What is executive search?

Executive search is the highly specialised service brought in by organisations to find top level senior managers, executives, or non-executive directors. It is used to find highly skilled candidates for open positions and often the best person for a role within your organisation may not be looking for a new job at all. But that does not mean that they can’t be found. This is where an executive search firm comes in. Executive Search Consultants are highly skilled at identifying and attracting these hard to find, top level candidates to your organisation.

The development of executive search

Executive search is recognised as a vital part of the business world. According to research carried out by The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), the executive search industry is worth around $12 billion globally. Traditionally, the UK has been the largest market in Europe, and the second largest in the world (behind the USA). Executive search has come a long way from the 1950’s when, it is believed, Thorndike Deland Associates of New York was the first ever executive search firm. Executive search has played a key role in the globalisation of business in the sixty years since. As organisations have become more and more global, the need to attract top talent who can not only work in different countries, but also understand the employment and social trends and other key factors within each country and differing cultures has grown exponentially. Geographical transfer of talent has proved critical to the expansion and success for a vast amount of companies. Executive search firms pride themselves in being able to highlight these key factors when targeting talent.

Why use executive search?

Hiring the very best talent can be extremely difficult. Getting it wrong can have a colossal impact on your business. Imagine a key executive in your business has just resigned or is underperforming. When this happens, you need to replace them quickly and efficiently with somebody who is going to take your business to the next level. Using an executive search firm enables you to identify and attract top performers within your competitors, or exceptional candidates from other industries who have the necessary transferable skills. This is talent who you may not even be aware of or struggle to attract or even engage with via traditional selection methods, like advertising or recruitment agencies.

Executive search firms target the best candidates ‘in the market’ as opposed to ‘on the market’. The perfect candidate for your organisation may well not be looking for a change of position or even be aware of how their skills may suit alternative sectors. They may never see any traditional advertisements or be signed up to an agency like ‘on the market’ candidates. This is where executive search targets the ‘grey area’ in the market. The very best candidates are found, and upon being approached can become a genuinely viable candidate for your organisation who would never have been identified without the skills of the search firm.

How executive search works

When taking on a search process we understand that organisations are looking to make the right appointment first time and as such require a rigorous process to find the best candidate. Our process typically takes six to eight weeks which ensures we have enough time to speak with the widest possible target audience of qualified candidates.

At Moorlands Human Capital (MHC), when you trust us to recruit your key people, we undertake each search with complete ownership. We employ a robust, detail-oriented, full-service search process, using the latest technology to increase the efficacy of the search. This coupled with comprehensive reference checks ensures that we place great people who make a great fit for your company and culture.

MHC becomes one of your brand stewards, a brand ambassador, communicating and representing your company through a professional, high level of engagement, customer-centric user experience. At the end of each search, you will have another resource to meet your growth plans. We will have communicated to and shared your company’s story with numerous influential individuals throughout the market.

Our approach is research rather than sales based and, as such, we conduct fresh, original and specifically targeted research for each assignment we undertake. This means that we target individuals who are suited to your role and have the competencies required to succeed.

Our process

Our search process is focused on ensuring we meet with key stakeholders who will be part of the decision-making process. We discuss the requirements of the process and develop a detailed job specification and agree a strategy.

Next our team of skilled consultants begin to research target companies where we believe the ideal candidates may presently be employed. We then being a process of name generation from trusted contacts, new leads and industry knowledge.

From here the screening process begins. We speak directly to the individuals that have been highlighted as potentially progressing in the process. Here we gather more about the person, their skills, what makes them tick, personality etc.

We then move onto the assessment phase of the executive search assignment. Face to face candidate interviews are arranged for all candidates that passed our screening process. We create a detailed candidate evaluation on all candidates at this stage. We continue the process of name generation and screening throughout the whole assignment, so no candidate of worth is missed.

At this point we present a short list of candidates to the client. From here candidate interviews with the client are arranged. Throughout the interview process our executive search consultants are available to offer guidance and advice to clients. Once a preferred candidate has been identified reference and education checks are carried out. Finally, negotiations on the package and a start date is subsequently established.


Executive search is the proven way to attract top level talent to your organisation. Every assignment is specific to your needs, and you can rest assure that a reputable search firm has the very best of interests in finding you the ideal candidate to help develop and grow your organisation. Based on years of experience and industry knowledge, using executive search allows you to tap into a pool of high-level industry knowledge. In turn it does not take you away from your day to day duties and offers a great return on investment.

To discuss how we can help you source your competitors’ top executives call our CEO Paul Battye today on 0203 500 0352 or contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.