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.