Executive Search: The Human Touch


It’s remarkable to think that in a few short years we have come so far, technically speaking. In the early days, recruiting was done using tools the youth of today might scoff at. Hard copies of management files and candidates that were filed alphabetically in folders were the norm. If you wanted information on a candidate, you just accessed the file in the cabinet in the corner of the office. Now, modern technology has allowed us to access a global workforce at the click of a button.

executive_search_human_touchBut while the tools have changed, the fundamentals remain grounded in the human elements of understanding business and people.

Businesses operate differently, but all share the importance placed on relationships and credibility. So, while technology capability is ubiquitous in the business world, the reality is that relationships form the basis on how work is carried out and how decisions of commerce are made.

The ability to not only form but also sustain relationships is crucial, regardless of what line of work you are in. The ability to listen and empathise, be resilient and consult others – none of these are bred or helped by technology in any way. These are essentially very human traits.

Norman Godden, a founding member of Sheffield, said understanding peoples’ backgrounds formed a critical part of their makeup – from their family and siblings, to the nature of their childhood and education.

Nowadays we talk about competencies but there’s something to be said about the significant relationships that are developed as one grows up. Generally speaking, strong relationships growing up give you the self-confidence to forge strong relationships both personally and professionally later in life.

In HR we talk about consultancy, where you get an idea of how things work after the thousands of interviews and CVs you wade through. This is a very human element and a job in which your judgement becomes refined over a long period of time. Consultancy is about the questions you ask and the judgement you make on the responses you get. Technology comes into it, but it doesn’t replace what is very much a very humanistic skill, requiring good experience, analysis and judgement.

That’s not to say that there’s no room for technology. Technology plays a vital role as a connecting instrument - the more people you’re connected to or supported by via technology, the better the business network you have. However, managing technology is something to be wary about; it enables others to be accessible to you but also you to be very accessible to others - how up to date is your LinkedIn profile?

If used well, technology’s speed and substance of communication can enhance business practices. But it should not be considered a substitute for the human element – which makes up the fundamentals of what we do, how we do it and who we really are.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

Download Now!

About the author

Ian Taylor's picture

Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of Sheffield North Island.

Since July 2004 he has headed the firm’s Academy of Corporate Governance and manages the firm’s relationship with the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) and AltoPartners Executive Search Worldwide. He co-leads AltoPartner’s education, local government and not-for-profit global practice.

Ian has 23 years recruiting experience at chief executive and senior management levels. He has facilitated and led board evaluation and CEO review processes. Ian has project management experience in the local government, education and health sectors and has facilitated competency assessments for middle and senior managers in large organisations. He has advised in various areas of organisational development and coached senior executives in leadership strategies and behaviour.

About AltoPartners
Established in 2006, AltoPartners is an international alliance of executive search and leadership consulting firms that combines the reach of a global network with the local knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit of independent partners working together to find the client’s perfect fit. Today the alliance covers 57 offices in 34 countries and is ranked in the Top 25 Global Search Firms that Dominate. The AltoPartners alliance has created a distinctive force in executive search worldwide, giving global coverage across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific https://altopartners.com/.
Follow AltoPartners on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/companies/altopartners.

Share your thoughts

Stay Connected