search firm selectionHow to Select a Firm Selection?

Selecting the right search firm a new market is one of the most important decisions a company will make.

Essentially there are 5 different types of firms:

  • Global Executive (retained)

  • Global Contingent

  • Contingent

  • Boutique Contingent (small local)

  • Boutique Executive (retained)

Search Firm Selection

Selecting the right search firm a new market is one of the most important decisions a company will make. Often companies have a good experience with a global firm in their country, this is not to say they will have the same experience in Japan, on the contrary, we often receive feedback from our new clients stating their decision to work with XYZ Global Search Firm was based solely on the experience they had in their home country. When they receive an unacceptable standard here in Japan, they are surprised and disappointed.

The executive search profession ranges in models from "Retained" search to "Contingency" search. Retained search firms are paid a retainer up front to start the search process, another portion of the fee toward the middle of the process and the balance when the candidate begins work. Contingency search firms, on the other hand, receive their entire fee at the conclusion of the search process. Over the years, many contingency firms have begun receiving retainers while retained firms have expanded their models to include flat fees, capped fees, etc. It should be noted that generally Contingent search firms that execute retained searches, use contingent methodology with money up-front.

When choosing a firm, it is a good idea to consider carefully what you want from the relationship. While contingency firms offer a service with no money up front, they will often only work on those searches that can be executed quickly and do not have the time to focus on high-quality candidates.

Additionally, there are various business models within the executive search business, and not unlike other countries Japan has it's own set of unique challenges - see this article:

Japan Market Challenges