Executive Recruiting Challenges | How to Make Executive Search Easier

Executive Recruiting Challenges | How to Make Executive Search Easier

Executive Recruiting Challenges Are Common

Executive recruiting challenges are all too common. That is why we decided to write a post about How to Make Executive Search Easier. Executive searches often take too long and far too many searches end in frustration. In addition, executive search challenges don’t stop when an executive opening is filled. Sometimes, the “transplant doesn’t take”.  The executive hired turns out to be someone the employer would rather not keep. A survey by the Corporate Executive Board found that one out of every five hires is a “bad hire” that company regrets making.

Still, how hard could executive search really be?  Clearly, it isn’t rocket science. At last check, executive search consulting isn’t even offered as a specific major.  Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations does offer an advanced program in partnership with the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). But that’s as good as it gets.

And that may be one reason executive recruiting challenges are so commonplace. With no license requirements and few barriers to entry, virtually anyone can hang out a shingle and does. If talent shortages aren’t to blame, inexpert search partners may be responsible for some of the problems. They lack the research expertise needed to make search smarter. We believe that is one of the main reasons executive recruiting continues to stump the world’s leading retained search firms.


How to Hire Top Digital Executives Despite Talent Crunch

How to Hire Top Digital Executives Despite Talent Crunch

How to Hire Top Digital Executives

A growing number of companies have come to the realization that it has never been more important to hire top digital executives. These days, a company’s ability to compete — and even to survive — depends on it. However, the increasing demand for top digital executives is making it harder to recruit them.  As a result, companies are turning to traditional retained search firms for help.  However, that executive recruiting strategy introduces a significant risk of failure.

Reduce the Risk of Failed Executive Searches

To recruit top digital executives, one must first reduce the risk of failure. On average, 40% of retained executive searches fail to complete. In other words, there’s a good chance   — nearly one in two — you will end up without the digital executive you need. That’s a risk companies can ill afford.  With retained search engagements costing upwards of $100 thousand, failed searches exact a tremendous financial cost and do even more damage in lost time to market.  Delays in recruiting top digital executives can leave a company in perpetual catch-up mode. Companies lose momentum at the very time emergent competitors are growing faster than anyone thought possible. Reduce the risk of failed search by cultivating alternatives to traditional executive search firms.

Seek Innovative Boutique Search Firms

Boutique search firms offer advantages over the likes of Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds, Korn/Ferry and CTPartners. For one thing,  boutique firms rarely have issues with client blockage — off-limits agreements that prevent a firm from recruiting from your favorite target companies because they were the firm’s clients.  For another, most boutique firms offer concierge-quality client care. That is how smaller firms compete with the majors. More important, boutique search firms are freer to innovate smarter-faster-better ways to recruit.  Smarter-faster-better is how you recruit top digital executives.  To maximize the competitive advantage, look for firms that offer next-generation executive search capabilities.

Next-Gen Search Firm Capabilities

Smarter Executive Search

Seek search partners who develop methods that make recruiting more intelligent. After working as an award-winning investigative journalist, I founded The Good Search when I discovered how lightweight and outdated traditional recruiting research methods were. Research is how search firms identify and develop the candidates that they deliver to their clients. Build a better engine, and you’ve created the ultimate recruiting machine.  The Good Search harnesses the power of information to make search smarter. With the amount of data in world doubling every couple of years, recruiting has shifted from a problem of too few candidates to that of too many. Too many unqualified and average candidates get the way of the top performers. As a result, traditional search firms are missing rockstar candidates who are “standing in plain sight” because too many candidates get in the way.

