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Closing Executive Searches Faster

Closing Executive Searches Faster

Closing executive searches faster is a priority for corporate executive search teams and search partners at leading private equity and venture capital firms. Economic uncertainty has made C-level candidates more cautious about accepting jobs. Consequently, it is taking longer to find the candidate who is ultimately hired. We have seen an uptick in clients turning to Intellerati for recruitment research and candidate sourcing support for faster executive search. To remain competitive, they want to fill senior executive openings more quickly.

Senior-level technology searches remain difficult for most corporate recruiting teams. In addition, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives have increased the work required to ensure candidate slates are genuinely diverse. Those challenges, coupled with the current economic environment, make closing executive searches faster next to impossible without additional support.

Faster Executive Search Hits Economic Headwinds

The recruiting software firm Thrive has anonymized and aggregated data from more than 31,000 compensation and search records to construct the benchmarks, statistics, and trends in its Mid-Year Executive Search Report Q2 2022. Their research confirms what we have witnessed in Intellerati’s recruiting research practice. Closing executive search quickly is more elusive at the offer stage. As technology companies see prices of their stock plummet, the compensation needed to lure candidates to a new job has skyrocketed.

The massive increase in demand for leadership talent, coupled with equally hot inflation (CPI), has pushed executive salaries through the roof. Our latest executive compensation averages (OTE) from Q2 2022 are 17% higher than the start of the talent rally in Q2 2020.

— Thrive Mid-Year Executive Search Report Q2 2022

As a result, some companies have trouble putting together compensation packages sufficient enough to convince candidates to make the leap. Some mid-tier publicly traded corporations and privately held companies are finding it next to impossible to close candidates. The compensation math doesn’t work. Equity is often the issue. Employers simply cannot put together compelling-enough compensation packages. Candidates seek higher cash compensation to offset the perceived risk of making a move in the current economic environment — particularly when the stock is down.

In other words, senior executive candidates have become much more risk-averse. Unless there is a reason to leave their current company, many senior leaders would rather stay. That growing sentiment works against making executive search faster. LinkedIn Recruiter lacks the rigor needed to surface the leadership hires they require. Thrive reports that it took their clients 19% longer in Q1 than it did Q4 to identify the candidate that was ultimately hired.

“Finding the right candidate proved to be a tough challenge among early and late-stage venture capital firms, with the exception of CPO/Product roles. Private Equity firms had the most success with CEO, Finance, and Engineering roles whereas public companies found the biggest challenges with Product, Sales and CEO roles.”

— Thrive “Executive Search Quarterly Report: Q1 2022″

While there are economic warning signs, we have not seen a drop in search volume, particularly among our mid-tier clients with an average of 1-thousand employees. The supply of top-performing candidates remains constrained. In-house corporate executive search teams are turning to retained search partners such as The Good Search to hand off critical searches. For teams that prefer to lead search efforts in-house, they turn to Intellerati for recruitment research to boost their own efforts — particularly on the front end.

However, storm clouds are starting to gather for the 2nd half of the year. Many late-stage venture-capital-backed startups expecting to go public have shelved those plans for the time being. That, however, presents an opportunity — particularly for mid-tier and privately held companies — to poach talent from those startups. While hiring across many functions is down compared to the previous quarter, the labor market remains tight. Moreover, engineering remains a clear and constant need. The gathering storm brings opportunity, especially for research partners that work across multiple industries and specialize in technology.

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