White Paper: 2023 Top Trends in Executive Search Technology

What do experts do to get ahead of the competition?

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White Paper: 2023 Top Trends in Executive Search Technology

What do experts do to get ahead of the competition?

The unique process that executive recruiters follow to place their candidates differs throughout the industry and even from firm to firm. Beyond that, new technology is always emerging—those that stay tuned in will get ahead. With Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) being such a hot topic, it’s become more important than ever to stay ahead of the trends and take a proactive approach to optimizing your process.

So how does a forward-thinking executive search professional like yourself ensure your firm is positioned for maximum success? Are you familiar with the tech tools your peers are using? How do the most successful firms win business, research and develop candidates, collect and leverage data, all while accelerating the whole process?

In this white paper, you will uncover the upcoming technology trends in the executive search space based on Cluen’s 2023 industry surveys. With the executive search industry constantly adapting to the changing market, it has become increasingly important to streamline processes and leverage innovative technologies to succeed in the “new normal.” Cluen’s research brings a deep understanding of the latest industry trends and enables you to better innovate for the future.


Process Automation

Let's look at your current process.

  • Have you been looking to improve team efficiency and effectiveness?
  • Is data kept organized and secure?
  • Are the client relationships collaborative enough to avoid miscommunication?
  • Is Business Development closely monitored so that all new opportunities are maximized?  

If one step in your process typically follows another, you may be looking for some relief through process automation. Many search teams are deploying automation of their process using technology. Any manual process repeated across the team and over time is a good target to review. 

Even if a rules-based automation isn’t 100% perfect, the trade-off of saved minutes and hours of effort (which may also have human error anyway) is worth carefully considering. It is especially compelling for those tasks that are simply not getting done today, due to lack of available time. 

Top systems like Cluen’s Encore Max, with proper configuration to your exact processes, minimize time wasted and allow for automation of data entry, client reporting, email outreach and more so you can effectively win and complete more searches.  

As you read on, you will uncover more solutions to considerably cut time. 


Here are 6 automation techniques we are seeing evolve rapidly

  • Workflows: Eliminate repetitive tasks by automating your workflows. One complete task triggers the next task, working for you behind the scenes. 
  • Integrations: Now you can work with Encore Max data directly from each contact’s LinkedIn page with our latest LinkedIn Plug-in partnership. New Data Connector and Web Menu services allow for linkage to thousands of other systems. 
  • Email Marketing: Track email analytics natively when you use Encore Max’s “Email Blast” tool, integrated with your Microsoft or Google mailbox. Connect with the contacts who are most likely to be receptive at the right time, automate data updates, and flag new actions in real-time. 
  • Status Reporting: Setting automation rules and pre-set templates lets you create branded, customized client status report templates in one click–or you can rely on rules-based automation for real-time web reporting portal(s) with zero clicks. 
  • Seamless Data Entry: The power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) does the heavy lifting for you. By automatically connecting the dots between data from tools like LinkedIn with your team’s email communications, search execution efforts, and documents all in one hub, you leverage more insight with less effort.  
  • Data Visualization: Consolidate executive search data analysis in automated ‘push’ visualizations. Why rely on support team(s) to generate your key information analyses, when smart systems can have the results ready for you at all times? 


Generative AI: Applied to Executive Search

Without a doubt, the biggest trend in 2023 has been the use of Generative Artificial Intelligence. Forbes predicted an annual growth of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030. As it continues to revolutionize various industries, expert executive search professionals are looking to apply it to their strategies. If you can’t find deeper insights in data, quickly and at scale, your competitors will. 

Cluen was one of the first developers to include OpenAI-powered features specifically for Executive Search.

Looking at results from your peers in our survey, here are just a few ideas that Generative AI can help you take to fruition. Start off-loading some of that administrative work so you can effectively close more searches. 

  • Candidate and Company Profiles/Summaries 
  • Relationship ‘Nurture’ 
  • Categorizing and Matching 
  • Various administrative support (scheduling, transcripts, etc.) 

What business processes might you use AI for in our search process?

Screenshot 2023-11-16 115414

ChatGPT applied to Executive Search

ChatGPT creates text based on its training on much of the data on the Internet, with facts around two years old. (ChatGPT 3.5 training was on data only through September 2021, ChatGPT 4, at the time of our publication, is trained through January 2022.) 

You should not expect perfect results directly from a large language model like ChatGPT, but with some fact-checking and quick edits you can get something that is presentation-ready and acceptable for business use.

What Generative AI products is your firm using?

Screenshot 2023-11-16 115849

While there are other tools in the market, in 2023, far more executive search professionals 
use ChatGPT or “nothing” than any of the other primary tools available today. The results 
add up to over 100% due to cases where firms have adopted more than one product.


ChatGPT: Effective prompting

Prompt engineering has become an increasingly important skill for those in the world of AI, especially for an effective interaction with ChatGPT. Once you’ve identified your objective and call-to-action, you can begin employing these AI tools to a greater capacity. Understanding how to ask the questions is crucial to getting the results you need. 

From our survey, here are a few prompts that you may find helpful in identifying, evaluating, and preparing candidates while also staying informed about industry trends and talent availability. 

  • Candidate screening 

"Please analyze and summarize the resumes of the top three candidates for the VP of Sales position at our company, highlighting their relevant experience, skills, and any red flags." 