Digital Data Expertise

You need a search firm with serious data expertise — one that is capable of separating the signal from the noise.  In my former career as a journalist, I developed a digital specialty in data-driven investigations. There’s a treasure trove of candidate data available outside the resume databases and LinkedIn. That data treasure trove is the key to identifying, calibrating and recruiting best-of-the-best digital executives.  Ultimately, you need more than a social network, a stack of resumes,  or a list of candidates names. You deserve to know who is good.  Our data-driven approach and expertise, our digital acumen,  and investigative abilities make search smarter and give us greater reach. That is how The Good Search consistently deliver top talent clients never knew existed — candidates that traditional firms miss. Ask firms about their use of data to check their digital data expertise.

Actionable Intelligence

Look for a search firm that does more than gather information. Today’s search firms must stop to connect the dots and develop actionable intelligence for faster/better hires. The Good Search makes it a practice to capture intelligence and to share the knowledge with our clients. In fact, we hand over all our candidate research, something traditional retained firms never do. Of course, while The Good Search evangelizes methods that are more evolved, we are by no means the only firm with the courage to innovate. But whatever search firm you choose, make sure you select a partner that offers you a competitive advantage through smarter search. It is the key to hiring rockstar digital executives. The only sensible way to match force with the digital talent shortage is to outsmart it.  With smarter search, you really can “Keep Calm and Search On”.  In fact, we created the executive search meme to serve as a reminder. In the war for talent, smarter, cooler heads prevail.

In my next post, Top Digital Talent Key to Survival, I share insights digital transformation culled from a leaked New York Times internal report. The document contains fascinating insights on the digital leadership required to address perpetual digital disruption.


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How to Recognize Great Talent in Executive Search

How to Recognize Great Talent in Executive Search

Recognizing Great Talent

Learning how to recognize great talent is the key to making amazing hires in executive search. While it is pretty easy to tell who’s good while seated court-side in Madison Square Garden watching the New York Knicks play, it is not so easy for Chief Executive Officers seated in the C-suite.  At senior-executive level, candidates start to resemble one another. They often share similar academic credentials and similar career trajectories. They all meet the basic qualifications or they would not have made it this far. However, to hire senior executive talent that is truly game-changing,  you must somehow discern the difference between two seemingly identical candidates. To make the right hire, you must develop the ability to figure out which candidate will outperform the rest. You must increase your powers of observation to discern great leadership talent. 

A Musical Analogy

Early in my marriage, I  discovered my husband Crispin Cioe seated on the floor of the living room, completely engrossed in sorting saxophone reeds into separate piles. He’d hold up a reed against the light to examine the grain, wet it in his mouth, position the reed atop his mouthpiece, aligning the tip of the reed with tip of the mouthpiece just so. Next, he’d encircle the reed and mouthpiece with the ligature, and tighten its screws. With the reed locked in place, he’d raise the mouthpiece and blow.  After sounding the note, Crispin then would unscrew the ligature, remove the reed, and place it on one of three piles.


What are the Steps of the Executive Search Process?

What are the Steps of the Executive Search Process?

The executive search process varies little from retained executive search firm to retained search firm. In fact, the basic steps of the retained search process are described by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), an organization that represents retained search firms. Every time they conduct a senior-level executive search, executive recruiters seated at the largest search firms in the world — Spencer Stuart, Russell Reynolds, Heidrick & Struggles, or Korn Ferry — as well as at the leading boutique executive search firms follow the same basic retained search process.

Of course, since retained search process and pricing looks are pretty much the same at every traditional search firm, it can be challenging for executive search buyers to figure out which firm to select. We will have more on discerning the differences in another post. However, before we get into the nuances, you first must learn the basic steps of the retained search process.

Engaging the Retained Firm
Retained executives search firms work by retainer and exclusive contract. The standard retained search contract stipulates that the firm serves as the exclusive representative of the search for external and internal candidates. It also defines engagement timing, off-limits agreements, and other issues relevant to the particular assignment.

Holding Launch Meetings
The retained search firm meets with the hiring executive and relevant stakeholders to discuss the requirements for the role. The meetings often include key board members, members of the senior executive team, peers and subordinates. These meetings enable the search firm to gather important information about the requirements of the role. More important, the search partner witnesses first hand the management style and corporate culture, which are essential to understanding what makes someone successful at the company.

