are seeking for their next leader. These recruiters will work exclusively, so they will be the only firm responsible for sourcing an organisation’s next candidate.

Innovex Executive Search Firm takes this one step further by keeping you informed and on track 24/7 with our Executive Search platform and regular catch-up meetings providing candid feedback regarding the search process.

As part of the Innovex process, the highest performing candidates within a company’s specialised industry get approached for the role. We do the heavy lifting, engaging and interviewing, then shortlist all high-profile prospective contenders for you, saving you time and, therefore, money.

Click here for a full rundown on the Innovex Executive Search Process 

The use of working with a Retained Executive Search Firm.


Retained search firms, otherwise known as retained head-hunters, require regular payments for each part of the search process. Innovex 12-step executive search process requires three instalments; an engagement fee, a shortlist fee and a Placement fee.  

This structure is designed to give founders and CEOs reassurance that Innovex delivers on their search. 



What is contingent executive search?


You may not have heard the term Contingent Executive Search before. But some that might be more familiar are ‘hiring agencies’ or a ‘recruitment consultancy’.  


Contingency consulting firms are agencies that companies work with through a contract, which is on a success only basis.


How does the contingent executive search process work? 

These recruitment agencies will only get paid once they have secured a candidate in a role for a client.

The approach to executive search for a contingency agency is reactive. Generally, contingency agencies will wait for a candidate to apply for a role or seek candidates actively looking for a new position.  

Due to no upfront payment, clients have no control over the activities recruiters in this agency undertake to find candidates, ultimately affecting the number and quality of candidates they will submit to you.  



Retained search vs Contingent search firms – What’s the difference?


From our first two blog sections, you may already be able to see some established differences in Retained and Contingent search firms.  

Below, we have broken down these key differences to help identify what qualities each type of agency can offer you for your executive search journey. 

-  The payment structures

Contingent agencies work on a ‘no-win, no fee’ structure, so they will focus on finding candidates that ‘fit the bill’. They prioritise the projects where they know they can find the right one quickly. 

Retained Search Firms have a regular fee for each milestone of the search process. To reassure the client that the search is being taken care of to a high standard.  

Innovex is contractually bound to a process to gain a successful hire. We see things through no matter how tough it gets. 


Your workload 

The approach of Contingent Agencies means you will have to use multiple agencies for your executive search. Using multiple agencies will require various communication paths, filling your time and workload.

With Innovex, your search is exclusively in our hands. Once we have had an initial meeting to debrief your requirements, we will take over the whole search process and give you a weekly progress report so you are kept up to date with your search.
We handle the leadership search. You focus on your business. 

-   The commitment 

With a Contingent Search Firm, there is no commitment to one recruiter. But that also means they have no obligation to you. These recruiters generally work on 20- 30 projects at one time.  So there is no guarantee your search will be their primary focus.  

In comparison, Retained Executive Recruiters have an exclusive commitment with contractual guarantees in finding successful candidates, no matter how tough it gets. Because of this, they tend to be more realistic about working capacity and how many projects they can handle at one time.

So, their clients can rely on them to get the job done.

-   Expertise 

High street recruiters may have some capabilities that will allow them to handle your executive search. However, the majority will only specialise in sourcing operational roles. 

Whereas a Retained head-hunter of C-suite and Executive talent will have an established methodology, reputation, and experience in finding key business players. 

-  Engagement   


Contingency-based agencies send candidates to clients on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis and leave it up to them to do most of the digging to see if they are the right fit.   

Searching for the next CEO or C-suite executive for a company needs to be taken seriously. Retained executive search firms will work one on one to engage with candidates to make sure they meet the vision and job specifications of the company. So, the current organisation’s leaders don’t have to.

Giving weekly updates on our progress to our clients on how the investigation is going is the Innovex Executive Search way. 


Choosing the right type of executive search firm 

Innovex global executive search is breaking down barriers of your regular search firm by providing a specialist approach to sourcing global leading talent within the SaaS, FinTech, Cyber Security and Technology industries.

Unlike your regular recruitment firms dealing with operational roles, Innovex provides you with confidence that the team is guaranteed to find the right Executive fit for your business through their consistent communication, payment structure, and specialist knowledge.

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