How to Know if a Custom Executive Search is Right for You

One of the services an executive recruiter can perform for clients, along with retained and contingent searches, is a custom search.

Contingent searches are typically less expensive than other types of searches, happen alongside other recruiting efforts, and don’t cost anything until the appropriate candidate is identified. For that reason, they’re often best-suited for finding a large number of applicants in a short time.

Retained searches, on the other hand, are intensive, more thorough and require more time and resources from recruiters. They are typically used for open executive-level positions that have higher salaries and require more sensitivity than lower-management roles.

But what happens when your company’s needs are a bit more out of the norm, and neither a contingent or retained search is quite right? That’s where custom searches come in.


A custom executive search requires a unique approach to your hiring needs. Your terms of service may look different than any other clients’ that your recruiter is working with. Examples of situations where custom searches are the best option include:

  • If you have a unique hiring process that doesn’t lend itself to the typical phone screen and in-person interview and therefore requires special efforts from the recruiters.
  • If you have certain candidates in mind already and want the recruiter to focus all of their resources on those particular people.
  • If your search requires a candidate with an extremely refined, niche skillset that demands atypical research and recruiting efforts.
  • If you have a number of open positions you need to fill all at once, and your recruiter is willing to bundle or discount expenses outside of their typical service rates.

These are only a few examples of custom search scenarios—the possibilities are endless. No matter your needs, it’s important to discuss the option of a custom search with your recruiting firm. The best recruiters will work with you to come up with customized terms of service that meet your hiring needs.


Start a conversation with an expert executive recruiter today by contacting Ciresi & Morek. In the meantime, subscribe to our newsletter to receive important resources like these once a month, straight to your inbox.

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