Getting Discovered by Executive Search Researchers Through Social Media

“The added value of retained executive search is not just finding candidates; it’s finding the best candidates.” Rachel Roche, President of Smart Search

Those who are familiar with the retained executive search process know that the first point of contact in an executive search will often be with a firm’s researcher or associate, so it is imperative that executives know how they can stand out to these search professionals in particular. Yesterday, the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) hosted the annual Americas Researchers and Associates Summit in New York City. The Summit provided a full day of thought provoking training sessions and presentations to retained executive search researchers and associates from across the Americas region. Throughout the day, the presenters and the researchers themselves provided valuable information and tips for how executives can increase their visibility.

Executive recruiters are starting to tap into social media and mobile as part of their toolkit for sourcing potential candidates. Laura Stoker, Executive Director of Global Training at AIRS, discussed this topic during her detailed and informative presentation. Researchers are now beginning to realize the value of these sources, so executives must have a presence on social media and mobile if they hope to be found by executive search consultants. Here are some of the valuable tips for executives that were learned from Laura’s presentation:

LinkedIn has a LinkedIn Alumni and LinkedIn Skills section, so make sure you keep your profile as up to date as possible to show up in the searches executive search researchers are doing though these LinkedIn tools. According to Laura Stoker, “Searching for skills on LinkedIn is useful for discovering information on a little-known industry—even dairy pasteurization.”

There are other sources researchers are starting to use besides LinkedIn. Some of these include Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Lanyrd (recently bought by Eventbrite).

Researchers can use Lanyrd to find potential executive candidates by the events they may be attending or even presenting at.

Facebook Graph Search allows researchers to search by company, school and more in a database of over 1 billion. To help researchers find you through Facebook Graph Search, add your title and company to your Facebook profile. If you do not want researchers or headhunters to see everything on your personal profile, then you may want to take advantage of the privacy settings Facebook offers, which allow you to show only certain posts, photos, etc. publicly while only showing others to your current Facebook friends or friends of friends.

Researchers can find executives and source potential candidates through their Twitter bios, so be sure to use appropriate industry and job title keywords.

Meetup has been a useful tool for executives and researchers to connect. Researchers can utilize Meetup to search for candidates within industry groups or attend events.

Create a free page, which will allow your profile to show up in search engine results. Be sure to use relevant industry and job functional keywords!

The way researchers communicate with potential candidates for executive placement is becoming more mobile—texts may be faster than phone calls.

“Assess a candidate on LinkedIn as the whole person. What groups are they in? What is their passion? Don’t forget to make a human connection.” Lori Ruff, “The LinkedIn Diva” and CEO at Integrated Alliances

Later in the day Lori Ruff, “The LinkedIn Diva” and CEO at Integrated Alliances, talked more about how executive search researchers find candidates on social media, while also providing valuable tips for improving your own executive profile.

Here are a few of the excellent tips and words of social media wisdom Lori Ruff provided:

  • Your LinkedIn profile summary should be written in first person to invite potential executive recruiters to connect with you as a person.
  • You are a brand ambassador for your company and industry because you have a LinkedIn profile.
  • If your LinkedIn profile is not getting traffic, you won’t turn up on the first page in search results.
  • Build relationships with people before you need something – Tap into LinkedIn on a personal level by building relationships.
  • Read recommendations that someone has given to others to find out their values.
  • Showing up to network is what matters—Get on to your preferred social media site for a few min each day to comment, like and interact!
  • LinkedIn is a place for keeping it professional, but also a place for what you talk about around the water cooler.
  • Be a thought leader in your industry by sharing your thoughts via social media.
  • Profiles are 40 times more likely to be selected if you have a visible profile picture.
  • Create a template for your LinkedIn profile or your team. In the summary—Start with something about you.

This article was written by Julia Salem, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

How technology is revolutionizing how 3rd party researchers support Executive Search…

As Search cycle times shrink and clients demand more from Search firms while hoping to pay less, the ability for Search firms to rapidly ramp up the ability to research and source candidates is becoming more and more important.

While a good technology system has always supported this process, many Search firms have also used independent researchers to support the identification and research of candidates on an ad-hoc basis.  The growth of in-house search teams has led to a new market for researchers and – worldwide – more and more individuals and firms are now offering this service.

