Today’s guest blogger is Meri Laird Jones of Davidson, Laird & Associates, located in the metro Detroit area of Michigan. Meri is a current member of NPA’s board of directors. Davidson, Laird & Associates places technical, operations, sales and manufacturing professionals, primarily in the renewable energy, automotive, paint, plastics, chemical and processing industries.
We see a major trend in executive search assignments that are becoming increasingly specialized and specific in the skill sets required. For example, our clients are asking us to find them executives/senior managers not only with very specific technical experience and educational requirements, but who also have bilingual skills to address their global markets in Asia especially. (It’s not enough to find a Ph.D. in chemical engineering with years of research in specific energy markets who is willing and able to relocate, but this person must also be fluent in both English and Mandarin!) The good news is, there is no doubt client companies depend on well-connected executive search firms for these types of searches and they gladly pay full search fees as well as retainer or engagement fees. Furthermore, success in these searches builds loyalty and clients return to engage us in additional searches, which may be just as specific, but in a completely different functional area or even searches for less technical, lighter level people.
For a long time, we walked away from those searches, not wanting to lose the edge in our specialty markets or tarnish our “executive search” image by working on interesting (but lower level) contingency searches. Partnering with other recruitment and executive search firms by joining a recruiting organization solved this problem for us. We are now connected in many industries and functions. When we have a strong client relationship, we feel confident we can be their number one recruiting source for many or all of their searches, because we now have the recruiting power of 400-plus offices to help us fill their needs in all functional areas and levels. Additionally, with our business and client needs becoming more global by the year, seeking out a global recruiting organization has even been key to further service our clients not only in North America, but also internationally.
The most valuable outcome of joining a solid global recruiting network has been the ability to work with clients in varying industries and truly focus on building and maintaining those relationships. We can create a “happy dependency” with each other as they feel comfortable that with our recruiting network, we can build their teams, all around their organizational structures, with top performing talent.