The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

March 19, 2014

The Value of a Career in Executive Recruitment


Contingency executive search is an exciting and rewarding industry that remains overwhelmingly misunderstood. Unless you’ve partnered with an executive recruiter to hire or to secure new employment, or have been one yourself, chances are you’re not able to appreciate the depth of the profession. To compensate for this lack of information, we’re unveiling one of the workforce’s best-kept secrets – the best qualities of a career in executive recruitment in a reputable firm.

Impactful work: The “end product” of executive recruitment is a mutually beneficial employment relationship. It’s only when this type of relationship is created – in the form of a successful hire – that a recruiter is financially compensated. As such, recruiters are heavily motivated to orchestrate only high-quality matches, or to ignite impactful change by arranging sustainable and meaningful relationships. Unlike the end products in other professions, which are often stationary, lifeless or disposable, recruiters “produce” something that can grow and develop without boundary, a professional human connection.

Personal fulfillment: In accomplishing the impactful objective of his or her job, a recruiter enjoys tremendous personal fulfillment. Hiring the right people and securing new employment are difficult tasks – but recruiters alleviate much of the associated burdens, thereby delivering emotional and fiscal relief to employers and candidates. In fact, Chris Cook of Abacus Group’s Accounting & Finance Recruitment Division says that this “opportunity to help people improve their situations personally and professionally” is what he values most about his job.

Earning potential: Compensation in executive recruitment is performance-based, rather than fixed by a static wage. Therefore, a recruiter’s income is limitless, assuming no restrictions are imposed by his or her firm. Abacus Group Recruiter Bryan Giuntini contrasts his current job to his former role in public audit, where he “would work countless hours, seven days a week, and see no additional rewards beyond a standard bi-weekly paycheck.” Now, Bryan appreciates the stronger correlation between his efforts and financial earnings. “The harder I work, the more by bottom line is affected, resulting in a greater drive to succeed.”

Social and interactive: A job in recruitment requires constant interaction with people, a desirable feature for an extroverted or otherwise innately social professional who enjoys correspondence with others. On a daily basis, recruiters communicate extensively with clients and candidates on the phone, by email or face-to-face to relay the each side’s relevant characteristics to one another. But the conversations in this position are anything but one-sided; recruiters also have the opportunity to listen attentively to both party’s objectives to make the best decisions possible.

Influence: A recruiter partners with an individual to satisfy a very specific need, namely career advancement or candidate selection. Likewise, a job-seeking professional or hiring manager consents to such a partnership because he or she trusts and relies upon the recruiter to dependably fulfill that need. A recruiter-client or recruiter-candidate relationship is therefore characterized by a distinct power dynamic in which the recruiter is in the position of influence. Clients and candidates look up to recruiters to provide them with expertise and guidance regarding the market, job function, industry, the company and competition.

Flexibility: Because contingency recruiters are compensated exclusively for their success, rather than on a salary, their employers typically permit a flexible work schedule – relative to other industries – so long as goals are achieved and progress is apparent. Neither a strict 9-to-5 office schedule, nor travel, are necessary to correspond effectively with clients and candidates. This nontraditional structure does not imply that recruiters are without rules or obligations, but that their professional schedules needn’t be rigid for the sake of accomplishment. “I have the flexibility to manage my own schedule and, therefore, to dictate my own success,” reflects Chris Cook.

Competition: A career in recruitment is a series of competitions to ensure that the best clients and candidates are introduced to one another as quickly as possible while maintaining excellent judgment and quality. Working too slowly, having insufficient information or letting one’s guard down means clients and candidates will make alternative decisions through other recruiters or their own efforts. The recruiting profession provides the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of being a clear “winner” time and time again.

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