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Retained executive search firms are employed by corporations in an exclusive consulting capacity. Their goal is to find the most qualified individuals for high level executive positions, and to work with their client corporation to determine the requirements and desired qualifications inherent in the positions they wish to fill. There are two different types of retained executive search firms: the global search firm and the boutique search firm.
Global search firms are just that: search firms with offices in various countries who utilize their geographical advantages to search for highly qualified job seekers that, due to location, may be beyond the radar of the hiring company. Global search firms cover a broad range of industries.
Boutique search firms are more focused and tend to cover only one sector--such as in the case of hospitality and hotel boutique search firms that appeal to the crème of the crop of the industry on the behalf of major international hotels and resorts.