Guide to Working With an Executive Search Firm


Guide to Working With an Executive Search Firm


With multitudes of candidates vying for job vacancies daily, recruiters, executive search firms in the Philippines, and human resources always find their hands full in a dynamic cycle of choosing between qualified and unqualified candidates—each with their own headhunting strategies and specific positions of interest.

If you are looking for ideal rank and file employees, recruiters and HR personnel are your best bet. However, if you are searching for managerial and top talent candidates, executive search firms are your friends.

The Progressing Need for Executive Search Firms

According to ERE Media, 5.9% of companies’ external hires were recruited through search firms in 2013 and is still increasing at present as enterprises and economy continue to grow.

Top tier positions (managerial to C-Suite level), require a specialized recruitment process, which is different from the usual headhunting approach.

Executive level candidates, remarked as experts in the industry, can utilize their experiences to take your company to greater heights. Still, recruiting and retaining the perfect candidate is not a walk in the park. But, an executive search service can find the right person for you.

An executive search firm, unlike the typical recruitment services, offers an opportunity for business escalation. It focuses its headhunting strategies by relating your company’s goals and strategies with the best person for the position, and bypassing the sourced candidate pool.

Executive search firms prioritize to fill your executive position, which saves time and costs. Furthermore, it goes way beyond usual job posts in social media sites and utilizes market intelligence and tools to accomplish the job.

Contingency vs. Retained Executive Search Firms

When working with an executive search firm, you need to identify which type you are working with. Is it a contingency or retained search firm?

Retained search firms work on an upfront fee basis, wherein you have to pay them in advance before they conduct a search for the best candidate for the job. They also work on an exclusive basis, which means that you will only get your candidates from them. This type of search firm usually runs an exhaustive process until they come up with a short list of top candidates for you to choose from.

Contingency search firms, on the other hand, work on a “no win, no fee” basis. This means you do not have to pay them until they have managed to find the right candidate for the job. Contingency search firms work with a large database of candidates and use such to send as many (and as fast as possible) candidates to the client for an interview.

Expectations When Working With an Executive Search Firm

If employing an executive search firm has been in the back of your mind for a while now, this is the perfect opportunity to try and test its waters. Here’s a clear view of how the full executive search happens and what you can expect from it:

  1. Meeting with the executive firm

Once you’ve chosen your preferred executive search firm, meet with them for the contract signing and setting up of agreements and ideas to start the process. You can discuss your ideal candidate, requirements, estimated timeline, and your company’s strategies to briefly immerse the firm with your company culture.

Giving them a feel of your business will aid in their search for executive candidates. They will also research on your business for further analysis to find key matches for the candidate and your company.

  1. Creating candidate personas and market research

Persona creation is a must to have a clear view of the candidate you need for the position. It requires thorough brainstorming of the firm’s executive consultants for a realistic profile.

It is the process of creating a “dummy” account based on your job requirements and company specifications. After the persona, the firm will conduct a market research to observe your competitors and the industry you’re in, as well as where the persona will fit in.

  1. Formulating strategies for the executive search

Putting all conducted researches, personas, job specifications, and requirements, the firm will take the lead in coming up with search strategies to successfully connect with targeted executive candidates.

This includes the use of contact, network databases, and social networks to extend the reach and come up with a comprehensive plan.

  1. Determining and shortlisting executive candidates

Talent mapping or name generation is a process done by executive search firms to narrow down their search list. The list typically contains hundreds of qualified candidates subject for the business consultants’ approval and will undergo another screening to see if they will pass and meet your set standards.

After passing another level of meetings, the firm will have a shortlist of at least 10 certified candidates—carefully analyzed by consultants to match your needs, together with their company interest and competencies.

  1. Delivering the shortlist for your approval

Most executive search firms perform a final evaluation of candidates’ profiles to ensure the credibility of the shortlist before giving it to you and your HR team. Afterward, depending on your choices, observations, and recommendations, the shortlist will be reduced to half—ready for your final decision.

  1. Closing the deal and welcoming your new executive

The search usually lasts for 30 days to 2 months, depending on your agreement with the firm. After the long search and choosing the best candidate among the equally-qualified body, you can discuss your company and contractual arrangement with your newest executive.

The employment terms will be on your behalf, and the firm can be present to see that both ends will meet.


You may be thinking that your ideal candidates are either employed or not yet interested in pursuing a position in another company. But, remember that the perfect candidates exist in every corner. You just need to enhance your reach and acquire necessary assistance to discover them.

At Manila Recruitment, you can have the best applicants and talents easily within your reach — sourced by the team’s recruitment experts and consultants to match your business needs.




Manila Recruitment is recognized as the leading recruitment firm in the Philippines for headhunting, executive search, expert, technical and IT recruitment. We share an unrivalled passion to help your business succeed by understanding your goals, then sourcing and providing you with your number one asset – driven, dedicated and exceptional people!

Experience the Manila Recruitment difference, and give your business in the Philippines a competitive advantage by contacting us today. Whether you are exploring an offshore solution, or are an established entrepreneur, SME or Multinational in the Philippines, our team has the experience and a tailored recruitment solution to introduce you to the top talent in the Philippines.

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