• Internal

Executive Search with Depth — Part X:
Consultancy in the Highest League

  • Internal

What is the differ­ence between exec­u­tive search and tradi­tion­al recruit­ment consult­ing?

To mark Valdivia’s third birth­day, we would like to take the oppor­tu­ni­ty of turn­ing the spot­light on our indus­try and respond to this ques­tion, which we are being asked quite frequent­ly. We have present­ed our special way of work­ing, the VALDIVIA Exec­u­tive Search Process, to you over the past few years as a series1 . This arti­cle today focus­es on the fine art of creat­ing harmo­nious tran­si­tions in the most sensi­tive areas of corpo­rate responsibility.

The target groups

The most obvi­ous distin­guish­ing feature is our target group, which is focussed exclu­sive­ly on indi­vid­u­als at the high­est deci­sion-making levels. This applies to clients as well as to the major­i­ty of candi­dates. Find­ing access here alone requires more than a convinc­ing commit­ment, utmost discre­tion and exten­sive expe­ri­ence. It also requires a first-class repu­ta­tion as well as person­al, in-depth contacts and recom­men­da­tions. All of this can only be achieved through years of consis­tent perfor­mance. Because at this level, nobody risks recom­mend­ing a consul­tan­cy which  does not have an outstand­ing repu­ta­tion. Our inten­sive ground­work is also based on the trust that top deci­sion-makers only place in a few.

The prepara­to­ry work

Compa­nies and deci­sion-makers who give a mandate to a recruit­ment consul­tan­cy gener­al­ly expect a partic­u­lar posi­tion to be filled quick­ly. In exec­u­tive search, the time hori­zons are consid­er­ably longer; expe­ri­ence shows that this complex process takes an aver­age of four to six months or more from the first assign­mentof the mandate to the sign­ing of the contract by the success­ful candidate.

Above all, we analyse the require­ments situ­a­tion in detail before we send the first enquiries to poten­tial candi­dates. This includes summaris­ing the client’s require­ments in such a way that they corre­spond to the level of respon­si­bil­i­ty and salary of the posi­tion. It is also impor­tant to look beyond current needs and assess what require­ments and char­ac­ter­is­tics will be need­ed for the posi­tion in ques­tion in the coming years. Some­times we also work with the client to find alter­na­tive solu­tions that better meet their needs or are easi­er to realise.

The depth

The VALDIVIA exec­u­tive search process is rather more demand­ing and labour-inten­sive than fill­ing a vacan­cy in the special­ist area or middle manage­ment. In the area of exec­u­tive search, it is a prereq­ui­site to work togeth­er with the client on an equal foot­ing and in very close consul­ta­tion. This often involves sever­al first appoint­ments, during which we not only clar­i­fy facts, but also analyse and get to know the compa­ny and its culture in detail.

Over­all, the way we work requires an inten­sive effort at every step, which tradi­tion­al recruit­ment consul­tan­cies can hard­ly repli­cate with their work­ing meth­ods. The same applies to the complete trans­paren­cy of our process­es through week­ly status report­ing on our digi­tal client portal and the prepa­ra­tion of inter­views with clients. For top manage­ment posi­tions, for exam­ple, there are signif­i­cant­ly more inter­views with extend­ed manage­ment circles and other stake­hold­ers than in the day-to-day work of a recruit­ment consultancy.

The respon­si­bil­i­ty

A mistake in the selec­tion of candi­dates can cost a recruit­ment consul­tan­cy its client. Howev­er, if we make a mistake in fill­ing a top deci­sion-maker posi­tion, the conse­quences can have far-reach­ing conse­quences for an entire compa­ny. Exec­u­tive search requires not only a high­ly devel­oped instinct and sense of respon­si­bil­i­ty. For us, this also includes inde­pen­dence from uncon­di­tion­al success: We are more like­ly to refrain from fill­ing a posi­tion before we fill the wrong person or place an unre­al­is­tic job profile on the market.

The joy of our work

We value our work high­ly and see it as a combi­na­tion of art and craft. In doing so, we allow ourselves an atti­tude that is certain­ly unusu­al for service providers in the recruit­ment indus­try: we only place candi­dates if we are convinced that the constel­la­tion real­ly fits and has a chance of success. But then we are happy to get involved and go the extra mile to find the best possi­ble solu­tion. At the same time, we take the pres­sure off the client, who can devote more time to their own tasks thanks to our support during the search process.

1 Find all arti­cles about our exec­u­tive search process in our news­room section “Inter­nal”.

(Image source: iStock Photos)