After a year that has shocked the whole world, we have become aware of how vulnerable we are and it is time for analysis and introspection.

The rules of the game have changed, and they could change again at any time. We have a duty not to superficially believe that a simple change in” how we work”, will be enough for our new reality.  We must evolve, we must learn taking this rare opportunity for self-analysis and rethinking our corporate strategy, our values, and our purpose.

Companies must be adaptable and flexible, with the ability to withstand moments of uncertainty, and with the foresight to anticipate when unfavourable circumstances might arise.

The strategy should be simple to enable prompt analysis and agile decision-making.

An organizational structure should be flat and process-oriented, where the information flows easily and where there is access to pertinent information facilitating timely reactions to unexpected situations.

We must trigger the essential part of the organization: THE TEAM, redefining the organizational culture to encourage motivation and ensure we are all rowing in the same direction. A culture of innovation, together with interconnected and continuous learning means people can develop the skills this new model demands.

Solid HR basics are essential to adapt to the ever-increasing global transformation of business. Team selection and development become a key factor, as well as the use of Business Intelligence or Big Data tools so that HR professionals can make quick decisions based on data.

Perhaps reading this article was your first step, but we would be happy to support you on the rest of your journey.

María Figueroa, Associate

We spoke with some of our researchers who are vital to the success of each and every Search process we undertake at Friisberg.

Here’s a few insights from Delyan Grozdev, Veronika Mohacsi, Raik-Eric Theil and Sina Nowack about the invaluable role they and all our researchers play.

What does a day in the life of a Researcher look like?

It is varied! Being a researcher is undoubtedly a wide-ranging role involving lots of communication (with the team and our candidates), timely emails, telephone interviews and compilation of project briefs leading to systematic search, collection of business news and knowledge sharing (in person and with web platforms), thorough industry research and of course database maintenance.

What is your typical approach to finding candidates for a specific role?

At the outset we discuss with the consultant the best approach in terms of any possible sources or candidates on which to focus. If the role is one we do regularly in a given industry, then we get rolling pretty fast. In other cases though, the first thing to do may be to talk to a source well-positioned in the given field to get a better understanding. Vera says, “Naturally, we examine our earlier projects for similar roles, draw on our database and do Boolean search. I am old school in that I strongly believe in great candidates recommending great candidates.”

Raik-Eric agrees, “I work with Boolean strings in Linkedin and Xing and systematic cover letters. I talk to key people from the sector and ask them and contacts for recommendations.”

With an ever-increasing online presence, Executive Search is changing. How do you see your role developing in the future?

Delyan believes that the future is already here with automated tools like LinkedIn and Google Alerts being a good way to stay up to date with people and companies. “Technical skills for working with CRM/database tools and web search tricks are essential, but it is still a knowledge-based job so it remains crucial that we are deeply interested in how businesses and people work, to be able to target our searches well, using all the technology at hand. Data management is an increasingly time consuming issue both in terms of volume and knowing what’s what - don't talk to me about GDPR!”

The modern researcher, agrees Raik-Eric, must understand how to collect the right data, process it and translate it into appropriate action in order to continuously improve. “In the digital world, work is becoming more data-driven and scalable. We must therefore be able to move confidently in the relevant systems and on the relevant platforms.”

Sina reiterates however that is vital researchers do not lose professionalism in the way candidates are contacted, “It is becoming more and more important to address candidates in the right way and to network in a discreet way.”

What do you enjoy most about your role?

All agree that it is a privilege to interact with many differing personalities from a range of industries on a variety of issues. Acquiring knowledge is a vital part of the role – from business through to science - as well as understanding how businesses work and how the economy evolves.

In terms of international collaboration, Sina added, “Networking across national borders is very important for our clients and thus for me as a Researcher.”

How has the changes and new demands on industry affected the search process?

With so much information readily available and the pace of change in the world today, clients expect results faster. To stay competitive we need to balance speed with quality search methodology. In general, the demands on services are constantly increasing. In the course of customer centricity, our clients and candidates also expect our process to be targeted, transparent and fast.

Whenever the new normal arrives, and it will come in 2021, there will be a rush for talent. What action are you seeing companies taking at the moment?

Vera sums it up, “ In my experience, companies have recruitment needs now same as ever, I don’t see them holding back on a rush for talent later. Most of our clients are simply rethinking the way they work in the new normal.” Reflecting on the anomalous 2020, she added, “We’ve been conducting projects with virtual interviews  and while it doesn’t offer the same experience as live interviews, it seems to be working pretty well. Considering how much time and energy can be saved (both from our side and candidates’ as well), virtual interviews may be with us for good. Our roles could involve zero face to face interaction with candidates - but I hope not!”

Veronika Mohacsi, Hungary
Raik-Eric Theil, Germany

Delyan Grozdev, Bulgaria
Sina Nowack, Germany

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