I have spent most of the last 20 years helping early- and late-stage Internet startups as well as larger enterprise technology companies acquire executive talent and helping executive talent manage their careers.
Over the years I’ve also co-founded my own firms and hired my own talent, and a long time ago, was a candidate myself. As a student of the executive search process, its philosophies, and client-candidate relationship management, it’s become increasingly clear that in the roughly 60+ years this business has existed, very little about the process has changed.
That is not to say there haven’t been significant shifts in the industry. The Internet and specifically, tools such as LinkedIn, have commoditized most of the front end of the search process. This means a large part of what used to be the “black box” of search 20 years ago is now long gone. It also means that companies have come to expect a longer continuum of “value add” from their search partners, value extending beyond the traditional singular focus on talent acquisition.
And, of course, expectations for candidates have evolved. Timeframes for initiatives are shorter, skill sets evolving as fast as the technology itself.
So I ask you, if executives are evolving as are the companies hiring them, and leadership is expected to know more, handle more, do more, shouldn’t the method of evaluating these candidates evolve as well?