Creating Position and Candidate Specification
The retained search firm drafts a description of the position, detailing its reporting relationships, responsibilities, and objectives. The candidate specification details core competencies, preferred experience, and soft skills — the personal qualities that sought in the ideal candidate. The document serves as a touchstone, defining all the requirements of the role, preventing searches from veering off course. Once the client approves the document, it is used as a marketing tool with candidates.

Setting Research Strategy
The search team develops a strategy targeting companies most likely to yield a successful candidate, including the initial list of target companies. The strategy considers the level and scope of comparable roles as well as other key data points: office location, corporate culture, and each company’s ranking. Companies that are off-limits are also delineated — companies out of which the firm will not recruit due to sensitive client relationships or because the firm has client blockage.

business man and woman corporate maze

Conducting Original Research
Using the strategy as a blueprint, the search team conducts original research to identify and profile idea candidates, mapping the reporting relationships and often building out org charts of target teams. Traditional search firms usually do most of the research online. The search firm will also query its own candidate database, proprietary information services, and social networks such as LinkedIn to yield prospective candidates.

Querying Sources
Search firms sound their network of sources for candidate referrals and calibrations. Sources include journalists, professional associations, and other relevant groups. Prospects that meet the requirements of the role are added to the initial list of prospects.

Qualifying Prospects
The search team contacts prospective candidates to determine whether they meet the primary requirements of the role and gathers details on the candidate’s motivations — what it would take for that candidate to make a move to a new company. The search team reviews the list of qualified, interested prospects to determine whether more research is necessary or whether it is time to schedule in-depth interviews.

Interviewing and Pre-referencing Top Prospects
The search consultant interviews and evaluates top prospective candidates in a deep-dive interview that steps through the career history. The executive search partner evaluates the candidate against the candidate specification through in-depth, in-person or video-conference interviews. Taking great care not to jeopardize candidate confidentiality, search firms pre-reference candidates whenever possible to verify past performance and essential soft skills. Those who are not a fit are closed out.

Writing Candidate Profile
For those candidates the search firm presents to the client, they prepare a written Candidate Profile, a report that details the candidate’s education, career history, honors, and awards as well as an analysis and appraisal of the candidate strengths and weaknesses and appropriateness for the position. The report also highlights any key motivators, issues, and deal-making details essential to closing the candidate.

Presenting Candidates and Tracking Progress
The search firm presents candidates at regular progress meetings. Working closely with the client, the list is refined to a slate of 3 to 6 strong contenders for the client to meet. Client-candidate meetings are then scheduled.

Scheduling Client Interviews
Client interviews of the candidates scheduled to winnow selection down the two or three finalists.  Those that are eliminated are closed out.

Checking References
The search team checks the candidate’s references, contacting the contacts provided by the candidate as well as other sources available to the firm. The team makes every effort to ensure discretion and confidentiality. Verification of employment and academic credentials is often performed by third-party services.  It is the consultant’s responsibility to ensure that such checks have been conducted.

Extending the Offer
When a final candidate is selected, the search consultant works closely with the client and candidate to position the offer with the candidate, and to negotiate a package that is agreeable to both parties.

Closing the Candidate and Search
The search team closes” the candidate when the executive accepts the offer, agreeing to join the company. The search firm then closes out the engagement by thanking those involved for a successful outcome.

Given the many steps involved in the retained search process, the recruitment of CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, CTOs, and CIOs requires an investment of time to do it well. However, the AESC states categorically that senior-level executive search is “a time consuming if it is to be done professionally. ” That is a point with which we respectfully disagree.

