Sarah McGimpsey

The Evolution of Executive Search 

Executive search like all industries has an “image”. Often the perception is of sharp suits, gold embossed corporate logos, grey hair and a little black book. The search process itself is often considered slow – taking a long time from initial brief to appointment. Whilst this is a touch anachronistic, there is, as in all industries, the stereotype that persists.

The landscape within Executive Search has, of course, evolved and is continuing to do so, due in part to the ever shifting and often volatile business climate along with rapid advances in technology and a new generation of executive recruiters.

Agility and working at pace have become important to clients who want to respond quickly, embrace transformational change and don’t want to wait 6 months or longer to appoint and then have to factor in long notice periods. Agility and pace haven’t typically been associated with Executive search where exhaustive and thorough research needs to be undertaken. However, at Artemis we don’t believe these things are mutually exclusive and our speed of response is appreciated by our clients.

Our clients are often companies that are experiencing rapid growth, going through transformational change and embracing it. The business community, like all of us, have had to negotiate unprecedented global events (political, social, economic and health) that seem to have followed each other in rapid succession. As these companies evolve to meet consumer demands and deal with these events, so too must the Executive Search industry.

Ongoing upskilling and professional development in key areas allow us to offer further added value to our clients. At Artemis we take professional and personal development seriously to keep ahead of industry trends and deliver at the highest level on every assignment.

I recently became accredited by Thomas International in personality profiling which has been invaluable in helping identify strong candidates that fit behaviourally and culturally to my client’s needs.  When recruiting for senior leadership roles the personality, character and behaviours of the individual are what will ultimately decide how they approach the business, how they lead and how they will complement the other senior postholders.

Personality profiling allows us as recruiters to match behaviours to organisations. It can tell us how entrepreneurial, sociable, driven or task orientated the shortlisted candidates are. Whilst important in understanding and differentiating between candidates these tools are only part of the process but can add real value and offer insight that otherwise remains entirely subjective.

I also recently got my Certificate in Executive Research through industry accredited Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants.  Research forms a huge part of Executive search and is instrumental in the search process. Many Executive search firms outsource this to a research consultant. In the main, at Artemis, we prefer to undertake our own research allowing us to have complete ownership and control of the search process acting as an extension of our client’s business. Working in close collaboration with our clients we can offer valuable market insights and real, tangible results every step of the way.

Another aspect of executive search that has risen in prominence over the last few years is employer branding.

Showcasing our clients and giving them visibility as “Employers of choice” is something that Executive Search firms embrace and at Artemis we believe this should be front and centre of any non-confidential assignment we undertake. Offering candidates a compelling reason to consider your company is what takes them from indifferent and passive to active, interested and invested.

Additional consultancy services including succession and skills gap planning are another area where Executive search consultants can add real insights and value outside of the typical search function.

Like many industries the Executive Search sector is evolving and innovating whilst holding true to established tenets and will continue to adapt to new landscapes and emerging technology. At Artemis Executive we want to be at the front of this change.