Society provides a full range of search, selection and recruitment services. Our exact approach is always tailored to the needs of the specific client in question.

But why use a retained search firm in the first place? Well, it’s worth remembering that there are actually two types of candidate: active candidates and passive candidates. Active candidates have made a conscious decision to find a new role. As such they will be looking at job adverts and networking furiously. Passive candidates are much more elusive. They’re usually busy people, currently giving little thought to their next job move. Public advertisements and contingent recruitment firms only succeed in accessing active candidates. A retained executive search firm like Society can add value by reaching out to passive candidates as well.

Through a process of creative research, patient courtship, and persuasive advocacy, we are able to help you move beyond appointing only ‘the usual suspects’. We can cast the net as widely as you want, unconstrained by sector or geographical boundaries. And what all this effort delivers will be a larger, higher calibre, and more diverse field of candidates for you to appoint from.

Research Only

Particularly for mid-level roles, we recognise that a Full Executive Search approach may not always be affordable or appropriate. For clients who are in a hurry, or on a tight budget, we have therefore developed our ‘Research-Only’ model. This is a quicker and lighter touch process in which we still conduct a pro-active headhunt, but you then progress straight to a shortlist. In other words, we bring good candidates to the table, and then you take them forward to a successful appointment under the stewardship of your own in-house HR team.


A Research-Only process typically consists of the following stages:

  • we take an in-depth briefing from you over the phone;
  • we conduct an extensive headhunt, making use of both our existing networks and creative research (this is sometimes undertaken in parallel with a public advertisement);
  • at the conclusion of the research phase, we sift all the candidate CVs and produce a preliminary grading;
  • we then send you all the candidate paperwork electronically;
  • you confirm which people you wish to take forward to interview, and we turn down any unsuccessful candidates;
  • you progress straight to formal interview with your chosen shortlist of candidates.


Rather than base our fees on salary levels, we always agree a fixed total at the outset of our work. This gives our clients confidence that we are focused on finding them the right candidates, not the highest paid candidates. For a Research-Only process, there’s no additional fee payable upon the appointment of your chosen candidate. Furthermore, there are no additional fees to pay in the event that you choose to appoint more than one of the candidates we introduce to you. This can make a Research-Only process a really cost-effective way of building up a team.


Searches are usually spread out over around four to six weeks, however this can usually be shortened if necessary, and we are always happy to agree timescales up-front. Where a client is recruiting to more than one role, there can sometimes be efficiencies and economies of scale. We are very comfortable running multiple appointments at the same time.

Bespoke Services

We look to form long-term partnerships with our clients and will therefore frequently help them on other projects. These might include:

  • conducting salary and benefits surveys for a specific role, gathering together data from an agreed set of comparator businesses;
  • mapping the organizational structure of an agreed competitor (or a specific team within it);
  • running specially designed assessment centres to make sure you get the best results from your formal interview processes;
  • delivering an enhanced reference check on appointable candidates, including verifying their academic and professional qualifications;
  • conducting internal benchmarking exercises to help you identify existing talent or plan for organizational restructures.