Executive Search Process Time Consuming Process

What executive search buyers object to is when retained searches take too long for no apparent reason. As a NYC area retained search firm that specializes in senior-level executive search for some of the most powerful and successful companies in media and technology, we understand that their businesses move at the speed of light.  We get deadlines. The executive recruiting process does not need to move at a snail’s pace. Over the years, we have experimented with different ways to close searches more rapidly for searches in video games, digital media, software, and advertising. With few exceptions, making search smarter yields faster and better hires.

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12 Reasons to Hire a Headhunter

12 Reasons to Hire a Headhunter

Hire a HeadHunter

If your company is experiencing dramatic growth or is in the midst of a corporate turn-around, chances are you need to hire a headhunter. The reason is simple: senior executive searches are simply too important.  Executive leaders at that level can make or break a company. Consequently, while the business landscape may change, the need for high-performing executives remains a constant. What follows are the dozen reasons to hire a headhunter.

One Dozen Reasons to Hire a Headhunter

1. You require a top-performing senior executive.
If hiring the best talent available is important to your company, a search firm can help you do the rigorous work required for game-changing hires.

2. You have a C-level leadership opening that must be filled.
If bad things will happen if the role is not filled, or if the cost in lost revenues and missed opportunities is too high, a search firm can mitigate the risk.

3. You have a senior executive position that is extremely nuanced.
If you are seeking an unusual blend of knowledge, skills, and abilities along with the requisite cultural fit, a search firm can help you thread the needle.

4. You have entered a new market or created a new senior executive position.
When an executive search falls outside your area of expertise, an executive search firm can plug the knowledge gap with their domain know-how.

5. You have an incumbent executive that you need to replace.
For companies that need to line up a replacement while the senior executive is still in the role, search firms offer a much-needed veil of secrecy.

6. You need to recruit from sensitive target companies.
If you need to recruit top executive talent from partner firms with which your company does business, the confidentiality that search firms offer helps avoid ruffling feathers.

7. Your senior leadership team lacks diversity.
Because women, Black and Latino candidates are not well-represented at the senior executive levels, search firms can help level the playing field by conducting original research to ensure equal opportunity for all candidates.

8. Your senior executive team could use some back-up.
If you sense a key executive might be on the verge of leaving or that you could benefit from top-grading, a succession bench help you tee up executive hires in advance of need.

9. You do not have the bandwidth to take on an executive search.
If you already have too much to do and too little time, taking on an important executive search can quickly become its own full-time job. That is what search firms do.

10. You have tapped out your network for candidate referrals.
If you have exhausted your network of connections for possible referrals, it is time to access another network. Executive search consultants are among the most well-networked people in the business.

11. You have an important executive search that is taking too long.
Whenever a search takes to long, it is time to call in reinforcements to speed time-to-hire for challenging searches and those with compressed timelines.

12. You cannot provide concierge-candidate care.
If you lack the time or inclination to hold the executive candidate close through to hire, you risk losing the candidate to a competitor. Candidates often confide more in search consultants, enabling them to address concerns before they threaten a successful outcome.

An executive role needs to be senior enough to justify investing in an executive headhunter. Senior leadership positions that report to the Chief Executive Officer, including C-Level executive position ( COO, CFO, CMO, CIO and CTO) are usually too important not to retain an executive recruiter. As the dozen signs above suggest, there are a number of reasons to call in executive recruiting experts. The competitive advantage when you hire a top performing executive is often game-changing.  For executive search to be successful, it takes industry and functional insight, a rigorous process, and unrivaled access. Based in the Greater New York City Area, The Good Search is a retained executive search firm that outperforms traditional search firms by making executive search smarter.


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6 Signs an Executive Candidate is a Waste of Time

6 Signs an Executive Candidate is a Waste of Time

Executive Candidate Warning Signs

Recruiting top C-level senior executive talent takes time — often more than a CEO would like. In fact, for companies that really believe employees are their most valuable asset, the Founder and Chairman of Kevin Ryan has a “simple test” to make sure they walk the walk.  In an article he wrote for Harvard Business Review, Mr. Ryan advises, “Ask the CEO if he or she spends more time on recruiting and managing people than on any other activity. For me, the answer has always been yes.”
In executive search, it is important to manage time effectively by quickly eliminating executive candidates that are not viable.  Culling your long list of candidates down to a curated shortlist of contenders optimizes executive recruiting and talent acquisition as it speeds time-to-hire.

