Executive Search Practices and Embracing Change

Executive search practices are rapidly evolving, growing to encompass far more than traditional recruitment services. Due to a number of factors, the need for a more expansive recruiting process has gained traction. In addition, firms are beginning to offer services that extend far beyond simply choosing the right candidate for a position. They are starting to offer services that focus not only on the immediate hiring process, but on the continued success of the candidate and the company.

Businessman flying towards new business opportunities

Why are executive search firms playing a more comprehensive role?

There are a number of reasons why executive search firms are expanding their services. Primarily, leadership roles are growing increasingly complex; in other words, they need to be filled by individuals who have a more diverse set of skills. Some of these leadership roles are quite new, resulting in little background or basis for exactly how they should be filled.

These never-before-seen roles largely resulted from rapid advancements and changes within the digital economy. As a result, search firms needed to evolve in order to adequately fill these positions. The talents and background necessary to succeed in these new leadership roles is diverse and complex, meaning that traditional recruiting is simply not adequate to fill roles such as these. As leadership roles evolve, recruitment techniques must  evolve with them.

In addition, companies have started looking at search firms as more than a way to secure top talent. As roles have grown more multifaceted, so has their development. This means that the search firms extend their reach beyond the initial placement of a candidate.

How are executive search firms expanding their services?

Joe Chappell, managing director of global marketing and communications with the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants, stated in a recent Forbes article that clients are beginning to see search firms as “strategic advisors who provide counsel on a broader basis.” They now assess leadership teams, analyze the effectiveness of advising boards, offer succession planning, and help to shape the company’s culture.

Essentially, the search firm is now acting as a more comprehensive partner in the company’s overall development. In addition to finding the best candidate for the position, search firms are also playing a role in the development of the candidate after he or she is hired. It’s growing more evident that the relationship between modern search firms and their clients is extending much further into the future.

Search firms are also placing a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Focusing on diversity within leadership roles is beneficial to the preservation of the company, making sure that a range of skill sets, backgrounds, and experiences are represented.

Searching for a greater diversity of background and an increasingly complex set of skills requires more extensive headhunting practices. In addition to providing more comprehensive services, search firms also need to practice more comprehensive search tactics. This means combining technological search practices with more in-depth interviewing and assessment techniques. These can include practices such as role-playing in an effort to determine how the candidate would respond in certain situations.

In order to guarantee that executive search firms are providing clients with the services that they want and need, many are forming partnerships with other organizations that specialize in the desired set of extended services. As the services offer by executive search firms continue to grow more varied, the need for potential partnerships increases. These collaborations are beneficial for the search firms and for the clients because it guarantees that all desired services are executed in the most effective manner possible. It positions the search firms for growth and opens up the possibility to gain more clients.

Other search firms are choosing to focus their development internally, training staff to deliver the more extensive services to their clients. Whether a search firm chooses to partner with another organization or to focus internally, they can reach out to clients to determine what services each company requires beyond traditional recruitment practices. The idea of the new executive search firm is developing with shifting client needs, so this level of communication is essential for the future growth and longevity of the organization.

The goal of executive search firms and their clients now extends far beyond simply finding top talent. It’s about making sure that the position is enhanced to the best extent possible. This means working with the client to find the candidate, but it also means making sure that the candidate’s post-hire development is smooth and long-lasting. This includes working with the client each step of the way:  from finding the employee to planning for that employee’s succession.

Leadership Boss Management Coach Chief Global Concept

As technology advances and more leadership roles are required for the success of companies, the role that executive search firms play will continue to evolve. It’s likely that the relationship between companies and the headhunting firms that help staff them will grow closer and more involved as positions require new and more intricate skill sets.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200