Headhunting firms are finding new ways to expand their services beyond executive search by adding practice areas like board advisory, succession planning, assessments and executive coaching. Cluen provides recruitment software to many of the world’s top recruitment alliances. As discussed in my previous article, we spoke with some of these networks to get insights on how search firms can get involved and keep up to date with the latest executive search trends.
How has the executive search market evolved in the past decade?
Disruption within the digital economy has led to the creation of leadership roles within various sectors. The issue is, these roles did not exist before, so you need a good tool to be able to search for talent with a complex set of skills and competencies. For example, a Chief Data Officer or Chief IoT would require a versatile background in enterprise data architecture, data quality and governance, business strategy, and business regulation compliance. More recruiters are truly depending on their technology and historical data when looking for candidates to fit these new roles that require such an intricate set of skills.
Joe Chappell, managing director, global marketing, and communications at Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants adds, “Technology has impacted every aspect of search especially in finding top talent and assessment. Current assessment techniques are more sophisticated with a suite of technology-based tools combined with in-depth interviewing, role-playing, case studies and situational responses evaluated by seasoned experts.”
“There is both an art and science to the profession. Clients are now looking to search firms as strategic advisors who provide counsel on a broader basis, including assessing leadership teams, advising boards on their effectiveness, succession planning, and culture shaping. The profession, just as the industries it serves, now requires much more agility. In a fast-paced, ever-shifting business climate accelerated by technology, we have to be at the forefront to best serve our clients with the expert advice and insights that we bring to each assignment.”
Cluen is committed to helping recruitment firms stay on top of and adjust to the industry’s rapid evolution. Recently, new regulations, such as GDPR and the U.S. compensation history laws, have imposed steep penalties that could devastate your recruitment business. To ensure compliance, we recommend establishing a clear plan for your team and technology. If you have questions about how to comply with these regulations, seek legal advice and reach out to your technology provider. At Cluen, we are actively working with firms to navigate these regulations and achieve compliance in their data management.
How are search firms developing services beyond traditional executive search?
We have noticed our clients are beginning to expand upon their service offerings especially in the area of executive assessments. Many firms bundle the two offerings as part of their recruitment process to make sure they find the best possible fit for a senior leadership role. The goal is to help the client enhance their talent selection, aid in the candidate’s development post-job acceptance, and potentially work with the client when it comes to building a succession plan for the future.
We have also noticed an increase in executive search firm mergers and have acted as strategic data conversion specialists during the data migration process. Our consensus is that these firms want to make sure they position themselves for growth and are able to serve in a broader market by leveraging another firms’ specialties.
Christine Hayward, Executive Director of IIC Partners explains, “At IIC Partners we have seen a number of our firms expand their offering into services that are of key importance at the Board and Executive level. In particular, there is a great deal of focus on succession planning, diversity and inclusion, assessment, coaching and organizational mapping. These services are complementary to executive search. Given the trusted nature of the relationship and the overarching view of the client’s business, our firms are in a unique position to advise in these areas.”
"Increasing demand for these new service offerings can be matched by executive search firms through several methods. Some executive search firms are acquiring firms and organizations with a niche specialty in these services, while others are expanding their internal capabilities by training teams on providing and delivering these new offerings to clients. Within IIC Partners, we are seeing many of our member firms across the globe partnering with other IIC Partners members that have a strong expertise in these new service offerings. This allows our member firms to provide clients with the highest quality service offerings through trusted collaboration and partnership”
My advice here is that your firm should personally reach out to some of your clients to see where you may be able to support them beyond the traditional executive search. You can do this by calling firms you have a good relationship with and asking for their input. We have even seen firms send out surveys to their networks to uncover which industries or verticals these additional services are needed the most.
Christine Hayward continues, “In many cases, the development and offering of these additional executive search services leads to new client relationships and gaining new business. These services provide clients the ability to vet and pursue new executive search firm partners with little up-front commitment and risk and vice versa. We have seen our own firms within IIC Partners utilizing these services as a competitive advantage and as an opportunity to initiate new discussions with clients, resulting in new search work.”
If you are an executive search firm looking to expand your executive search services to clients, merge with another firm to become more diverse or partner with a global alliance, consider a partnership with a trusted industry networks. Alternatively, if you need Board advisory, succession planning, assessments and executive coaching, global alliances can help.