A Greater New York City Area retained executive search firm, The Good Search recruits top executive candidates for executive recruiting clients in media and technology. Over the years in our work as executive search consultants, we’ve learned to recognize the signs an executive candidate is not a contender. Listed below is our list of the top 6 reasons not to hire an executive candidate.

6 Reasons Not to Hire an Executive Candidate

1. Money Fixation

As a retained search firm, we regularly negotiate annual compensation packages in excess of a million dollars with an opportunity for significant wealth creation. However, we grow concerned whenever a candidate fixates on money to the exclusion of more intrinsic motivations such as the pursuit of excellence, leadership, and creating real value. When a candidate cuts to the money early on in conversations and keeps returning to the topic — when they appear to be motivated by money alone — their values are flawed. Money-obsessed executives have trouble leading and inspiring teams to new heights. They become as fungible as money itself.

2. Dropped Balls

Executive recruiters often request that candidates forward a resume before a scheduled call. In addition to needing the information, executive headhunters use the resume as a litmus test to determine how serious a candidate is about exploratory discussions. Whenever candidates promise resumes that they then fail to provide, it is a warning sign. The executives may lack the executive ability to keep their word. They may also lack the necessary motivation to make a move to a new company.  Another warning sign is when candidates repeatedly cancel appointments with little apology or reason. Their behavior is showing us who they really are and what to expect from them as a potential hire. For that reason, getting stood up by a candidate is reason enough to disconnect.

3. Dodgy Answers

Clearly, candidates are motivated to present themselves in the best possible light.  However, the moment a candidate’s answers are intentionally evasive or misleading, they have crossed the line. Candidates that do not give a straight answer may lack the ability — to quote Oprah — to “stand in their own truth.”  In a recent Harvard Business Review Blog Network article, the CEO of Banyan Family Business Advisors Rob Lachenauer reveals how impressed he was by a candidate who volunteered that she had a mental illness during her job interview.  She explained that she had been on medications for a decade and had not had any episodes during that period of time. At the time, the CEO didn’t know what to say, but thanked her for her integrity. Ultimately, Mr. Lachenauer hired the candidate because she was qualified and because she had the courage and strength to reveal her vulnerability.

4. Radio Silence

Another warning sign is when candidates suddenly fall silent in their communications. An abrupt failure to respond to calls or emails is often an indicator that the executive may be engaged in discussions with another employer, or may have had second thoughts about the opportunity.  I know of one candidate who actually accepted a formal job offer, then it was as if the executive fell off the face of the earth. She just stopped communicating, leaving the prospective employer first worried, then annoyed, and ultimately scratching their heads in disbelief. A week or two later, the candidate surface at another company, completely burning bridges with the company she had treated so disrespectfully.  Some candidates fear openly admitting they are being pursued by another employer.  However, being in demand is not a problem: being opaque about it is.  Top performing executives are clear as to their intentions, and keep all interested parties informed as to their process. 

5. Crippled Communications

Candidates whose answers lack organization or who fail to get to the point after so much blah-blah-blah most likely have problems leading.  Most top performing executives have an exceptional command of the English language: they use it to their advantage to persuade and evangelize. While some typographical errors are inevitable in the thumb-typing, auto-correcting age in which we live. great leaders set themselves apart by in their communications. Whether they’re speaking off-the-cuff, in an email, text or tweet, their intelligence always comes through. In fact, as our collective attention span shrinks, as our emails are reduced to the size of tweets, top executives also display a mastery of the new haiku. Increasingly, great leaders must also be capable of distilling a message down it its shortest, purest form.  Senior executives who lack a command of the written and spoken word are missing a critical skill set: walk on by.

