The 8 Traits of the World’s Greatest Executive Search Consultants

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Over the past few years we’ve heard that LinkedIn will kill the executive search consultant. However, the human side of executive recruiting brings something different to the table that a global database cannot. These 8 attributes are something all the great executive search consultants around the world share:

1. Deep Industry/ practice group knowledge

The best consultants are also known as thought leaders in their field. They speak at conferences, ensure that they are current on industry trends, and create and nurture a vast network of industry influencers and decision makers.

2. Ability to sell and develop business:

Top search consultants are driven to keep a steady pipeline of potential business and they use every candidate call and reference check as an opportunity to develop relationships and business.

3. Ability to execute:

These consultants know how to manage a team of associates and researchers. They are also tech savvy and take the time to learn and use databases and digital networks to support in finding that “needle in the haystack.”

4. Interest in internal partnerships and collaboration:

It’s rare for the shark who steals business from colleagues to be successful in the long term. Top consultants are team players. They are the first to collaborate with others if it’s what’s best for a client, even at the risk of less personal income.

5. Cultural Fit in their executive search firm:

Collaboration realizes its full potential only when it is part of the company culture. A successful executive search consultant chooses to utilize their talents at an executive search firm (or builds his or her own company) that upholds strong core values, and is part of reinforcing those values.

6. Strong Communication & listening skills:

More so then knowing what to say, great search consultants know when to say nothing. They understand, better than most, the phrase ‘everyone was given two ears and one mouth for a reason.’

7. Leadership:

Executing a successful retained search requires a team. Successful consultants lead teams to identify the best candidates, engage the candidates to ensure they are the right fit and lead their client to make the right decisions.

8. Grit:

Last but not least, the greatest executive search consultants work hard. Plain and simple. They live by the motto “when the market is down, I have to work hard to win the business, and when the market is great, I have to work hard to execute the business”. Either way, they are driven to achieve against all odds.

Consultants with these attributes achieve long term substantial billings; repeat business; long standing relationships with clients; respect from competitors and colleagues and a strong reputation in their respective industry.

Great executive search consultants are many things –thought leaders, salespeople, closers, counselors and consiglieres; they think and act long term, building relationships, not transactions, and they earn the respect of their colleagues, clients, candidates and competitors. A great executive search consultant can be of immeasurable value to a client, and the greatest executive search consultants can elevate the reputation of the entire industry.

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