Despite the recession—in part because of it—the best executives can still move to new companies. And the best companies still open their doors to the best talent. But companies are becoming increasingly nuanced and uncompromising in their assessments. The economic stakes are higher than ever and, as a result, companies have come to own the candidate tracking, market mapping, relationship-management and assessment processes.
So why has the executive search industry taken such a hit during this recession? Because most of them are transactors who don't provide the value-added talent consulting to their clients. At a time when they should be considered mission-critical, many executive search firms are bystanders, asking for the order and competing on price. Meanwhile, their corporate clients have improved their own talent assessment skills, know their markets for talent, and gravitate to the few consultants who truly understand their needs.
The executive search industry will continue to fall behind unless they become true partners on talent. This recession marks a time when companies can leap ahead of their competition. The search consultants and their clients should be joined at the hip. It's time for the search industry to get ahead of the curve.