Why Executive Search Needs to Change

30 November 2020
Why Executive Search Needs to Change

If hearing the phrase ‘executive search’ makes you reach for the Xanax bottle, don’t worry. You are most definitely not alone. In fact, I’m right there with you. That’s right, the founder of a disruptive executive search firm doesn’t like executive search. Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, I love it. What I don’t like is how the wider industry has become something of an old-fashioned boys’ club.

The secret search societies

What I see when I look at the executive search industry today is an exclusive, members-only society shrouded in secrecy. Not quite Illuminati levels of secrecy, but definitely somewhere Order of the Phoenix-y. And by that, I don’t mean big plans to bring down the Death Eaters (although what other recruiters do in their free time isn’t any of my business). What I do mean is that there’s this inherent culture of concealment, of darkness, and of opacity that only a select few ever get to see through.

Why? Why is traditional executive search built on this idea of hiding things from clients? I don’t get it. Please, if you can shed any light on this, I’m all ears. Really. But I’ve been in the industry for nearly a decade, and I’m yet to see how running clients around the block, telling them that a 6-week search will take 12 weeks, and adding on a pile of hidden expenses at the end is doing anyone any good at all.

The only reason I can see for this is that, in the industry, we’ve still got a lot of old-school recruiters. They’re old-fashioned, they’re a bit clunky, and they’re still using ancient processes and relying on a slow, outdated talent acquisition model. This is the 21st century. Isn’t it about time that we caught up?

Modernising executive search

Executive search needs to change. And that’s exactly why I founded Innovex. Like clients, I just got fed up with all the bad in the industry. So I decided to actually try and make a difference, rather than resigning myself to just being another cog, spinning in an effort to keep the old boys’ club running. I first dipped my toes into this back in New York while I was working for another firm. I tried something different, and halved the time it took to generate a shortlist. So why are so many recruiters still dragging their heels?

Innovex isn’t built on secrecy. It’s built on relationships, which are everything to me. Just by doing things a little differently, I can safely say that Innovex delivers a shortlist in less time, and for less money. And there’s no magic. No smoke and mirrors. No secrecy. It’s simply a case of having more energy and more ambition to do things better. We work at the same level, in more depth, but in a more efficient manner, to get quicker results.

I’m not going to say that Innovex is unique. And I really, truly hope it isn’t. I hope there’s at least one other executive search firm out there that sees through all of this. I want to believe that there are others who can see what’s wrong with the industry today. What I will say is that Innovex is refreshing. It’s rooted in honesty, transparency, affordability, and people-centricity. We don’t see enough of that these days, but at least some of us are starting to make a difference.

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