Executive Recruitment in a “Never Normal” Era

Executive Recruitment in a “Never Normal” Era

The term “Never Normal” was recently coined by Ira S. Wolfe, a prominent commentator and author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization,” Wolfe argues that we live in a time when change happens at a much faster pace than before and we must always be prepared for the next big change.

The “Never Normal” era has also meant more power to the candidate. At our global executive search firm, IIC Partners, expert trainer Rachel Roche recently led a session on “Pitching Your Search”, outlining the current challenges of recruiting executive talent. The training focused on the unprecedented power that many candidates have in today’s job market.

A few months ago, Buffer published the staggering results of its most recent survey, showing that more than 94% of employees want to continue working remotely. And when workers and executives threaten to leave because their employers are not meeting their needs and wants, they mean it: is there a company not affected by the Great Resignation?

Today, executives can be more selective about the companies they work for and the roles they take on. They can ask for greater benefits, more flexibility, or the opportunity to do more meaningful and valued work. They can also be more specific about the type of work they want to do, the culture they want to be a part of and the values important to them.

You cannot hire executive talent today using the same recruiting methods you have been using for years. It starts with understanding what today’s executives are looking for. Late last year, I wrote about ‘The More‘ that executives are seeking in their careers, and currently, the power that rests in the hands of the candidate as a talent shortage in many sectors takes hold.

The change in our culture has prompted the evolution of the search consultant’s approach. No longer can we rely on the same elevator pitch that might have worked a decade ago. We must meet the executive where they are in their job search, and that means understanding what they are looking for before we even start the conversation. You must consider their need for work/life balance, commute, children’s education, housing costs, ethics, and vision.
In other words, it is no longer enough to simply understand whether a candidate has the qualifications, skills, and interest to assume a new position. We must find out from the first contact whether this position will be enough to entice someone to leave their current job. Today’s candidates want to know if they can make an impact. Will the role be challenging and fun? Does the company have a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) policy? What is their stance on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives and do they have a net zero commitment?
It’s time for a more nuanced understanding of what each candidate is looking for in their next role. With this knowledge, we can begin to build a case for why our client should be their top choice. We must show that we understand them as individuals with specific needs and wants.

When we take the time to understand what our candidates are looking for, only then can we start to put together a pitch that will resonate. And when we make that connection, the rest of the process falls into place. We can learn about their motivation for making a change, what’s important to them in their next role, and how they want to be developed and challenged.

That is why search firms such as IIC Partners are so valuable in today’s market: we care about the distinctions and subtleties that make each candidate unique, and we have the reach to find the perfect fit for our clients. With 40 member firms around the world, we develop solutions for our clients’ leadership and talent management requirements.