Engineering Headhunters Los Angeles


Technology Company Hiring Help
Joe Van Tassel 22 May 2017

We know what it’s like in your world and we hear you: it’s been a tough month for you– a jam packed and grueling month of searching for a new hire – loads and loads of resumes, strangers sending you random messages to your LinkedIn account about “potential hiring opportunities”, and you’re now exhausted, and the boss is breathing down your neck about it.

You need a recruiting firm.

But, which firm do you go with? There are actually about four different types of recruiting firms, often called “search firms”. We’re going to break it down for you.

Why does this matter?

Because it’s about core competencies and skill sets. Most recruiting firms are built on a specific competency and style. They look for a specific type of candidate, which really matters because that’s what you need – someone specific. And you don’t have time to waste. They are also built for speed in that they have a skill set specialty, for instance here at Integress we focus on IT technical roles, and mechanical engineering roles. If you want an accountant for your firm, we aren’t the right team for you.

You want the best person possible and the company who KNOWS and understand the roles the best, who makes these phone calls ALL day everyday and knows the candidate demographics, as well as the ins and outs of different job functions and personalities within those roles.

To help you understand, there are two types of recruiting firms (based on how you pay and interface with them), with four types of specialties (depending on the type of candidate you need) – hang in there with us, we promise this will help you be more efficient with hiring!


Executive Recruiting Firms: These people focus on executive level and/or director level and above candidates. These are mostly strategic-minded candidates who are leading departments or major initiatives. There are two types of these firms:

1.Retained Executive Search Firm

These firms are helping you hire permanent candidates, that are at a Director level or above. These firms are typically paid money up front to retain them, with the benefit of a retained recruiting firm being that they are the only firm working on the role, and you know that you have their full attention for that role.

The candidate

The candidates these firms will find for you will ideally stick by your side and become a part of your company indefinitely. You are hiring for this person to last, who is a proven leader. These people are harder to find, harder to please, and harder to place perfectly into a role because either they are highly skilled in one area, or they are picky about what they do and for whom.

These candidates are often paid salaries, bonuses, equity, and have years of experience.

2.Executive Interim Search Firm

These firms are helping you hire temporary people, that are at a Director level or above. These are typically great for turn-around companies, to put processes in place to help launch a company, or as an interim until a permanent plan or person is found.

The candidate

Much like the permanent executive hires, these are high-level candidates with years of experience and plenty of expertise leading initiatives. Unique to the temporary executive candidates, is that they are often people who have a host of great leadership roles on their resume and are now looking to take on shorter-term executive roles to make use of all their expertise, while maintaining some flexibility in the long-term. They can be known for liking changes in their career, and for building up and breaking down companies in an effective way.

Non-Executive Contingent Recruiting Firms: these are typically focused on director level or below. Often there are a couple of contingent firms working on one company’s role, and whoever places the candidate gets paid on it. The benefit of this is that you get very motivated recruiting, and quickly. There are two types of these firms:

3.Contingent Search Firm*

These firms are helping you hire permanent people, that are below director level. They get paid once a role is filled for you, and nothing up front. The benefit of these firms is they are extremely strategic and not only really know the industry intimately, but are also well connected within that industry.  They know the candidate profiles through and through because they handle a high volume of searches.

*Integress is a Contingent Search Firm (wink wink).

The candidate:

These candidates are typically in the middle of their career, with families being established. They are often not actively looking for a new job, and are therefore uncovered by the recruiting firm (we call them passive candidates). In fact, about 60% of people are open to a job change, but are not pursing one, so these candidates can be hidden gems that have a stand-out reputation with an ideal skill set and personality for your role.

4.Temp Agency

These firms are helping you hire temporary people, or contract-based workers that are below director level. These are the fastest type of placements for companies, but are also meant to be tactical and/or short-term. Sometimes temp agencies are used for contract-to-hire roles as well that are temporary but turn into something permanent.

The candidate:

Companies need these roles quickly filled with talent that can plug and play. They need a fit for the job, but not necessarily a fit for the culture long-term. These candidates are often paid hourly with a contract that is either open ended, or for a short duration of time.

NOTE: many recruiting firms will take on searches for roles that are outside their primary skill set expertise. They can do this, and it’s no problem – for example, we’ve placed a few executives this year and some temp people, BUT it’s not our core competency so it can be a clunky process, or take a little longer. Often hiring managers like to work with recruiting firms they are familiar with, and that is OK. We just want you to know – all firms are not all suited for the same gigs.

So, which one do YOU, Hiring Manager/HR Specialist/ Person-desperate-for-some-help actually need to be calling?

First, know your company and the role. Then, ask questions to determine if the recruiting firm you’re talking to is the right fit.

Questions you should know the answer to:

  1. Do you need to fill something fast and temporary – or a job that’s fluid and transitional? Call a temp agency.
  2. Do you need to replace a key part of the team? Do you need someone to take some important work off your plate so you can actually work a non-15-hour day? Is the job something you’re proud to recommend and promote to someone for their career? If so, you need a contingent search firm.

Questions to ask a recruiting firm:

  1. What level roles do you recruit, directors and above, or below director level?
  2. What are the majority of your placements: permanent or temporary?
  3. What skill sets and roles are your expertise (ie: IT, accounting, sales, etc.)?

Knowing the specific ins and outs of working with a recruiter will save you a ton of time and money, as well as hair, since we are known to save people from ripping it out after months of frustration. Take the time to get to know people within each core competency, and choose accordingly.

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