Executive searches are conducted differently than other recruiting efforts. This is because executive searches are highly specialized, and do not typically generate the same amount or type of applicants that other positions would. There may only be a handful of people in the entire world who could fill some executive positions, and finding enough of them to interview is the job of an executive search firm.
There’s no getting away from research as part of executive recruiting. Before contacting or interviewing a candidate for an executive position, recruiters need to know who they are, what they’ve done in the past, and what they might be able to do for the company looking to fill the position. Without this information, an interviewer will be flying blind, and a recruiter has not done their due diligence in preparing the hiring team for the interview.
Companies rely on executive search firms to conduct the research that will lead to a successful hire because they don’t have the expertise to do this research themselves. Even if a company does have some contacts that can lead to a quality candidate for the position, executive search firms must still research the candidate to be sure that it’s a good match for the company and that the qualifications check out.
Research is likely to be a major, time-consuming part of any recruiter’s day, or it may be something that an intern or assistant is tasked with doing in a larger executive search firm. Some larger firms even have a research team that handles this aspect of the process. However research is handled, it is highly important to the executive search process.