Executive Search

The Retained Search Model

This is a method of recruitment most appropriate for ‘C’ level and senior executive placement.

Most often the successful people working at this level are not actively looking for alternative employment and will not respond to advertised recruitment. They must be identified, approached professionally and persuaded to enter into dialogue with our client’s organisation. Our clients take comfort in our many years of experience working successfully at this level, often in sensitive, highly competitive and confidential situations. The retained model ensures our clients benefit by receiving a reliable, committed and professional service which is based on a strategic understanding of their business, corporate culture, group goals and strategies and guarantees delivery within an agreed timeframe. We remain flexible with our clients and actively tailor our service to suit individual needs.


Executive Headlines values a strong working relationship based on mutual respect and trust with both clients and candidates. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of our service offering and we are respected for this by clients and candidates alike – having navigated highly complex and sensitive situations over our extensive years in executive search.
Our client base is intentionally limited in order to ensure that we are able to approach candidates from a larger pool of companies without compromising our ethics. Clients are therefore carefully selected and matched to our business intentions resulting in a strong partnership.


The Process

We work within a well-defined framework:


The Brief

An in depth client brief incorporating an understanding of our client goals, company background and corporate culture, the position and how it integrates into the existing structure, a profile of the ideal candidate and finally the key objectives that the successful incumbent will be tasked with achieving.

We engage with as many stakeholders as possible in compiling this information in order to gain an understanding of not only the facts but also the essence of the organisation and the requirements for the role. The brief is the foundation of our success and there is thus strong emphasis placed on it.


The Research

Potential candidates are identified through extensive market research. This is often an interactive process with the client that utilises our database, network, contacts, industry knowledge and resourcefulness as well as our global network. Our resources are proven and thorough and we believe our results have a direct correlation to this part of the process. We believe our research to be more rigorous than the industry standard and hence we believe this to be our competitive edge.


 Approach & Interview

Candidates meeting the client brief are approached to determine their interest in the position. Selected screening interviews are conducted nationwide at our expense to determine candidate suitability.


Process Updates

A process update is sent to the client on a weekly basis, providing feedback on our progress, highlighting potential targets and flagging possible difficulties to ensure a successful outcome



At the conclusion of this part of the process our clients receive a shortlist of candidates that truly represent the best that the market has to offer, thoroughly screened for fit and motivation.


Client Interview

Shortlisted candidates are discussed with the client in a face to face meeting when possible, with details provided to the client including complete resumes (in the candidate’s original format), personal details, career summary, credit and qualification checks and compensation details.

A consultant’s overview comparing the candidates’ credentials against the agreed brief is provided at this point


The Decision

We liaise closely with client and candidate through the interview process and work to resolve any potential obstacles to attracting the preferred candidate. At this point, references will be thoroughly and discreetly checked, any negotiation of the contractual terms of employment will be facilitated and the selected candidates are prepared for counteroffer possibilities. We coach the candidates through their resignation and notice period and ensure a smooth transition into their new role.



A fee of 30% of the annual guaranteed package is applied and is charged on a retainer basis.  These retainer fees are set according to a mutually agreeable estimation of the annual package for the search position, and the following payments will become due:

  • 1/3 of the placement fee is payable on signing off of the brief in order to commence the search
  • 1/3 of the placement fee is payable on commencement of approaches by Executive Headlines
  • 1/3 of the placement fee is payable on placement of the chosen candidate

This fee is further explained in the Retainer Contract.



How does payment work?


We charge in three retainers. The first retainer is due on authorisation of the assignment and allows us to begin the search. The second retainer is due when we commence the interviewing process and the final retainer is due when the candidate accepts the position.

Do you work on a contingency basis – without charging retainers?

Unfortunately the nature of a recruitment assignment is very different to that of a search. The resources required for a search are more intensive and knowledge based and therefore require an alternative payment method to contingency. In effect, a client pays for the process and our 100% dedication to a successful outcome.

How long does it take for you to present CVs?

A typical search takes 6 weeks to yield a shortlist of suitably qualified candidates, however this may vary depending on the particular requirements for the search.

Can you just send us some CV’s that you have on file if we don’t want to wait that long?

Unfortunately our working model does not allow for this. Each search has fresh, new research attached to it and the detail regarding each role is meticulous and particular to that search. Search information is no longer valid after a few months due to the changes that occur in the market. This request is therefore more suited to a contingency recruitment company.  Our search requires the investment of time and will yield quality results as a result of that investment.

What happens if you are unable to find someone suitable?

This is highly unusual, but we are only able to bring our clients the best talent that is available in the market at that time. Firstly, you will not be taken by surprise if we are unable to find the talent you are looking for. We submit updates weekly to our clients during the search process giving them details regarding our findings as we develop the shortlist. Secondly, we work very closely with our clients during the search process to tweak our search as we go, based on our findings. If it becomes apparent that there is difficulty finding a suitable candidate, we work closely with the client to ensure that we change the parameters of the search.

Executive Headlines is committed to a successful outcome.  Our business depends on satisfied clients who see us as the go-to search firm.

Why should we use you? What makes you different to your competitors?

We work closely with the EXCO and boards of our client’s company which enables us to provide a more holistic solution. At Executive Headlines we apply a range of tools to ensure a thorough fit with your organisation. We also work closely with our clients feeding back valuable information about remuneration and competitive insight on completion of a search. We partner with our clients to ensure that their business is improved and more competitive.

Can you extend the guarantee period?

We can! We have an immersion programme that includes a series of leadership coaching sessions that assist executives with culture adaption, ensuring a smooth transition for the new executive. Should our clients invest in this process we extend the guarantee period to 12 months.