The Future of Executive Search
Executive Search (Headhunting) reaches the age of maturity. Will new technologies, capable of crossing millions of data on companies and their leaders, overcome the most seasoned Executive Search Consultants? Nothing is less sure.
“For ALSPECTIVE, Executive Search remains an art exercised by experienced advisors, to motivate bold talents to invent possible futures in another company”.

In fifty years of existence, headhunting has become a science, deploying a rigorous process:

– Direct leadership search

– To offer a choice of solutions (at least three) as possible answers to an identified need: a new key executive (M / F) for an organization. The methodology is relentless: definition of a target profile, search of 100+ relevant contacts, ten appointments, three finalists selected, up to one recruited leader. It is a statistical law, almost mathematical. However, each mission is a unique project.

1. The digital world as a new tool for the Executive Search industry

However methodical it may be, conservative and classic, it can be seen in the eyes of some, Executive Search is transformed at high speed and integrates all new technologies.Here are some illustrations:

Data management. What do dating sites of people, CV screening machines will do: to sort millions of profiles in a few milliseconds…The use of cloud (remote), and data security (confidentiality), are two instruments of the future of Executive Search

– Support of social networks.Digital transforms the search for talent: end of classifieds, searches by keywords, solicitations of communities, online selection tools … For the heart of its business, the connection, Executive Search relies on all available tools and makes choices according to the sectors, countries, populations targeted…

Its territory is the world. No leadership hunt is limited to a region or a country. The talent sought may be far or ideally rubbed with other cultures. The first interviews will take place at a distance, reserving the face to face at the final stage of selection.

Complex assessments and enhanced guarantees. With larger governance involved in all strategic decisions, decision-making becomes collegial and more complex. Consequently, Executive assessments, especially for a better “cultural fit” between the company and the candidates,
will be part of the executive search expertise, on the one hand… and more guarantees,to protect the clients from all stressful risks, on the other hand, become complementary dimensions of Executive Search, essential for the success of this “Industry”.

The 7 revolutions of the headhunting market of the future


Executive Search can only be professional, plural and international.


Search Firms will integrate new technologies in their CRM and methodological tools, combining distance, data and security.


Consultants will not only hunt leaders, they will advise leaders (long-term vision & sense, throughout their careers).


The market will seek new types of Leaders,/span>
more Collegiate to motivate employees in a world where people think (too much) to “serve themselves” rather than to “serve others”.


The leadership will be open, attentive and capable of giving attention (care), bold, diverse and agile (dare), multicultural and able to embrace the whole planet in the long term (share).


Leadership will integrate more and more societal dimensions (governance, stakeholders, environment, geography, long term, corporate culture, employee engagement, pressure at work, mindfulness, innovation, team, digital, etc.).


In interviews, we will welcome multiple insights and we will talk more about the future than the past.


« Care, Dare, Share », three essential dimensions of leadership.
(source : ALSPECTIVE Leadership Index)

2. The art of “Leadership Advisory”The recruitment of a leader can never be summarized with numbers, words (or key words) or sorts of CV.

Executive Search includes the art of apprehending also from non-quantifiable.
Define the sense of the long-term strategic need that lies behind a job description, and how it will impact the life of the Future Recruited Talent (and his/her family);
Pushing the client “to the limit”, outside his comfort zone in which he reassures himself by seeking a reproduction of the past (whereas the successor will never be the leaver);
Have the boldness to look for profiles with real and high potential (and not having only succeeded in another era);
To convince the best talents to join a company head they had not thought/dreamt of.
Executive Search becomes the art of inventing, with profiles under construction, possible optional futures for the company.

Executive Search is also the art of incorporating increasingly complex dimensions of leadership.
There are skills that are not learned in schools (even the best “Grandes Ecoles” ones), which escape the accumulation of knowledge

and experience, and which a consultant will have to evaluate: emotions, daring, Failure, how to succeed in life, decision-making, etc. These are valuable assets for leadership, underlined by the recent enthusiasm for emotional quotient (EQ) in addition to the IQ. Candidates can also be enlightened on three essential dimensions of leadership: care, dare, share (sens, agilité, partage). They are nowhere in a CV and are useful to all positions, managers and firms (see diagram above).
Executive Search industry is still developing at a record level.
Globally, according to the AESC, the professional Organisation of best Search Firms Worldwide, the year 2016 recorded a 4.4% increase compared to the record year 2015, with $ 12.9 billion in revenue.
… … and is still growing, thanks to two major trends for the sector that contribute to its growth:
Expansion into new markets: Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa;
Diversification into consultancy for leadership, in addition to the hunting activity, for all firms: the largest global player, listed on the stock exchange after five acquisitions, declared 50% of its turnover outside hunting.

Our advice to candidates-leaders of the future

A Head-hunter sees you as a leader. Try not to disappoint him.

Good hunters know their markets and always think long term. If they receive you, it is to offer gracious advice and memorize you.

Any leader, candidate or not, has every interest in confiding in a good hunter. The latter is bound to confidentiality.

To receive a call is to have the chance to be able to specify its project in a few minutes to be one day solicited to (very) good sense.

In the maintenance of networks, a hunter occupies an inescapable place. It is close to its customers, therefore potentially of a targeted market.

A hunter may know many useful contacts but will refrain from giving them to you if he does not have a warrant to provide information.

Be proud of its failures, sources of teachings. Times have changed: not being retained, changing business, approaching the fateful 60-year-old barrier (50 years ago five years ago and 40 years ago), To set up a business or try to take one, to go abroad, to slip into another private or public sector … reflects your audacity. Failure will be as much valued today as a linear and flawless journey. It will be instructive.

Become a target of hunters: be visible, at the crossroads of networks connected with communities, contributors to the association of elders, exemplars in services rendered, memorized by your bosses, strong in your experiences with other cultures.

Your CV will make a page (possibly with appendices): in French in Wats4U, in English in BlueSteps.

Stay yourself and be positive in all circumstances.

3. Executive Search industry for the future To invent new futures in a complex world, nothing is better than to integrate new leaders.
The “Head-hunter” has become today a leadership advisor; tomorrow he will be a key contributor to transform the life of firms and societies:

– Any company, even a start-up, can benefit from an Executive Search firm in its own interest: “if you find that going through a professional is expensive … Try an amateur! ”
– Any leader, when candidate, will continue to solicit the advice of a recruitment expert on a target country, a target function, its target sector or even a target company;

– Any good executive Search Consultant will ever be in a better position, in his science and his know-how in the search for leaders, than any executive within a company, for which recruiting a leader will always be an exceptional act.

To conclude, as much as a Science open to new technologies, “Executive Search” remains an Art that touches the human.
The future of Executive Search is all the more assured that society will reserve for women and men their rightful mission in front of robots: to lead.

1.Do not confuse headhunting (Exclusive research mandate) and “contingency” (Provision of CV paid to results).

What to think about competition of internal Hunting cells?

There will always be external head-hunters, even though large companies are setting up internal hunting cells to approach external targets. This is an interesting approach for executives, preferable to that of entrusting all recruitments to software or robots.
On the other hand, imagining that these cells will have the same capacity of attractiveness and confidence released to the candidates and especially the most senior leaders is a lure. The hunting cell of a large company can extend the work of the machine, but can not substitute for the independent hunter. It is still a stakeholder and is positioning itself as a salesperson for an integration offer. The external hunter is never in this posture.
He is both the ambassador of his client and also a benevolent adviser to the candidate, with whom he wishes to establish a high-quality relationship for decades