6. Arrogance

Asking a candidate to give an example where they failed or “hit the wall” is often seen as a trick question. In fact, asking any candidate to share anything negative about themselves is seen as a kind of test for which there really is no right answer.  However, there are wrong answers. Anytime a candidate asserts he or she has never failed is a red flag. It suggests either that the candidate is arrogant or is unable to lead an examined life. When asked about their greatest weakness, whenever a candidate serves up the cliche answer “I work too hard”, I groan silently on the inside. The answer conveys a smug self-reverence at having turned an imaginary negative into a positive, as if it deserves an immediate high-five.  In a piece he wrote for the Harvard Business Review blog networkDavid Reese, the head of people and culture at Medallia, shares insight on why it is better to give a real answer: you don’t want to leave them wondering who you really are. At The Good Search, we concur. The employers we serve want to hire smart, capable, and forthright leaders who can speak the truth, not spin it.

What other warning signs would you add to the list?

Idiotic Questions Not to Ask Executive Search Firms

Idiotic Questions Not to Ask Executive Search Firms

Questions Not To Ask Executive Search Firms

If you are shopping for an executive search firm to conduct an important senior-level executive search, don’t be fooled by the lists of search firm screening questions available for download on the Internet. Those lists are not entirely objective. Retained search firms have cleverly marketed lists of screening questions, that when answered, will lead you directly to their doorstep. Even human resources associations and other seemingly independent organizations often get spoon fed the same questions by a friendly search partner or firm. In other words, we suggest those cooked lists contain questions that are not in your best interest.

Of course, you might wonder, who are we to talk? That is a perfectly reasonable question. The Good Search is a retained search firm, after all.  However, we do not benefit from criticizing the concocted lists of screening questions — not when they promote the kinds of services we offer. However, The Good Search believes it is good business to help executive search buyers become more informed consumers.  I founded this practice because I believe there is a better way to recruit top talent. Executive search has to get smarter.

Still, when you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter who we are or what we believe. We simply suggest that you be on the lookout for bias in search firm questions and think about more relevant screening questions to ask. Draw up your own list of questions. To that end, I’d like to share my thoughts on a few of the common screening questions. Sometimes the obvious answer isn’t always the best.

Questions Not to Ask Executive Search Firms

  • How many searches have you conducted for this kind of role in the few years?

The implied preferred answer is that the more executive searches a firm has done for a similar role the better. Yet, that’s not necessarily the case. In retained executive search, the more identical searches a firm conducts, the more likely it is that they’ve done business with the companies you’d want to recruit out of for your engagement. Because they’ve done business with those target companies, they are likely off-limits to that firm.  In other words, retained search firms can’t recruit out of target companies that happen to be their clients. When they can’t go there then you can’t go there. Too many identical searches are not a good thing. In fact, search firms that rattle off a long list of similar engagements should be screened out, not in.

  • Will the executive search firm consultant I meet with actually be the one doing the work?

The implied preferred answer is “absolutely”, leaving the buyer with the impression that the partner is elbows deep in the engagement each and every day. However, every major retained search firm works on searches in conveyer belt fashion. First come the researchers who identify candidates, then come junior associates who qualify the candidates; and after that come the consultants and partners who do more in-depth interviews, assessments, and manage the engagement through its successful completion. Smaller firms and boutiques may cut out a layer or two, but teamwork in executive search is pretty standard practice. In our view, what is more important is whether those working on the engagement offer serious research expertise, business acumen, and added reach — the ability to tap candidates out of the grasp of other search firms.

  • What is your time-to-complete?

