Executive Search in 2020 – No More One-Offs

executive recruiting in 2020

If you are in parts of the world where we are now sending out greetings and snowy holiday wishes, don’t forget your executive search consultant.  She, or he, is your new BFF.

Executive recruiting continues to grow in importance and value, according to the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), which now has 16,000+ professional members in 70 countries.  It continues to grow, and continues to evolve.

Finding and engaging the best in business leaders has become complicated and harder than ever.  Digital transformation, innovation, agility, cultural change and diversity are the leading issues influencing the process today. These issues are so important that they are driving a new relationship between the company and the recruiter.

The old model favored process — a firm offering the retained search model is better suited to executive search than a contingency search firm.  You can read about the difference here.

Today’s “best practice” goes one step further.  Forget the one-position-at-a-time phone call. You need your recruiter as a partner in delivering your business strategy year-round.

A capable retained search firm (such as, ahem, Cornerstone) will have a big percentage of its book with returning clients.  That’s because retained search requires the service provider to thoroughly understand not just the company’s immediate need but the culture and environment in which that need exists.

That is a lengthy and complex task during which a lot of trust is built up.  A successful outcome breeds a natural inclination to return the next time.

But the move to recruiting partnerships in 2020 is a big step further.  It has become attractive for these reasons for these reasons:

  • Having, and keeping, the best leadership talent managing the business has emerged as the single most important element of business strategy
  • Formalizing an expert relationship with shared goals removes an uncertainty from the team building. No time wasted how to get this done.
  • The skills and knowledge of the search firm contribute value in new ways: consultation on the make-up of the team leadership; where are we going? How do we get there?
  • Key issues such as diversity and generational culture become baked in to business strategy and automatically included.
  • Knowledge of new industry sectors of interest becomes readily available and customizable as needed
  • Together you can fine-tune the employer value proposition, seen by many as the greatest challenge in building top teams.

Just as new positions such as the CTO have become strategic essentials, so will the recruiting partnership become a must-have in developing the next generation of business leaders.

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