Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

02/04/2016 01.02 EST

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The digital age has truly become a playground for the recruiting industry in terms of our ability to find information. Pre-internet, there was an entire research industry dedicated to providing recruiting agencies with background information on potential candidates, including names, ages and a sliver of insight into what those people did for a living. It was a lengthy and expensive process. Today, as a skilled research amateur, I can personally find equivalent information in a concerted hour or two in front of my computer, and often for free.   We are all out there: our professional information can be found on LinkedIn, our personal lives on Facebook, our opinions crystallized on Twitter, our wants and desires on Pinterest, and our biases anonymized (sometimes badly) on reddit and 4chan. Whitepages will tell ages and marriage details, while Instagram makes birthdays and anniversaries clear. And, if you think Snapchat isn’t data mining your information, I’d say you’re naïve. It’s all out there for anyone with the time and inclination to look. This is a recruiter’s playground.   I’ve outlined in a previous blog how digital access to all of this information has made recruiters lazy. That’s because a large preponderance of professionals in our industry don’t go much beyond exploiting this access to contact information. They become direct email purveyors, spamming inboxes with undifferentiated messaging to the same effect and results of a credit card campaign. However, there’s a small subset of search professionals who really know how to...

Hong Kong Meeting

10/22/2015 02.46 EST

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I’ve just returned home from a global IIC Partners meeting which was held in Hong Kong this year.  We had three days of meetings with our partner firms from around the world, and spent a lot of time talking about talent, leadership, executive search and executive assessment.  There were 35 firms participating in the conference from around the world:  18 from Europe, the Middle East and Africa; 6 from Asia Pacific and 11 from the Americas.   I’m always struck by both the similarities and differences in our work across the globe, and I learn a great deal from our discussions of best practices, industry trends and new developments in our field.   Here are some observations and takeaways gleaned from the three-day meeting:   The Rise of Digital. One of the presentations focused on the explosion of digital tools that impact the executive search industry. Although our firm uses every one of the ten tools discussed, over 40% of the firms report that they don’t use social media resources at all.  That was a shocker to me. The world of retained executive search is diversifying. Many firms spoke about their executive assessment practices and the development of market mapping tools.  This is particularly true of firms in Europe, where retained executive search seems to be a bit less prevalent. While every firm is obsessed with how to provide the highest quality services in the shortest amount of time, there is a growing sentiment that excellent work...

If a Tree Falls in the Forest…

04/15/2013 10.43 EST

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For the past month (at least), I have been harassed daily (at least) by my colleague who is responsible for posting blog entries on our website.  Her job is not to write them – even though she has about 30 IQ points on me.  Instead, her job is to annoy me, occasionally with good humor, to be sure we regularly post interesting blogs related to our firm and the world of talent acquisition.   It wasn’t her idea to bug me; we asked her to do this.  It’s part of her job.  But she does embrace it with more passion and relish than anything else she does here.   But that’s not what I want to write about.  I want to write about why she has had to bug me for a month.  Sure, it takes time to write and I am constantly swamped.  It also requires that I come up with interesting topics – easier some days than others.   But I’m starting to think the reason I’ve been dragging my feet is because I don’t think anyone reads what I write.   Blogs are supposed to be one of the central social media marketing strategies for firms like ours who are trying to get noticed without spending tons of money on advertising.  We like that the blogs give us a chance to sound like the experts we are, maybe educate people along the way, and create a positive, attractive brand presence in our field.  Plus...

The Biggest Misconceptions about Executive Search

05/10/2012 01.26 EST

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I’m starting to think I am in a profession that almost no one understands.   Sixteen years ago, my partner, Sally Stetson, and I started a retained executive search firm. The field existed long before our entry into it and the essential service offering has changed very little. Employers retain us to find the best talent available to fill critical roles in their companies.   That’s about the only thing that hasn’t changed. Most of our clients now have substantial internal recruitment functions so that they can fill as many jobs as possible without outside help. As a result, we tend to be tapped for more senior level assignments or to fill positions that are particularly vexing for some reason or another.   Another big change is the internet of course. In 1996, when we opened our doors, we did research using various directories and reference books. We still have a few of them lying around, but I can’t find one dated after 2004.   How about email? When we started, the phone was everything. Of course, it was sometimes tough to get past the secretary who answered it – but that person has gone away, as well, by and large. With email, we can contact people directly and discreetly – and they can respond when and if they wish to.   In 1996, air travel was a lot easier and videoconferencing was just gaining traction. People tended to work in their offices and not their homes....

Advice for College Graduates

06/08/2011 09.00 EST

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“O brave new world! That hath such people in it!” … but where are all the jobs? Graduating from college is an exciting and anxious time for student and parent alike. Most students are thrilled to be relieved from the academic rigor but sad to depart from four years of a robust social life and friendships they have formed along the way. Parents look forward to seeing their child take this next step in his or her life, but are perhaps a bit perturbed that their newly minted graduate only half-listened when given the “you really need to be looking for a job” speech six to nine months ago. First, some good news. Many college graduates have already started their job searches, and due to the fact that employers are actively recruiting on campuses again and hiring is up 19.3% for 2011 grads, some have secured new jobs. This alone puts them ahead of the Classes of 2009 and 2010 who missed their window for campus recruitment due to the recession. However, a good percentage of this year’s graduating class is still on the hunt. Perhaps they didn’t focus on their job searches or were not as savvy on the best way to look for opportunities. Maybe they made the brave choice of majoring in English or Anthropology, majors for which most college career counseling offices are embarrassingly ill equipped to assist. For whatever reason, they are unemployed, on the hunt, and most likely living back in...