October 11, 2016 – The list of executive search firms offering leadership assessment services is expanding — rapidly. Caldwell Partners International is now the latest to enter the fray, forming a partnership with Caliper, a research-based talent management consulting firm focused on assessment and leadership development.
The agreement will integrate Caliper’s assessment and onboarding services into Caldwell Partners’ research-based executive search process in Canada. The result, both hope, will be better predictive leadership hires for clients.
“When people are in roles best suited to their innate personalities and motivations, they not only perform well, they surpass expectations,” said Elan Pratzer, managing partner of Caldwell Partners. “Our goal is to minimize uncertainty for clients with respect to how a particular candidate will fit into the role and culture of the hiring organization. This collaboration with Caliper is a huge competitive advantage in helping us achieve this goal.”
Where Personalities and Jobs Intersect
“Caliper has been a pioneer in talent assessment for over 50 years,” Mr. Pratzer continued. “Their dedication to helping clients achieve world class results by ensuring the right people are in the role at the right time is in exact alignment with our own philosophy, and we are pleased to be partnering with such a high quality firm.”
Caliper will analyze the motivations, job-related strengths and developmental opportunities of pools of candidates for Caldwell and provide a comparative analysis to the firm to give a clearer picture of where a particular executives’ strengths intersect with the requirements of the role being recruited into. Additionally, predictive insight into team dynamics assessment is expected to allow for smoother executive onboarding.
“Together, Caliper and Caldwell Partners generate tremendous value for senior executives and boards who can’t afford to make a mistake,” said Andrew Case, chief executive officer of Caliper Canada. “Our ability to objectively measure a candidate’s potential to perform the role and fit the existing team truly differentiates Caldwell’s offering among its competitors.”
Marlin Hawk Launches ATHENA
Just days ago, Marlin Hawk, another search firm that is making big investments in the sphere of candidate assessment analytics, launched its new assessment tool, ATHENA, after a 12-month development cycle and positive client feedback from beta tests. ATHENA uses a potent blend of science and art to deconstruct a candidate’s DNA and identify their talent gene.
Mark Oppenheimer, Marlin Hawk’s New York-based chief commercial & innovation officer — and the assessment tool’s chief architect — said ATHENA is already yielding superior results. “We use it for executive search, benchmarking and succession planning,” he said.
Mr. Oppenheimer asserted that assessing on skills for a specific role is not enough anymore and that it is a candidate’s “thinking ability and aptitude that are the real game changers.” Marlin Hawk’s unique tool is branded ATHENA after the Greek goddess, a name that intentionally suggests a fusion of wisdom, courage, inspiration, justice, mathematics, strategy, arts and crafts.
“Our tool is a hybrid, engineered from the best practice of numerous cognitive, behavioral and personality tools, combined with Marlin Hawk’s own extensive experience,” he said. “It peels back the layers to uncover a candidate’s deeper personality and tendencies, revealing how they are wired and what motivates them to succeed.”
A Growing Call for Science-Based Recruiting
In recent weeks, a handful of other assessment tools have found their way into the primary service platforms of executive search firms, or will find their way there soon.
London-based advisory firm ALC just launched a new assessment tool, ALC Insights, that some are saying could revolutionize the way talent assessment is delivered, and who delivers it.
This latest assessment offering is designed to fill a knowledge gap in the hiring process and, once employed, according to ALC founding partner, Tim Connolly, in just a matter of hours it could provide a more complete and dynamic profile of any candidate being screened.
The new product will serve as a complimentary tool for heads of HR and talent acquisition leaders. But what makes it really unique is that this off-the-shelf assessment tool can be licensed by any search firm. That, its founder said, could level the playing field in this hotly contested new area of executive search and leadership solutions services.
“Our assessment tool provides an illuminated view of talent,” said Mr. Connolly. “Organizations everywhere, as you rightfully say, are desperately seeking better ways to recruit, develop and retain quality people to drive performance in their business.” The truth of the matter, he said, “is that when you hire someone, you don’t know much about them. Existing recruiting efforts seek to fill this gap, yet lack reliability and can be superficial.”
Executive search firm Allen Austin just weeks ago partnered with ENGAGE, a sourcing intelligence platform that combines big data and predictive analytics to identify potential targets, to increase overall business intelligence, and enhance sourcing efficiency. The firm forged the alliance as it looked for productive technology to improve speed, execution and growth predictability, particularly one with advancements in analytics.
“Utilizing our proprietary process in combination with ENGAGE’s predictive analytics, we are potentially cutting our research and candidate development time by half,” said Rob Andrews, Allen Austin chairman and CEO. “These powerful analytics will enhance speed of execution and support our commitment of bringing our clients the best possible talent in the market, not just a suitable slate.”
Russell Reynolds Associates, one of the ‘Big Five’ executive search and leadership assessment providers, recently formed a partnership with Hogan Assessments, a global provider of personality assessment and leadership development. The alliance is designed to increase the success rate of executive appointments and accelerate the development of rising leaders. It combines Russell Reynolds’ expertise in advising senior executives and boards on executive search and succession planning with Hogan’s suite of assessment instruments, data assets and scientific acumen.
“The cost of betting on the wrong leader has never been higher,” said Reynolds’ chief executive officer Clarke Murphy. “That said, innovation in the executive assessment space has not kept pace with the rate of change confronting senior executives.”
Mr. Murphy said the initial stage of working with Hogan will be “sharply focused” on the creation of an assessment approach that is purpose-built to predict success (both short- and long-term) in senior executive roles. “For decision-makers, ‘increasing predictability’ really means ‘reducing risk,’” he said. “The risk associated with executive selection and hiring has always been high. But, as executive roles have become more complex, the risk of making the wrong hiring decision has increased meaningfully.”
Egon Zehnder, Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles and DHR International, all direct rivals to Russell Reynolds, all offer their own takes on assessment services — some charging separately for the advice while others building it into their standard recruitment package.
Leveraging New Tools In Workforce Management
According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2016 ‘Talent Trends Report,’ the use of talent and workforce analytics continues to increase, with 73 percent of respondents using this data to create more efficient workforce planning, 63 percent for more accurate mapping and addressing of skills gaps and 56 percent for identifying high-potential employees for development.
“As the workforce management and technology landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, HR and talent leaders must understand how they can leverage new tools and capitalize on the power of talent analytics to adapt their strategies and account for these changing trends,” said Rebecca Henderson, chairman, global leadership team of Randstad Sourceright and group president, talent solutions, Randstad U.S.
“Over the last decade, we have seen a transformation in the way high-performing companies attract and acquire talent,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder at Bersin by Deloitte. “Recruiting is now a strategic business function that includes marketing, recruitment, assessment, analytics, and integrated process management, involving managers, recruiters and sourcers.”
“In coming months, as assessment tools proliferate,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media, “search firms will be reevaluating not only how they offer the service, but how to up-charge clients for it.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media