Some executive search firms that receive high rankings for 2014 and 2015 are Boyden, Korn Ferry International, Stanton Chase International, Egon Zehnder and N2Growth. The rankings include criteria such as annual revenue, number of placements, completion ratio, client satisfaction and executive thought leadership.
An executive search firm specializes in sourcing candidates for senior, executive or other top positions in an organization. The firm typically researches suitable candidates who work for related businesses or competitors. It may also act as an intermediary to assess the candidate's interest in working for the new employer, as well as carrying out screening, salary negotiations and creating the employment contract. Executive search firms work for the interests of the hiring organizations rather than for the candidate.
Organizations typically retain high-end executive search firms for corporate officer or other senior executive positions and hire contingent firms to fill midlevel positions. Organizations that retain a high-end firm work exclusively with that firm, relying on its expertise and ability to provide a higher level of surface. These firms typically charge 33 percent of the expected annual compensation of the recruit, and they expect at least partial payment up front. Organizations that use contingent firms typically work with many different firms simultaneously in order to maximize the volume of candidates, only paying the firm that successfully helps locate and hire the recruit.