Please elaborate on your roles and responsibilities as a global director and share your insights on the latest trends and challenges specific to executive search.

Like many global organizations, our priorities are focusing on our talent, DEI, and continuous improvement in driving our culture. We have a legacy of also contributing to the well-being of our associates, the communities in which we live and work, and the planet as evidenced by our expansive stewardship and sustainability goals.  These are essential levers to provide a healthy and robust employee experience. As a global leader in HR, executive search has always presented a challenging conundrum. Although I have been in this space over the last few decades, I suspect it will only continue to get more complex. There are undoubtedly many more options a company has today when selecting an executive search partner. Talent also has many more choices in front of them when it comes to choosing an organization. Social networking, media, and transparency there is much deeper insight into a company and its culture.

Amid this evolving market scenario, the leading executive search players have evolved. They not only cater to pipelining talent, but their comprehensive offerings have become integrated within the talent lifecycle. While they are utilized for their speed to hire, ability to take on complex projects quickly and often times, with required discretion. Over the past decade, they have vertically integrated their talent capabilities by also providing services such as assessments, development, coaching, and outplacement. These firms have upskilled recruiters to talent consultants. These talent consultants have developed strong network of key organizational leadership across various talent segments. They also have in-depth expertise in specific industry segments and grow their networks, for which a company is willing to fund premium to access that data because they have insights into the the top talent in a segment. Today’s talent expects a more gracious candidate experience, it is imperative to partner with an executive search partner who can be an extension of your brand.

How do you see the evolution of both executive search and succession planning? 

Succession planning requires you to consider talent implications years in advance, and it is not easy to ascertain when and where an unplanned vacancy may surprise you.  Often, there could be instances when someone qualifies for more than one key role. In those cases, companies that do not have a solid talent acquisition pipeline need to partner with executive search. They also have broader insights into market trends, especially in niche segments. In these scenarios, executive search partners follow a well-structured process to ensure the organizations make the best decisions regarding talent selection.

Over the years, our key executive search partner(s) have evolved and offer more than merely the transaction of discovering and presenting talent but, at minimum, bring forward carefully vetted talent. They prudently examine the roles and qualities of the talent, and the familiarity of their network helps them deliver tremendous insights into the niche market or talent space based on the trends and developments across various other companies. 

Could you throw light on the technology used for executive search?

Executive search transcends any talent acquisition or candidate management tools that recruiters and HR professionals use. In terms of finding talent, LinkedIn is an essential and accessible networking tool. Although executive search partners have many other tools and technology at their disposal, building a personal connection with their clients and potential candidates is vital and a valuable skill they hone throughout their careers.

Could you share some thoughts on where the industry is heading and what changes we can expect in the future?

If there was a silver-lining coming out of the pandemic, it was that companies who were traditionally onsite and would require a relocation, now have opened the doors for great talent to work from anywhere. Companies that get it have managed to foster connection and belonging among their employees regardless of location. This gives talent a much wider opportunity base to consider when changing jobs. Companies are gradually coming to terms with the fact that they do not need to relocate employees for every position, which helps talent consider their career opportunities with companies they might not have previously opted for. In parallel, it's also going to make the competitive space among companies more challenging.

What is your piece of advice to your peers and aspiring individuals in this space?

I think less is more when it comes to executive search partnerships. A few strategic partners can help with each segment of the organization vs selecting  a niche provider that may not have an understanding of your organization. It becomes more efficient by supporting your chosen  executive search partners as an ambassador for your company. This is a symbiotic relationship as it makes them feel like an extension of your company versus a transactional supplier. They will be able to assist in a more intimate way and have a better process in terms of evaluating prospective candidates.

In many cases, the executive search process is an art of collaborative effort more than it is a science.

What are some of the methodologies that your peers can adopt to attract and retain talent?

There are more opportunities for talent in the present environment, which is great for people looking to advance in their careers or change industries. The challenge, however, arises for companies to actively engage and retain talent with their unique employee experiences. Previously, it may have been easier to retain employees when there was a more constricted  environment where a job change would require them to relocate and upend their families. In this new epoch of remote work, companies must emphasize inclusion, provide the right culture, and experiences to meet the evolving expectations in today’s talent market.