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Executive Search in 2016

07/07/16 Andy Raymond Director, Redline Executive

Executive search is a sensitive and confidential recruitment process often focussing on the top level of leadership roles for an organisation. Clients clearly value being advised by experts who can be trusted based on their industry and functional expertise, and their ability to engage with and entice the best candidates from both local and international sources.

Here at Redline Executive, we have seen a myriad of changes in the executive search sector over the last decade. In the mid 2000’s, there was a ‘war for talent’ with employers offering a selection of perks and benefits to attract capable D and C level candidates and then throughout the economic downturn, it seemed that executive candidates were simply looking for a job. This resulted in employers finding themselves with a surfeit of talent and could select from the finest of candidates. As a consequence, employers became comfortable with being the sole arbiter of whether an executive candidate took a position with their organisation and adopted a rather high-handed attitude towards the talent market. As the economy has recovered, old has now reincarnated as new and many employers are realising it is more and more difficult to find the right leader for their organisation.

To the point, the market for executive talent has changed significantly, and an organisations approach to hiring executive talent should focus on the following understandings:

The 50/50 proposition

The consistent approach reflecting the fit between an executive and an opportunity needs to work equally from both sides. The opportunity being presented should provide a robust step forward for the executive’s career aspirations and should represent a significant area of development to the client’s organisation. If your organisation requires a VP level candidate but is offering a Director level title and salary, the expectations are out of alignment in terms of the proposition. It is doubtful that the organisation would find a top performer and the individual would accept a lesser role, the organisation will more than likely be conducting another search for the same role in a few months’ time.

Can your ‘opportunity representative’, represent the opportunity?

Executive search requires strong, thorough, in-depth and a knowledge-led recruitment experience. It is more than a conversation between a recruitment company and a candidate. To recruit the best and brightest executives, it is also far more than a list of names. A search executive or head of search needs to know who is good and needs to reach beyond traditional recruiting resources for competitive advantage. We all know that there is a treasure trove of prospective candidate information that exists outside of resumes and social networks. This is only captured by the conversation, experience and intelligence of the best executive search organisation when seeking the like of the next CEO, Managing Director or Sales Director.

Better to get hurt by the truth, than to be comforted with a lie

Transparency is of most importance in the recruitment sector and it is even more vital in the executive search sector. Executive candidates want to know about the brief, the role, its remit, the company, its culture, its values and the clients criteria in vetting applicants. A search firm cannot be naïve. Employers need to be honest with what they want from a new executive hire. Ambiguous goals are unachievable and today’s top talent require both sides of the hiring equation to meet personal career goals whilst successfully managing an organisation. The employer and talent both need to feel that the match is solid where both parties feel they are partnering for increased organisational success.

Andrew Raymond, Head of Redline Executive comments: ‘Executive search is a relationship business. The biggest opportunity for the next year is building and maintaining trusted relationships with our clients. We have spent over 35 years building these relationships and we know from feedback from our clients that we are chosen as a search firm for Technology and Engineering recruitment sectors based on our industry/functional expertise, professionalism, objectivity and confidentiality’.

‘The biggest challenge is really the market changes and market development around procuring and finding hard to find talent, it has meteorically transformed. This has been impacted by the demand in technical requirements. In my experience, the strongest candidates in the market should have a strong technical background as a necessity and compliment the requirements for an organisations future and innovations regardless of if it's a Technical Director job or a Managing Director job.

For more information visit Redline Executive or to continue the conversation you can contact me Andy Raymond on +44 (0)1582 878907 or email