25 Elite Executive Recruiting & Headhunting Firms - Elevate Your Career!

Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer
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A lot of executive jobs are landed through the use of executive recruiting and headhunting firms – don’t miss out. 

When you're job searching for an executive or upper management position, an executive recruiting and headhunting firm can help you out! Although you can't hire a recruiter or headhunter to find you a new job, you can work with them to identify great opportunities, land interviews, and even negotiate salaries. 

However, to find the right person to match you with these open opportunities, you need to find the right firm.

Enter our list of 25 elite executive recruiting and headhunting firms that will help elevate your search for the next step on your C-level career ladder. This list includes firms that cater to multiple industries and work with job seekers from New York to California.

What is an executive recruiting and headhunting firm?

Sometimes, especially at the executive level, searching for jobs online can be a major pain. It may even seem like there are no upper-level management jobs available. That’s because a lot of companies don’t post C-level jobs on online job boards like Indeed. 

Instead, companies who need to fill executive positions rely on help from executive recruiting and headhunting firms, mostly because these firms have their ear on the ground for new talent and have massive networks of active and passive executive-level job seekers. 

Since these executive recruiting and headhunting firms are aware of best practices and industry standards and know how to find the right talent for the right role at the right time, companies rely on them to fill open positions. 

What’s the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter?

There’s honestly not much difference between the two – they both share the same goal of filling executive positions for companies that employ them. The biggest difference is that a headhunter is not usually employed directly by the company; they’re used on more of a contract/as-needed type basis. 

Headhunters are also called in when an executive position needs to be filled quick, fast, and in a hurry. If you get a call about an open position, whether you’re looking for a job or not, chances are the person contacting you is a headhunter.

On the other hand, a recruiter can be an in-house employee or an external agency that the company keeps on what could be called a retainer. Recruiters handle the entire job-filling process, from posting the job description to finding the right candidate and conducting interviews. They don’t often seek out passive job seekers, choosing to work with candidates who are actively looking for an open position. 

For the most part, though, the executive recruiting or headhunting person you work with is probably part of a firm – even if the person themself is working on a contract. 

Top executive recruiting and headhunting firms

Let’s take a look at some of the best executive recruiting and headhunting firms out there.

Robert Half

Robert Half is one of the most well-known national recruitment and placement services in America. It offers unrivaled executive search services that can help any company find the leadership talent needed to navigate the ever-changing business landscape.

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Michael Page

Michael Page is a world-renowned professional recruitment agency. They've adapted to maintain top-level recruitment solutions in a remote-first world, offering solutions for partners in nonprofit, business and financial services, retail, healthcare, and technology industries.

Peak Sales Recruiting

Peak Sales Recruiting bills itself as the leading sales and sales executive search firm. Its homepage claims to reduce hiring time by 80% as well as help companies locate B2B talent from the top 10% of sales professionals.

Egon Zehnder

Egon Zehnder provides executive-level leadership solutions and placement consulting services for financial services and private equity clients. The company's largest office is located in New York City, with roughly 120 team members committed to matching talent to career opportunities.

Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry aims to synchronize business, people, and operations with a focus on performance. Their record speaks for itself: 96% of their partners are Fortune 50 companies, and three in four of Fortune’s best companies are Korn Ferry clients. You can find help with everything from career coaching to the formation of job search strategies. 


MarketPro is an executive recruitment firm operated by former marketers. This woman-owned small business specializes in helping clients identify and hire the top marketing executives in the USA to take their businesses to the next level.

Stanton Chase

Stanton Chase prides itself on being one of the top executive recruiters in New York City, and with good reason. Its global executive search firm has provided top executive leadership for businesses around the world, including over a dozen locations in the USA.

Patrice and Associates

Patrice and Associates is a nationwide recruiting agency that provides executive search and recruiting services in 125 offices across the US and Canada. This firm is the largest company that specializes in hospitality and retail executive searches in North America.


N2Growth is known for its expertise in executive job searching and was recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s best executive recruiting and headhunting firms. They provide everything from leadership development and talent management to board succession planning. N2Growth has built a reputation for handling confidential and complex executive recruiting projects. 


Vaco is focused on understanding each client’s corporate culture to ensure that it delivers the top-of-the-line executive recruiting results that best match each company’s business environment and unique staffing needs.

Accur Recruiting Services

As a top NYC executive recruiting and headhunting firm, Accur Recruiting Services specializes in placing executive talent in consumer industries such as cosmetics, jewelry, apparel, and fragrances.