  • Candidate Sourcing  

"Generate a list of potential candidates with at least 5 years of experience in data analytics for a senior data scientist role in the San Francisco Bay Area." (given the local regulations and outdated data, best to think of this as a starting point for research and sourcing, and not as target name ID) 

  • Interview Prep  

"Provide a list of common behavioral interview questions for a Director of Marketing role, along with suggested follow-up questions to assess cultural fit." 

  • Talent Pipelining 

"Help me create a talent pipeline of software engineers with expertise in machine learning. Include their names, LinkedIn profiles, and a brief summary of their recent projects." 

  • Market Research 

"Compile a report on emerging trends and skillsets in the cybersecurity industry for the next 2-5 years. Include recommendations on how our company can attract and retain top talent in this field." 


Self-Service Data Collection

Trends are showing the growing need for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies in all situations. Cluen has led efforts to support search teams around the world in their data work around diversity and inclusion, enabling industry experts like you to lead by example. 

Diversity and Inclusion 

Collecting this data from candidates and contacts presents multiple challenges. Historically, when it came to DEI data, you would have to either directly ask the person, guess, or use other ways that present multiple challenges. Cluen saw this as an opportunity to create more transparency between candidates and clients for collection of data in a simple consensual way. Untitled-2

Position yourself and your firm for a solid DEI strategy. Allowing candidates to offer their own Ethnicity and/or Gender identity ensures you collect the specific data you are looking for without making any mistakes. With our state-of-the-art data security, you can also be confident the information will only be shared between you and your chosen recipient(s). 


Have you ever had a unique set of questions you’d love to ask as either an initial screening or to develop more depth on candidates’ profiles to provide your client?

Encore Max's ”Survey” tool lets you send out surveys and see results directly in the database. Save your precious time from tedious data collection and entry and instead engage with your clients and candidates. Automating your process as such ensures compliance and a strong commitment to DEI.


Business Development

Where are you managing it?

Screenshot 2023-11-15 152920

Building and nurturing relationships takes interpersonal skills and insights from all the information gleaned throughout the process of executing searches. Having that data for reference at your fingertips is critical in finding and winning new deals.  

Over 30% of respondents are not managing their new Business Development relationships in their executive search database. Lacking this tool and process could result in missed opportunities. 

If it has been challenging to organize your team’s potential new business opportunities, consider a top tool like Encore Max’s Business Development tool (“BD”) that will help you manage your pipeline with the absolute minimal effort and data entry.

Adopting this integrated system allows for measurement of progress and a forecast of the future. Without an integrated system, you wouldn’t be able to leverage all the hard work of relationship building during the execution of your searches when it comes to developing new leads, nurturing key relationships and pitching new business. Screenshot 2023-11-15 153225


Encore Max’s “BD” dashboard allows you to:

  • Focus on the most important prospects 
  • View a pipeline of potential business 
  • Forecast revenues by consultant, practice or whole team 
  • Support your internal Business Development reporting and team meetings 




Trending technology tools

These are the top tools executive search professionals are using to assess their candidates and conduct third party research to supplement their process. Where do your tools rank against your peers?

Candidate Assessment

Screenshot 2023-11-16 095514

Third Party Research

Screenshot 2023-11-16 114209

Email Blasting

The majority of survey respondents are not using any specific tool to email blast their contacts, nor are they able to accurately report on the analytics behind the email ‘clicks’ and ‘opens.’ This would be an invaluable time saver to help you keep a close eye on the most important candidates.  

Screenshot 2023-11-16 114333

Document Storage

These are the top tools executive search professionals are using to keep their documents safely stored and organized, as well preferred communication tools both for internal and external use.
Screenshot 2023-11-16 114534


Screenshot 2023-11-16 114534


Which strategy will you apply first?

Now that you’ve gotten familiar with the insightful industry trends, we hope you will feel confident implementing at least one new idea to increase your team’s effectiveness in the coming year. By identifying the technology and tools innovators like yourself are implementing in their process, you can rest assured you have positioned yourself and your firm ahead of the curve. 

The need to stay on top of the most recent technology in a rapidly changing market becomes more crucial as new trends emerge in the executive search space. Now, you can ensure that you are employing the best resources, strategies and tools to get ahead of your peers. Search firms that leverage technology to move faster will win the battle for the future. 

How do you feel about the impact of AI on the Executive Search industry?

Screenshot 2023-11-16 114803

Who we are: Cluen 

Cluen has decades of recruitment database development and implementation experience spanning six continents. Our technology helps organizations nurture important relationships, track historical data, and win new business. Cluen's browser-based solution, Encore Max, is used by executive search professionals around the world, with solutions for one-person boutiques and global enterprise deployments.  

What we offer: Encore Max 

Encore Max has the leading technology that goes beyond simple time savings, to nurture important relationships, track historical data, and win new business. Automating key administrative steps in your search process allows for long-term achievement of your key business goals with less wasted time. Our experts are here to share their expertise in relationship-driven recruiting and data management, regardless of which software you use – if you have ever had the feeling that ‘there’s got to be a better way’, then we probably have some vital information for you. Contact us today. 

Not a client? 

Email our Sales team directly: Sales@cluen.com 

Already a client? 

Schedule more training: MoreTraining@cluen.com 

For a quick response: Support@cluen.com 


Click to read this White Paper in PDF

Cluen has decades of recruitment database development and implementation experience spanning six continents. Our technology helps organizations nurture important relationships, track historical data, and win new business. Cluen's cloud-based solution, Encore, is used by executive recruiters, legal recruiters, in-house talent acquisition teams, government entities, universities, and venture capital/private equity firms all over the world. Our experts are here to share their expertise in relationship-driven recruiting and data management, regardless of which software you use.

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