Executive Search Researcher vs Candidate Resourcer

18th February 2021

I can understand how hard it is to see the difference between a Candidate Resourcer and an Executive Search Researcher because in the main they are both tasked with the same objective; to source relevant candidates for their team or practice. However, there are also some fundamental differences between the two roles. I have outlined these below. It is worth reading on to see which you may be better suited to if this is a career option you are considering for the future.

Candidate Resourcer within a Contingent Recruitment Firm

A Candidate Resourcer supports a team of Contingent Recruitment Consultants who recruit contingently. A contingency recruiter earns a fee when their client hires their candidate/they make a placement. This is different to executive search which I will explain in the next section. Contingent recruiters also tend to work with candidates who earn salaries anywhere between c£20k and c£100k/c£150k (in some cases). Any vacancy where the base salary is above approximately £150k will usually be handled by an Executive Search Consultant on a retained basis. Contingent Candidate Resourcers will be comfortable working with candidates on salaries that can range between these amounts and enjoy operating at this level. When salaries are in this range the pace of the work tends to be quicker as consultants handle multiple vacancies at one time. As fees are lower than in Executive Search consultants have to make more placements to achieve their targets. As a result the Candidates Resourcer in this kind of environment may not have the opportunity to get to know their candidates in as much detail but instead learn how to know just enough to decide whether the candidate could be a right fit for their team or not.

Candidate Resourcers will use the agency’s database to source candidates as well as job boards/advertising/linked in and other social media. They will often do a screen telephone interview before introducing the candidate to one of their consultants. They will be responsible for the inputting of this candidate’s information into the database and for staying in touch with those candidates thereafter. Good Resourcers will be proactive in reminding their Consultants of this candidate and should also build a relationship with their candidates. However, the relationship is limited due to the volume of candidates a Resourcer will be dealing with. You will be someone who enjoys a busy, target driven, fast-paced, often quite noisy, but fun environment. You will have a positive attitude and be money motivated.

In terms of development you could continue in this role working as a ‘career’ Resourcer, but what is more typical is that you start in in this role with a view to becoming a fully-fledged 360 recruitment consultant in the future. It is a great way to learn the ropes and this role is sometimes called Trainee Recruitment Consultant. You master the candidate resourcing skills before you are moved onto the client side. You can usually make this move within your first 12 months. A candidate Resourcer is usually paid a flat fee for each placement they have contributed to, sometimes a % of the fee in addition to their basic salary.


Researcher within an Executive Search Firm

An Executive Search Researcher is part of a team who provide support to a practice area that work on roles (mandates) on a fully retained basis. Executive Search Consultants are paid in advance to conduct a search that usually results in a hiring—but not always. The retained search firm is being paid to conduct the search. Executive Search teams will work with candidates who earn salaries above approx. the £150k mark. The candidates they work with are at C-level, and/or Board level, or a level 1-2 down from this. Anything below this an Executive Search firm is unlikely to handle. Researchers need to be comfortable working with candidates at this level. They will ideally have an academic background that matches that of their candidates so they can converse with understanding and relevance. They will be confident liaising with very senior members of staff who are usually considerably more experienced than themselves and be able to handle communication at this level with gravitas.

In contrast perhaps to a Candidate Resourcer an Executive Search Researcher will be expected to know their candidate inside and out. They will understand their drives and motivations in minute detail and will learn to match them to roles with precision. A Researcher will become an expert in their market having mapped it globally usually, and be expected to go above and beyond in all aspects of their role. The pace of the hire can be slow and so there is more time for analysis and consideration of candidates and the market. Researchers will attend client briefing meetings with the Partner so they can collect information from the Client, Partner and any other available resources so they gain a comprehensive understanding of the client company and search requirements. They will then execute research by defining the research strategy as well as a target company list. They will identify prospective candidates in target companies sometimes not previously identified gather data and general industry information. This is a very detail orientated role which requires in-depth analysis. Executive Search Researchers will enjoy working in a quieter environment that can sometimes feel like a library. Staff members tend to be quite academic in their nature and spend a lot of time writing.

As with the Candidate Resourcer, there are many professionals who prefer to remain in the Research role throughout their career, however, more typically Researchers will want to climb the career ladder. Unlike the Candidate Resourcer role a Researcher working for a true Executive Search firm will need to serve around 4 years in this Research position before reaching the next level. This is the time it is felt required to truly master the basics of Executive Search. It is a slower rise but a Researcher is likely to eclipse the career path of a contingent recruiter in terms of earnings and developments in the long term.

If you want to speak to a Search to Search expert and are open to learning about your career options within either recruitment or executive search or even if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.