Data’s Impact on Executive Search

October 18, 2022 – As workforce management paradigms shift to meet 21st century talent needs, HR leaders and executive recruiters are leveraging new tools and capitalizing on analytics to adapt their strategies and address changing trends. Anyone who’s been put in charge of selecting a new leader knows that they have a daunting task before them.

But what’s changed in just the last few years is how leveraging data and analytics can minimize the risk associated with bringing someone new onboard – at every professional level. Big data is behind it all. Readily available analytics have created a seismic shift in how companies now operate, go to market, track employee performance, and take the guesswork out of hiring.

When it comes to data management, search firms are unique. Every business, in any sector, stores data on people such as customers, potential business contacts and on their own employees. Unlike most businesses, however, recruiters also store large number of candidate records. And unlike most of the recruitment sector, executive search firms’ data on candidates interchanges with their data on customers, because as we all know, executive candidates may be business contacts and vis-a-versa.

Twenty years ago, a search firm’s data was one of its most prized assets. A bigger database suggested that the firm was well connected, and therefore the larger the firm and the larger the database, the more value the search firm brought to their clients. This axiom, however, is being called into question.

Over the past decade seismic changes have occurred that should influence search firms’ attitude towards data. First, with the advent of readily available public data on the internet and specifically with those 700 million professionals on LinkedIn, finding people supposedly became easier. Secondly, privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA made holding data a potential legal liability. A very pertinent question over the past few years has been the ownership of the data. With the executive search world becoming more fragmented, it is easier for partnerships to break up or for consultants to leave their firms and set up shop on their own.

Search firms face other questions in relation to data. For example, how to capture and store data relating to the diversity of candidates, or what is the best way to present data to their clients.

Join Kennon Kincaid, COO of Odgers Berndtson US, and Melissa Swift, U.S. transformation leader at Mercer, tomorrow for an interactive webinar supported by Hunt Scanlon Media. The session will focus on changing attitudes towards data and how organizations have been responding to an increasingly deglobalized world with the help of data.

This a great opportunity to hear firsthand from some of the key players in our industry. They will share valuable insights into global trends, how these trends impact the operations and talent management strategies of executive search firms, and how data can help respond to quick shifts in our current economic environment.

We will be joined by Cameron Ireland, former CEO of global data company BoardEx.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Deglobalization: concerns, considerations, and opportunities—How are clients mitigating risk, leveraging their unique strengths, and restructuring in an increasingly deglobalized world?
  • Size of the search firm database—Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to have a larger database?
  • Impact of public databases such as LinkedIn—What is the role of social media in searches?
  • Using data to ask the right questions—How can we use data insights to create the opportunity to lead more accurately than ever before?
  • Data ownership—Who stores and captures data during the search process and who owns that data?
  • Data sharing and security—What data is impacted by data privacy regulation?
  • Opportunities⁠—How can data, analytics, and insights address the organizational challenges of deglobalization?

There will be an opportunity for audience members to put their questions to panel members and join the conversation.

Free registration … Click here to sign up!


As chief operating officer of Odgers Berndtson, Kennon Kincaid is responsible for all people, processes, and operations of the U.S. division of the world’s sixth largest executive search firm. He, together with the CEO, leads the U.S. organization’s growth strategy and he is co-head of brand extensions Berwick Partners and Odgers Interim. Prior to joining Odgers, Mr. Kincaid spent over a decade building teams and advancing international relationships as a U.S. diplomat across Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific before joining Rocket Lab, a cutting-edge aerospace company and launch service provider. At Rocket Lab he established and then led the international business development, security operations, and international government relations functions.

 Melissa Swift is the U.S. transformation leader at Mercer. She partners with clients to help them bring their workforces to a different and better future. Her work leverages data analytics, a healthy dose of pragmatism, and a humanist view of the workplace to create extraordinary outcomes for organizations. A fast-moving world requires changes to the work we do, shifts in the skills and behaviors required to do that work, and fundamental re-sets on many different ways of working, Ms. Swift has led multidisciplinary teams that help make these changes happen. She has been featured as one of “20 digital transformation leaders to follow on Twitter in 2020.”

Cameron Ireland is the former CEO of BoardEx. He is a highly experienced senior executive with an extensive global background demonstrating leadership in significant strategic, commercial, and operating roles within SaaS technology and data solutions specializing in financial services, professional services, legal, executive search, and other associated sectors. Proven ability in driving revenue growth, effective P&L management, company growth through innovation and strategic partnerships while significantly increasing client connectivity via relationship management. These skills have been developed and tested through multiple periods of transformational change including taking a business from start-up to two successful acquisitions by a U.S. Quoted Company, and a U.K. FTSE 250 company.

Attendance is free. To learn more and register to attend, click here

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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