Hacking executive search with referable networks®


As a founder of a successful executive search firm, and with 20 years in the business, I was recently involved in a search for a high profile enterprise software client seeking a Country President that illustrated the point. On the briefing call with the Chief Revenue Officer and executive recruiters it was clear they wanted one of the top guns: “someone any Fortune 200 CEO would pick up the phone for”.

We went about our work and presented a well curated long list, working our way through selection criteria to how we came about our Top-10. There was one candidate who narrowly led the field on all angles of filtering and we struck up a conversation about him specifically, as our first prospect.

As the candidate came from another leading enterprise software company that our client had hired from, the CRO stopped us in our tracks and suggested he would do his own research before proceeding. Our instructions were to refine the long list, then wait a few days for feedback on the candidate we had mentioned. [Note: Long List is a prospect list, not list of actual applicants or candidates.]

A few days passed and we found ourselves going into overdrive. The back door checks had indeed identified our candidate as one of the best in the market, and we were instructed to pitch the candidate. The interviewing process took some time, and things progressed with other candidates, but the conclusion was the successful hire of a true market leader. Our client was set up for success as they go to the next level in the local market.

Consider succession planning or urgent replacement searches in regional or global offices. If only there was a “hack” to skip past the long list and get straight to the short list of candidates.

Relevant and valuable information required can be found through multiple channels:

  1. Employees who previously worked directly with the prospect at a previous company.
  2. Employees who worked in the same company at the same time as the prospect, and know them by reputation.
  3. Contacts/friends/past colleagues of employees who know the prospect well.

Such a hack would save significant time, and in fact change the game in retained search. Recruiters could spend their time on more important tasks like promoting the opportunities to those high quality candidates, or stakeholder engagement, negotiation, and so on, rather than spending hours on monotonous research.

The information on almost anyone you want to research is public on social media sites or media publications. Referable AI brings it all together so executive recruiters can immediately vet a short list with their team, and then spend their time engaging and winning the top 5%. That is much more fun than banging your head against all the dead ends.

We believe we can change the game, and that the old guard selling overpriced services should be concerned.

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