The executive search industry has witnessed a dramatic shift in how board and senior-level executives are recruited. But what has not changed in how traditional retained search firms recruit. In fact, executive search “best practices” have stayed pretty much the same since they were first developed a half-century ago. And that’s a problem.

The average executive search firm lacks the data expertise to harness the power of Big Data. There is now a treasure trove of data available on candidates. However, in most cases, it is not current, it is not complete, and increasingly it is not structured. Moreover, there is so much information available, recruiters are suffering from information overload. Increasingly, they are missing top talent, not because the candidates are hard to find, but because they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Executive search “best practices” were never designed to deal with Big Data. In other words, the so-called “best practices” are no longer the best.  Moreover, traditional retained search firms haven’t invested in the serious research expertise needed to mitigate the risk and to harness the power of Big Data.

Wrangling all that information takes deep investigative and big data analytics skills — expertise you typically do not find in the world of recruiting. It represents both a threat and an opportunity.

(Of course, our retained search practice is wrapped around our robust research division Intellerati.)

We welcome your thoughts and comments on recent trends you’ve witnessed.

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