Case Study: from Contingent Recruitment to Executive Search

18th April 2022

At Carlin Hall, we observe an increased demand for contingent recruiters with good academics to enter the Executive Search market either at Researcher or Consultant level. Here, we speak to Tamlyn Burl who assisted a candidate in making the move from contingent recruitment to executive search.


Tamlyn was approached by a top 20 university graduate who was working in contingent recruitment. The candidate had graduated two years prior and moved straight into this role. The candidate enjoyed quick success as a Recruitment Consultant achieving two years of high billings and was on target for a promotion. Having spoken to Tamlyn one-year post graduation, she remembered a discussion she had had with her about Executive Search.

At the time she had decided to stay in contingent recruitment after four years at university she was enjoying earning money and being able to make some inroads into her student loan but the conversation she had had a year prior stayed with her. The promotion opportunity became the catalyst for her to pick up the phone back to discuss whether she felt Executive Search might still be an option for her. She was aware of Tamlyn’s track record moving people from contingent recruitment into executive search and knew she would be able to advise.


Tamlyn was confident this candidate met most of the criteria for the move across to Executive Search. She had a 1st in Business from a top 20 university and had enjoyed success in her first role after graduating. Tamlyn spent a considerable amount of time outlining what a move from contingent recruitment to executive search would look like. She explained that her overall take home would be reduced in the short term, but long-term earnings would increase beyond what she would eventually take home in contingent recruitment.

She also explained that she would not be able to join at Consultant level but instead in a Research capacity initially to learn specialist search methodologies. Financially, she was prepared to take the cut aware that she is still young without financial ties and that now was the time to do it. She also knew he wanted to learn the Research piece as she felt long term this would be of great benefit. By this stage, she was committed to making the move into Executive Search.


Having spent many hours getting to know this candidate and being certain that she was ready for the move, Tamlyn reached out to her clients. They decided to cast the net relatively wide initially so that the candidate could get a good view of the market and see how the large global executive search firms (SHREKs) compared to the more mid-sized classic boutiques. In the end the candidate was made one offer by a SHREK, and one by a boutique.

After much deliberation and lots more phone calls with Tamlyn and the clients she reached her decision and chose to accept an Associate role with the boutique firm. This was mainly because she was offered the opportunity to work in a more generalist capacity and felt that would give her good exposure to a variety of sectors at the senior level. The candidate is now working towards a promotion to Senior Associate and already attending interviews. She is loving every minute of her new role and looks forward to a long and successful career in executive search.

“Tamlyn provided excellent guidance during my job search and helped me quickly secure a fantastic position within executive search. Unlike some recruiters she provided prompt honest feedback, regular updates, was highly knowledgeable about her field, and listened to my requirements. All roles suggested were highly relevant and exciting opportunities. I would definitely use Tamlyn and Carlin Hall in the future.”