The most frequently measured metric cited by executive search clients is how long it takes to complete an engagement. But here, one must ask why that is. Often, a search firm has little control over how long it takes a company to schedule interviews and, ultimately, to make up its mind. A more telling metric is how long it takes a search firm to present the candidate who ultimately is hired. Without a doubt, finding, recruiting, and getting a top executive onboard in a timely fashion is tremendously important. Vacant executive positions exact a real cost in lost revenues, lost opportunities, overworked team members, poor morale, and increasing customer dissatisfaction. However, time-to-hire dominates because it is an easy metric to capture. Value is much harder to measure because it is qualitative. Yet value remains the most important metric of all.


Why You Need a Chief Data Officer

Why You Need a Chief Data Officer

Why You Need a Chief Data Officer

Gartner estimates that 90% of large global organizations will have a Chief Data Officer by 2019. If knowledge is power, hiring your company’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO) may be the shortest path to a competitive advantage.  According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, you hire a Chief Data Officer in order to compete with data.

Chief Data Officers Are Getting More Strategic

Initially, the first generation of CDOs were more tactical than strategic. They were brought in to lead data governance and data management. However, CIO.com reports that the role of Chief Data Officer is transitioning into one focused on how to best organize and use data as a strategic asset. Yet there remains a disconnect. Many CDOs still don’t have the resources, budget, or authority to drive digital transformation on their own. As a result, often the CDO needs to help the CIO drive transformation across the company. In essence, the CDO is fast becoming the CIO’s corporate wingman.

First Chief Data OfficerYour Chief Data Officer Will Need Data Scientists

That first Chief Data Officer will likely need data scientists.   Eventually, your CDO will also need a data lab, and a data factory. A data lab is where you do longer term, innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. A data factory is where you do more process-focused data analytics aimed at more immediate results.

Readying Leaders to Share the Data

Hiring your first Chief Data Officer also involves significant change management.  Your leadership, divisions, departments, and teams will need to be prepared to share their information. The walls of organizational silos must come down. In addition, when the Chief Data Officer serves up actionable intelligence, leadership must be prepared, after all, to act.  That action can bring about seismic shifts as your company morphs into an entity that is more competitive.

Start to Think about the Data

So how does a company begin its journey to hire a Chief Data Officer? Start to think about the data: where it exists and how it might be used.  Ask yourself what entities capture data specific to your business. In my former career as an investigative journalist, I learned that virtually every time a person interacts with the government, a record is created: that’s data. Today, virtually every time we interact with an electronic device, a record is created — every time we turn on our cell phone, send an email, visit a website, or scan in our credit card at the corner store. In addition to the data that your company captures, there are other data that are available for acquisition. Think about all the insights the data might hold. (More on this later.)

According to David Simchi-Levi, professor of engineering systems at MIT and head of the Accenture and MIT Alliance in Business Analytics, big data analytics addresses four kinds of questions:

  1. Descriptive: Tell me what happened.
  2. Diagnostic: Don’t just tell me what happened, tell me why it happened.
  3. Predictive: Tell me what will happen.
  4. Prescriptive: Tell me how I can I make it happen.

But there is one last question that CEOs must ask themselves as they consider the implications of the tsunami of data that is now available.

Tell me what happens if one my top competitors hires a Chief Data Officer first?

Since knowledge is power, the answer is obvious. Your competitor will have gained a significant competitive advantage. That is why a growing number of CEOs are deciding the time for their first Chief Data Officer has come.

What Does Executive Search Cost?

What Does Executive Search Cost?

Executive Search Firm Pricing

Search firm pricing is a top concern of executive search buyers. Whenever employers have an important board or senior-level opening to fill, it is reasonable to ask,”What does executive search cost?”

Of course, there is no easy answer: it all depends on how your company prefers to recruit and how important getting top talent is to your corporate strategy. The wide array executive search firms and recruiting services available means that executive search prices vary wildly.

However, I can give you a sense of what companies typically spend on an executive search by sharing common price ranges of various executive search services.


Is Your Executive Search Firm Ready for Big Data?

Is Your Executive Search Firm Ready for Big Data?

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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