DHR International

DHR International is a leader in agile, responsive, and expert executive search services. DHR offers unparalleled consultative and placement assistance in locating the top executive talent, with more than 50 offices globally.

ACA Talent

ACA Talent provides a range of recruitment services to help client companies meet their sales talent needs. It has an extensive network of executive and management-level candidates across North America.

Reaction Search International   

Reaction Search International has the national reach today’s companies need to locate top executives who can help them advance their business goals. It services a variety of industries and maintains a network of nationwide recruiters to ensure that clients always get the best available talent.

Elysian Staffing

Elysian Staffing is based in New York City but has a national reach for creative leadership placements. In addition to working with C-level hires, its team also works with essential workers for contract positions.

Naviga Recruiting and Executive Search

The team at Naviga Recruiting and Executive Search is committed to helping its business partners find the best sales and marketing executive-level talent available in today’s competitive marketplace.

Hanold Associates

Hanold Associates offers executive recruitment services focused on finding top HR or Diversity and Inclusion leaders to help companies develop productive, sustainable corporate cultures from the top down.

Murray Resources

Murray Resources matches top companies with big talent for positions like C-level executives, presidents, VPs, and directors. The team is based in Houston and boasts a 95% satisfaction rate! The Houston Business Journal even named it one of Houston’s Top 5 Recruitment Firms. They understand the fact that not everyone knows what to expect when working with a recruiter and will take the time to answer your questions to make sure you’re comfortable with the process. 

JMJ Phillip

JMJ Phillip offers top-level executive placement recruitment services with an emphasis on the technology, manufacturing, and supply chain sectors. Among the several specialty services offered are discreet search projects, rapid placement services, and retained executive search.

Regal Executive Search

Regal Executive Search is a boutique firm that recruits not only the top available talent in the marketplace but also superior candidates who are not currently in the workforce. This two-pronged technique offers a unique solution for companies with staffing needs in multiple industries, including engineering, technical, and accounting.


Signium is available in more than 30 countries, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, and APAC regions. As an executive recruiting and headhunting firm, its main focus is to identify top executives who are focused on fueling organizational success. It fuses industry knowledge and huge networks to find the best of the best. 

SNI Financial

SNI Financial is a leading recruitment firm that specializes in locating top talent in the accounting and finance industries. It offers direct placement services to its customers for executive-level talent, including CFO, Bank President, CIO, CTO, VP of Human Resources, or Chief Operations Officer.

Primus Executive Recruiting

Primus Executive Recruiting offers top-level, full-service recruiting for healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical firms, senior living facilities, and medical device firms. This group is committed to finding the right person for the right job – not simply filling an opening. Notably, they also offer advice on optimizing your resume, how to succeed in an interview, and have a referral bonus program. 

Menlo Partners Staffing    

Menlo Partners Staffing offers specialty executive recruitment services for industries ranging from finance and accounting to human resources, marketing, and administration, with a commitment to help every client company level the hiring playing field.

Gaines International Inc.

Gaines International Inc. is a Chicago recruiting firm specializing in executive search services. Its customized approach to recruitment ensures that every leadership candidate complements the client company’s unique culture. They also go above and beyond during the interview phase to get feedback from the job seeker and the employer to work toward making things better for both parties. 

Merit Consulting

Merit Consulting is a Florida-based firm with an international presence. It matches top executive talent with companies that can best utilize their unique skill sets. It focuses on the aerospace, pharmaceutical, automotive, and medical device industry leaders.

How to choose an executive recruiter – some tips

When you choose the right executive recruiting and headhunting firm, you can put your job search into hyperdrive. Conversely, choosing the wrong one can really turn things sour. Because the impact on your job search success can be greatly impacted, it’s critical that you take the time to pick the right executive recruiting and headhunting firm for you. 

But how do you do that?!

You have to find a firm that will take the time to understand your needs. It’s the only way they can effectively help you land your dream job. Here are some tips:

Are they in the right industry?

Try to find an executive recruiting and headhunting firm that specializes in your industry or the type of position you want. If they know your industry, they'll have a better understanding of the skills and experience required for executive jobs. You’ll also find that they have a network of contacts in that field they can lean on to help you find employment.

What is the executive recruiting and headhunting firms’ reputation?

Do some due diligence and research the firm's reputation. Look for testimonials or case studies from previous clients and ask for references. If they have a good reputation, they are likely to have a high success rate when it comes to placing people in new executive roles. 

Does their process work for you?

