Responding to a Changing World

Responding to a Changing World

Almost 100 search professionals from around the world attended the IIC Partners Global Conference & AGM in Stockholm.

We heard about the trends affecting the executive search industry, how firms are reacting to meet the demands of their clients and networked with our colleagues.


The zipper, phone handset and adjustable wrench.  Sweden has always been at the forefront of technology advancement, most recently with the creation of Spotify and Skype.  The country was the perfect backdrop to discuss disruption and innovation.  Our programming focused on local speakers who had developed or were involved with products and services that were challenging the traditional way of doing things.

Executive search is often criticized as a profession that has not changed over the last 30 years.  That is simply not true anymore.  Technology has enhanced and assisted recruitment by enabling efficiencies at all stages of the process, whether that be identifying prospects, interviewing candidates or creating client reports.

The central foundation of executive search as a networking business remains unchanged. But clients are demanding more. Highly complicated searches must be done faster with a diverse slate of qualified candidates presented — the search firms that can respond to that challenge are the ones that will succeed.  Search consultants that have built experience within a specific industry or function, and who effectively manage their network are able to uncover those hard to find candidates.  The insight, judgement and expertise that a search consultant brings to their role cannot be replicated by a machine or algorithm (at least not yet!).

Our industry will continue to utilize increasingly sophisticated technology to assist in candidate identification and qualification, but the value that relationship driven search consultants bring to the process won’t be easily replaced.  This is, after all, an industry built on human relationships.


The challenge to attract and retain top talent is often cited as one of the biggest issues for business leaders.  What is clear is that organizations are recognizing the role that search firms can play in their talent management strategy beyond carrying out an executive search assignment. 

As clients look for help with this issue, search firms are uniquely positioned to assist, and the development of additional service offerings provided by IIC Partners firms reflects this.  When we did an analysis of our membership leading up to our meeting in Sweden, over 85% of our firms were actively providing services such as leadership assessments, market mapping the talent pool, assisting with coaching and onboarding services or helping with a succession plan.

The best search firms understand their client’s strategy, business and culture, and these core talent management services can help their client to attract and retain leading talent. 


How do we negotiate the rapid pace of change, remaining at the forefront of industry in order to recognize and recruit the critical talent necessary for our clients?  Within IIC Partners, we thrive on the opportunity change brings.  Our members share a natural curiosity and desire to be better search consultants. The drive to collaborate with one another across the globe, to share best practices, and to explore industry trends allow us to better serve our clients

During our meeting, we had the opportunity to share learnings, to hear and understand the challenges faced by our firms and to take the time to learn from experts, both inside and outside the search industry who shared their perspectives on our changing world.

The Conference provided a platform for our firms from around the world to discuss how to leverage these trends in order to better their clients.  Thank you to our members for their participation, and we look forward to being together again at our next Global Meeting in 2019.

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