The benefits of working with boutique search firms

The benefits of working with boutique search firms

When it comes to executive search firms, big doesn’t necessarily mean better. Working with a more agile independent, ‘boutique’ search firm, can benefit clients in a number of ways. More and more often, clients are now seeking to partner with independent search firms as they seek to acquire senior talent and benefit from a value-add consultative service.

Independent search firms base their offering on a number of key principles, including:

Strategic and long-term partnering, to ensure a deep understanding of their client’s business, objectives, culture and key stakeholders

Independent search firms, like Bailey Montagu, have a strategic intent to partner with a discreet number of clients within their defined industry sectors. By building lasting long-term collaborative partnerships with only a few key clients, search firms can invest heavily in developing an intuitive understanding of their client’s goals, culture and senior stakeholders, and can become an effective extension of their business in the external market.

Whole of market access

Working with a smaller number of businesses means that every project and engagement is business critical for independent search firms, and a high quality outcome is imperative. A key part of servicing clients effectively, and of adding tangible value, is to ensure a client has unrestricted access to the most desirable and impactful talent, particularly from their competitor landscape.

Larger executive search firms typically have extensive client lists in their key markets, which often creates challenges around ‘off-limit’ restrictions owing to non-solicitation agreements. Keeping larger client lists can significantly impede access to the broadest pool of candidates, and can also lead to conflicts if a candidate is introduced to more than one client at the same time.


Smaller independent search firms pride themselves on providing a personalised and high-touch service. They mobilise small teams of highly experienced individuals who help shape each project from the outset, and who are personally responsible for managing all elements of the search process inclusive of first-stage approaches, face-to-face candidate interviewing, shortlisting, referencing and offer negotiation.

This approach ensures there is clear accountability for the outcomes of each search project, and provides the best platform to enhance employer brand and candidate experience. The delivery team will have seen the capabilities and motivators of each candidate at close quarters throughout the process, leaving them well equipped to create successful outcomes on their client’s behalf.

A tailored approach

Bailey Montagu recognise that the search requirements of each client are intrinsically different and that no two clients or projects are the same. Independent search firms are nimble and have the ability to tailor solutions to their client’s needs. Working on fewer projects ensures a robustness of process, but fosters a more creative approach that allows search firms to shape their offering against the desired outcomes and values of their client.