In Technology Executive Search “People are the lifeblood of our businesses”
“It’s all about the people”
When I started in Technology Executive Search, these were phrases that were often used. Fast forward 2 decades and they remain as current and important now as they did then. Maybe even more so….
Having led many 100s of technology executive search projects in SaaS and Tech, I appreciate the importance of getting the people mix right and have seen just how damaging it is when the wrong person or team is hired.
Only a few months ago, I was talking to a CEO/Founder of a SaaS firm that was about to call in the liquidators. The reason – hiring the wrong people! Of course, this is an extreme example but once again, it drummed home the key phrase that “People are the lifeblood of our industry” The RIGHT people however!
If you have a technology executive search partner or team that works, then all well and good but if you are looking to identify a partner, here are some points that you may wish to consider when choosing a company to support you with some of the most critical decisions that you can make for your company, colleagues, and shareholders.
1 – Connections and network in your sector
Perhaps the single most important aspect. If you are a Tech firm, chose a technology executive search partner that breaths Tech. But Tech is a big place, so the specific experience is critical so find a specialist that works that sector. Also critical is the time spent in the market, especially the more senior the hire. Find the firm that has seen the developments, changes and M&A in the space and seen the growth and development of the executives within it.
2 – Executive Search Research is important
The research for any search underpins the end success so the research that leads to outreach, longlist and ultimate shortlist is critical. This research should be carried out by experienced Researchers since it is they that hold the experience and knowledge of sectors, companies, M&A as well as general sound bites, however small, but potentially critical to a decision on whether to include someone in a search.
3 – Values and cultural alignment
Choosing a partner to support your hiring is a bit like a job interview. Would you hire that person yourself? If not, are they the right person? Because good Executive Search means that for the lifecycle of the relationship, the consultant represents and becomes an extension of your company. If you don’t have alignment of values and culture, then this may translate into a shortlist that lacks alignment also.
4 – Executive Search Process
The Executive Search process has many stages to it and although not rocket science, can be complex and is very much process oriented. A wise man once told me that good Executive Search Consultants need solid Urgency, Attitude and Organisation. Has the process been battle tested and tech enabled using the modern automations embedded into a human first candidate and client experience? Critically, does the process also include a Behavioural Analyses or Psychometric component?
5 – Questioning and Critical thinking
Consider the questions that an Executive Search Consultant asks when you are engaging them. Do they ask good questions that made you think and were they pertinent and conducive? If not, will they also demonstrate the same when engaging prospective candidates? The ability to ask tough questions and then critically consider the answers are important traits.
6 – Can you get on with them?
You’ll be spending a lot of time working with your chosen partner. If you got locked in a lift with them overnight, how would you feel? The closeness of the relationship that we build with our clients is often intense and whilst we don’t need to be best mates (that sometimes happens though!) we do need to be able to work closely together.
7 – Who does the delivery?
Often the person that you initially speak and engage with is not the person that you will work with on a daily basis. Make sure that you speak to all stakeholders in the process.
8 – References
Not all projects can be referenceable since some may be confidential, especially with senior assignments. But your chosen partner should be able to provide solid references and be open to you talking to clients that they have worked with.
Who is Paul French?
Paul, Director of Intrinsic Executive Search has spent his career in the Tech and the Software industry and has supported 100s of leaders with their critical hiring challenges. He also supports SaaS founders, is an Angel investor and loves all things Tech
If you’d like to talk to Paul, use this link