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Is Your Executive Search Firm Ready for Big Data?

Big Data and Executive Search Best Practices

The executive search industry has witnessed a dramatic shift in how board and senior-level executives are recruited. But what has not yet changed is 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 since that was a long time before data became big, you know there is a problem.

Executive Search with Big Data

The average executive search firm lacks the data expertise to harness the power of Big Data. That deficit is what causes executive searches to fail. 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. Machine learning and artificial intelligence require data from which to learn and that data must be coherent.

Recruiters Lack Data Expertise 

Moreover, so much information is available that 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.  

Harness the Power of Data

Additionally, traditional retained search firms haven’t yet harnessed the power of data. That’s because they haven’t yet invested in the serious research expertise needed to gather information, analyze it, and extract actionable intelligence.

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 to traditional search firms and an opportunity for those of us who believe in harnessing the power of information.

(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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Krista Bradford

Krista Bradford

Krista Bradford is CEO of the retained executive search firm The Good Search and of its research division Intellerati. A former award-winning television journalist and investigative reporter, Ms. Bradford now pursues truth, justice, and great talent in the executive suite.View Author posts

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