And yet…. How the service is offered has changed little over the last decade.  Typically, the Search firm sends the researcher a spreadsheet.  The researcher identifies and researches potential candidates, completes the spreadsheet and returns it to the Search firm.  The search firm then imports the information – or, in some cases, retypes it into the main Search database.

It’s spectacularly inefficient, but it has always been accepted as the norm.  Why?  A couple of reasons.  Firstly, technology – many legacy database systems have problems with access from outside the building.  A remote researcher in another part of the country – or the World – may be unable to access the database.  Even if remote access is possible, complicated software downloads and installations ensure it is not easy.

And, frankly, technology is the easy bit.  Security is a much bigger issue.  Search firms want to allow external researchers to work on specific projects.  They do not want to allow researchers to have free access to the firm’s database.  There are a host of data protection and competitive reasons for this.

Modern technology resolves both of these issues.  Browser based access to cloud database allows a Search firm to give instant access to external researchers.  It can be taken away just as quickly.  No software, no download, no headaches.

In addition, the ability to implement a security model that allows information to be hidden within the database ensures that Researchers may be limited to accessing just the information associated with a specific project.  Everything else – all other projects, all other people and company information – is hidden.

Allowing researchers to access the database live is a big efficiency gain.  The Search firm can review and act on information as it is added.  No time is wasted importing data and duplication is far less of an issue.  Quality control is improved and the project is closed off more quickly.

Clients using our FileFinder Anywhere product can do all this today.  But we want to help them find researchers who can facilitate this process.  That’s why, we are launching the “Certified for FileFinder Browser” program for Researchers.  It’s free, and we believe it will make independent researchers more competitive while making our clients more efficient.

We’ve written a white paper about it, and it’s available at  We are also running free training sessions – the first is next week.  If your firm uses FileFinder Anywhere and you use third party researchers, tell them to join us – it’s free;  if you don’t use FileFinder Anywhere…. Maybe ask your vendor how they solve this problem, and contact us if they can’t!

This article was authored by Jason Starr, CEO of Dillistone Group, Plc.

Surfing the Technology Wave: Highlights From AESC’s Sydney Forum

On 27th July, AESC hosted an event in Sydney for researchers and associates at AESC member firms. In this article, Patrick Rooney, Managing Director, Asia Pacific & Middle East, AESC, describes his highlights.

With digital disruption impacting our clients’ businesses every day, we decided to focus our Sydney Forum on the way in which technology is challenging and enhancing the executive search business.

During our keynote session we were fortunate enough to be joined by a panel of search consultants from both large, global firms and local, boutique firms, and representing different career routes: Korn Ferry’s Michael Keevy, for instance, has spent much of his career in industry, de Jager’s Anne Stuckey spent five years heading up a research team before becoming an executive search consultant, while Gita Gopalan spent more than a decade as an in-house researcher and now runs her own research consultancy.

When asked about how executive search firms can ride this wave of technology to their benefit, there was consensus that in order to succeed, firms must be adaptable to change and innovation (echoing the words of McKinsey’s Richard Dobbs, who spoke earlier this year at AESC’s Global Conference). As it stands, the largest opportunity that the panelists identified was adding value to clients by evaluating the cultural fit of potential candidates and then proposing ways in which their role could be optimized for maximum success.

While it is important to go beyond candidate identification, it is also essential that the process of candidate identification continues to evolve. Laura Stoker, Executive Director of AIRS, provided some extremely useful tips on new websites and techniques to use to identify executives. Two of her top tips included checking Google Images and YouTube for candidate backgrounds. If you see that they have regularly been asked to speak at conferences and participate in panels, it bodes well. Secondly, she recommended using an x-ray search on emerging sites such as AirBNB and About.Me to find out more about an individual. This demonstrates the extent to which our personal and professional lives are being blurred together.

We were fortunate to also be joined by speakers from Invenias, who discussed Cloud technology and its impact on the profession, and LinkedIn, who shared some insight into their future direction. The event was well attended by more than 40 researchers and associates from member firms in Australia.

This blog post has been republished from The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants with their permission.