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Glossary  Current Location:Home - Careers - Glossary

Launching into a new profession can often make you feel like an outsider. This glossary outlines a range of commonplace terms used in the executive search profession. While some vary between firms, much of the industry language is consistent throughout the world:

Executive Search
This is the process of finding suitable candidates for a particular vacancy within a company, firm or organization that has employed an executive search firm.

Researchers are employed by executive search firms to research and generate names to suit a particular search. Researchers work and liaise with an associate to develop this material and progress the executive search strategy.

Associates perform similar functions as search consultants but usually with less experience and seniority. They sometimes conduct research and work with candidates, but are typically on a career path that leads to the position of search consultant.

Search consultants manage searches and client relationships and develop new business. Consultants work closely with clients to define the position and its requirements.

Individuals within the professional world with which executive search firm’s converse to take advantage of their industry knowledge, position or contacts. Search firms look to engage with their sources to provide background information and potential prospects, but equally impart industry knowledge, compensation trends, etc. to their sources as a quid pro quo for this help.

Individuals that the executive search firm are considering presenting to their client as suitable prospects to fill the established position.

Often termed the hiring organization, clients are usually companies or organizations looking for suitable candidates to fill a vacant senior position within their internal structure.

The process (as part of an executive search strategy) whereby executive search firms seek suitable sources to further their knowledge base and generate a range of suitable prospects for future contact.

The methods used by executive search firms to assess the suitability of their sources and prospects in contributing to a successful executive search.

Key aspects of the agreement between a client and an executive search firm that must be fulfilled.

Contingency search firms are only paid if they successfully present a candidate that is hired by a hiring organization.

A retained executive search firm receives a fee after being contracted by a hiring organization to provide a range of candidates to fill a stated position. Typically part of the fee is paid up-front and the search firm plays a consultative role and partners with their client through to conclusion of the search strategy.

Hiring Organization
A company or organization that employs an executive search.

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