You have to work with the executive recruiting and headhunting firm that you choose very closely. It’s crucial that you understand their process. Find out the responses to a few questions: 

  • How do they source candidates? 

  • How thorough is their vetting process? The more rigorous the process, the better the potential matches.

  • What are the steps of the hiring process?

  • How are job seekers evaluated?

  • What do they require you to do? Do they handle the whole process, or is your involvement required?

  • What additional services does the executive recruiting and headhunting firm offer? 

  • What is the time-to-hire timeline?

Of course, these questions will need to be adjusted based on your needs. The idea is to understand how they work so you can properly set your own expectations. 

How do they communicate?

Good communication is the key to success in almost everything in life. Some people prefer to communicate over the telephone, while others are content with just getting an email. Do the executive recruiting and headhunting firms you’re researching align with your communication preferences? While you’re at it, try to find out how often they’ll keep you updated throughout the process.

What is their success rate?

If we are what we repeatedly do – thanks, Aristotle – then an executive recruiting and headhunting firm with a high success rate has bred excellence as a habit, not just a single act. This is what you want!

Do they have any guarantees?

You won’t be looking for a money-back guarantee because recruiters and headhunters usually don’t charge job seekers anything – unless you take advantage of some service they offer that’s outside the scope of landing you a new job. Often, the guarantee on their placement services will center around whether you’re with the new company for a specific amount of time. The longer their guarantee, the more confident they are about the companies where they’re placing candidates.

Do you feel comfortable with them?

Trust your gut! 

You’ve heard it since grade school – trust your first instinct, don’t change your answer on a test because your gut reaction is probably the right one – it holds true here, too. If you get a bad vibe from an executive recruiting and headhunting firm, then don’t choose them. You have to work really closely with these people over the next several months. They’re helping you make one of the most critical decisions of your current life. Make sure you’re comfortable working with them. 

You’ve picked your firm; now what?

Well, the first step is to reach out to the executive recruiting and headhunting firm you’ve chosen to express an interest. Usually, this will be done through a contact form on their website, but you could call them or email one of the recruiters directly if you can find an email address. 

Related reading: Check out our message templates to use with recruiters.

Give them your resume

They’re going to want to see your resume and cover letter. It’s also likely that they’ll want to take a look at your LinkedIn profile and any online portfolios you may have. Give them all of this – after you’ve optimized the keywords and tailored the language to the new position you want. 

Here are some resources to help you with that last bit:

Get ready for a screening interview

Once the executive recruiting or headhunting firm reviews your documents, they’re going to want to talk with you. It’ll be an initial interview to get a better understanding of your career goals, skills, experience, and career achievements. Ultimately, they want to make sure what you have to offer lines up with any of the jobs they have available. 

Now you wait

This is the part that does some people in – the waiting game. But, if you performed some good due diligence, you already have a strong idea of how long this waiting game should last. In the meantime, your recruiter or headhunter is looking for job options that match what you bring to the table. Since most of them get a commission based on the first year’s salary that you’re offered, they have an incentive to make a good match. 

Interview with some employers and get the job

Don’t worry; the executive recruiting and headhunting firm isn’t going to throw you to the wolves here. Once they get an interview lined up for you with a potential employer, they’ll do some coaching with you to help ensure you get through the interview successfully. When the employer decides to hire you, they’ll send a job offer, as usual. You’ll want to review that with your recruiter because they can help you negotiate the compensation. Again, they’re paid based on your first year’s salary, so they want to get you as much as possible. 

Thank your executive recruiting and headhunting firm

When you get the job, don’t forget who got you there. Follow up with them, thanking them for helping you get where you are. Continue to keep in touch with them – you never know when you might need them again. 

Find a new job – check!

The right executive recruiting and headhunting firm can help you locate an executive-level placement in no time! The professionals associated with the top firms on this list are some of the best in the business, no matter your industry or career target.

As always, good luck with your executive job search!

Before you start picking executive recruiting and headhunting firms, get your resume ready! ZipJob’s team of executive resume writers has crafted powerful resumes for countless people. Get started with a free review of your current resume so you’ll know what needs to be done to make it perfect. 

This article was originally written by Caitlin Proctor. It’s been updated by Marsha Hebert.

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Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer

Written by

Marsha Hebert, Professional Resume Writer

Marsha is a resume writer with a strong background in marketing and writing. After completing a Business Marketing degree, she discovered that she could combine her passion for writing with a natural talent for marketing. For more than 10 years, Marsha has helped companies and individuals market themselves. Read more advice from Marsha on ZipJob's blog.

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