Is there such a thing as an “Executive Recruiter” who also does “Staffing?”


A common phrase on many Recruiting Companies’ websites today is “Executive Search and Staffing,” but is that really the true?  Let’s think about it for a minute. If your firm does “Executive Search,” your fees are quite large. So why then would you do a search for a position that pays a small fraction by comparison?  I believe that recruiting firms are essentially limited to whatever the lowest form of search that their websites promotes and THATS it!  If they are a Staffing Company, they may occasionally do a “Permanent Placement,” but it isn’t what they do regularly. Oh sure, they wish to one day do Executive Search, but they don’t. It would be as if a Real Estate agent who brokers High End Homes and they dabbled in  studio apartment rentals? It is one of the Big Fibs of the industry. With a Wink and  Nod, everyone puts the language of what they hope to become one day. However, there is no way that anyone who tastes the “Juicy Steak” of Executive Search is going to settle for the “fast food” of Staffing again! 

I honestly have nothing against people in the staffing business. It is an honorable business. It just isn’t Executive Search, and it has to be called what it is.  As I have been saying for a while, the industry needs to have very clear distinction between the different types of Staffing, Contingency Recruiting, and Retained Executive Search. There is a stark contrast between these so let’s stop blurring the lines. People get upset when they are confronted by this truth, but it will help everyone if we demystify it and remove the ambiguity surrounding this issue. They actually have very little in common.  

Let the rants begin… 

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3 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as an “Executive Recruiter” who also does “Staffing?”

    • A “Staffing Firm” is generally one that places Contractors into companies and the candidates are not employed by the company they work in, but rather an outside company. The company of record who pays the Contractor is either the Staffing Firm or another firm such as TFI Resources. These Contractors generally work 6-24 month contracts at which time they become available to other companies as contractors. Some companies may decide to hire the contractor as a full time employee, but this is not typical. A Search Firm is one that actively searches for a “full-time employee” for the client company to hire. The candidate becomes an employee of the client company so there is no third party involved. There is no length of term that expires in these cases.

    • Ladd, One more point; there is nothing wrong or less professional about “staffing.” My point in the post was that recruiting companies often promote everything from Staffing, to Retained Search and the terms are frequently used interchangeably and this is flawed. Staffing involves finding active people toward the end of their contracts with no long term view while the other is essentially the opposite. I have known people who do contingency search who also dabble in contract staffing, but not as a focus. I haven’t found anyone in “staffing” who dabbles in retained search. Yet, they often put this nomenclature on their websites I imagine in hopes they might “snag” a search on retainer that way. Just my two cents.

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