Creating ‘cut-through’ in an ocean of information
Over the last 15+ years, the search industry, like most other sectors, has seen accelerating rates of technological change which have had a huge impact on transparency, direct communication and openness of information. The ‘smoke and mirrors’ and black-book exclusivity are long gone – which is a good thing for all sorts of reasons. It gives organisations and individuals far more visibility and therefore control over the process. It means headhunters must be increasingly focused on listening, understanding and adding value to their clients and the business leaders they work with. It also means that there are many routes to a potential new role for senior executives, and a wealth of data available to clients considering their next Board hire, which adds richness to any shortlist or candidate profile.
However, increased data does not always mean increased knowledge, and the key for all stakeholders is working out how best to navigate the mass of available information to create cut-through and impact. For senior executives searching for their next career move, one of the key considerations is to ensure the best return on the time invested – and below are some thoughts which might help, I hope the key take-out is that a balanced approach is often most effective, utilising new technology while continuing to invest in building personal relationships, which after all, are still at the heart of most business decisions.
I hate to start with Linkedin, but as the largest business network by some distance, it remains a crucial platform to build connections. It is also a ‘shop-window’ for your personal brand. You only have one chance to make a first impression as the old cliché goes, and these days Linkedin is often that first impression so it is important to make sure it counts. While we are talking about technology, we believe one of the implications of GDPR on the search industry will be an increase in ‘self-managed’ profiles. This will require a more proactive approach from individuals but will give more control over personal data. We expect a proliferation of platforms in this area, with ‘Not Actively Looking’ being one of the best early entrants. In addition to new technology platforms, building and maintaining relationships with search firms remains key. Most Director level appointments are still made through head-hunters so it makes sense to invest the majority of your time here.
The larger global search firms have extensive teams of researchers and analysts helping them map executive talent, so it is relatively easy to connect with them digitally and much less easy to build relationships unless they have a specific brief at the time. Where a more personal, relationship-driven approach can really pay dividends is in interactions with boutique headhunters who have expertise in your sector. You should find Senior Partners who are prepared to spend time understanding your aspirations and will provide insightful objective advice and guidance based on a broad view of the market – as well as talking to you about specific roles and opportunities.
As a final thought, the thing which still makes the head-hunting world go-round is advice and recommendations which are freely given by senior executives as part of our research and evaluation process. It makes sense to ensure you are available and willing to input when asked, so that when you need an output – both your network of stakeholders and the head-hunters you’ve assisted will be willing to go the extra mile to support your search.
If you would like a confidential discussion on your next move, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the Orcid Partners.
Contact: Louise Gatenby
Address: 49 Jamaica Street,
Liverpool, L1 OAH, UK
Phone: (0) 845 8055958