Four big questions on data privacy within Executive Search


The service of a personnel consultancy is essentially about pure recruitment. Many consultations focus on the search and selection of high-calibre executives and specialists. However, there are also established and renowned personnel consultants who expand their services to include strategic and conceptual issues such as personal development, assessment topics or the conception of compensation, management or corporate succession.

Executive Search is the name of a specialized personnel consultancy that accompanies companies individually through all stages of the recruiting process and along the entire value chain. As a rule, the executive search method is chosen to fill management positions and mission-critical key functions, often from a gross annual salary of 120,000 euros. The client is exclusively cared for and is the focus of consultation and support. Where in-depth knowledge of the industry and the role to be filled is required, high professionalism in the identification of candidates and a confidential approach, Executive Search can show its strengths. Together with the client, the executive search consultant develops the requirements profile, which is oriented towards the search for suitable candidates. Billing is usually done as a fixed consulting fee.

One third is due when first candidates are listed, another third when the final candidates are presented and the last third when signing the employment contract. A cornerstone of the success of executive search is long-term, trusting and often exclusive relationships with both clients and candidates. In the narrower sense, HR service providers provide a wealth of services that revolve around the extraction, use, and release of personnel. They offer “working time” in a specific qualification that can take the form of temporary employment, recruitment, temporary work, key account or project management, outsourcing or interim management. Recruiters come into play especially when there is a large market for a position: there are many candidates with the required qualifications and this is easy to record.

As brokers, the brokers lead employers and job seekers together with the aim of concluding an employment contract. Depending on the position, they search for candidates of the appropriate hierarchy and qualification levels, whereby they limit themselves to database and advertisement search. They act on a successful basis and receive a commission from their client once they have filled the position. Temporary employment or temporary employment is a three-sided employment relationship: the employee is permanently employed by the lender and is sent by the lender to the lender. This model is suitable for quickly and easily occupying functions in the commercial sector or at lower levels. So-called “CV brokers” research as many candidate profiles as possible from databases, an advantage of executive search consultancy.

The further task is to check the availability of the candidate and hand over the CVs to the client. Often, pre-employment vacancies serve as a signal to resume brokers to send unsolicited candidate profiles to these companies. The other way around, the model works for employment agencies that are addressed by jobseekers. The so-called personnel marketing agencies offer companies the opportunity to spread their job advertisements via Internet job boards or their own websites. They also often work on a pre-profit basis or allow low ad rates by buying and packaging low-cost ads cheaply.

Which way of recruitment a company chooses depends, among other things, on the company’s strategy: Depending on the level, location, qualification, and availability of specialists and executives, positions can be disseminated as an ad at the lowest possible cost. But those who have top positions to fill and also want to reach candidates who do not apply for an advert, go through the recruitment consultant. Factors such as discretion, confidentiality and the right contact with the proven personnel consultant also play an important role here.