March 16, 2021 – Over the last two decades of working in executive search, Brian Moorhouse has encountered practically every type of challenge that companies face in finding leaders who can help navigate the future. During his 10 years in retained search and 12 years in corporate executive recruiting, he has been in on the ground floor of discussions that would help shape some of the best-known brands on the American landscape — Korn Ferry, JP Morgan Chase, Merck, and Liberty Mutual — developing insights and an invaluable expertise that he now leverages to help recruitment firms identify talented leaders to drive success. “Having been on both the buying and selling side of search, I’ve formed a 360-degree perspective during my career that allows me to see the challenges and opportunities facing recruitment firms,” said Mr. Moorhouse. “Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen search from a unique perspective across a variety of industries, both nationally and internationally.”
These days, Mr. Moorhouse has been focusing much of his energy on helping executive search firms navigate their way through the pandemic and beyond, finding talent and providing strategic advice. Having partnered with dozens of recruitment firms in his work for corporations, he has invaluable insights to offer: As a former global leader of executive recruiting, Mr. Moorhouse has assessed and selected many different search firms across every major industry sector. “My goal in launching Mirador Talent Consulting was to be a strategic partner and advocate for my clients, ensuring they have the right leaders who will help build client trust and drive business growth. I believe my experience, perspective and relationships can help my clients as they grow and navigate the future.”
The pandemic, of course, has complicated matters for search firms. Over the last year, Mr. Moorhouse has spoken to many different firms across multiple industry verticals. How firms are experiencing the current environment varies greatly from one firm to another. “Based on many conversations, it ultimately comes down to each firm attracting and retaining the right talent who complements their culture and builds brand loyalty amongst their clients,” he said. It also means attracting the right leaders who can grow firms for the future. “Despite market pressure and uncertainty, the firms I have worked with through the pandemic recognize this as an opportunity to grow and acquire great talent. They have a good foundation and they’re using this as an opportunity to accelerate growth,” he noted.
Having seen executive recruitment from an internal and external perspective, Mr. Moorhouse has a unique view on the challenges and opportunities facing companies and their external recruitment partners. Despite these challenging times and pressure from a changing business landscape, recruitment firms continue to play an invaluable role in ensuring organizations around the world have the leaders necessary to drive success. “Not having the right leaders to drive business priorities is by far the biggest concern among leadership teams. To drive competitiveness, companies are focusing on talent readiness and increasing diversity representation at the executive level,” said Mr. Moorhouse.
A Changing Business Landscape
“Increasingly, leaders are becoming more forward-focused when it comes to executive recruitment. It’s a significant competitive disadvantage for a company to experience lengthy leadership vacancies,” he said. Over the last decade, many companies have invested in developing internal executive recruiting capabilities to decrease the amount of time leadership roles remain vacant. Despite these investments, according to Mr. Moorhouse, “there are still fundamental issues that impair internal executive recruiting functions from operating effectively.” Mr. Moorhouse believes that many companies have not adequately resourced their executive recruiting or talent acquisition functions. “As a result, internal recruiting teams can struggle to balance their roles as a recruiter filling open positions and being a strategic partner to the business.”
One of the biggest challenges facing corporate clients today is what Mr. Moorhouse refers to as executive continuity. Company leaders typically have a sense of succession priorities, based on projected business growth, leader performance or planned retirement. Despite this sense, not enough work is done to prioritize business critical roles and develop a preidentified pipeline of leadership talent.
“As a former head of executive recruiting, talent readiness was a top concern,” he said. “Developing a strategic and more proactive recruitment process that supports executive continuity is absolutely critical for business success,” said Mr. Moorhouse. “Taking the time to develop high quality client relationships and aligning your firm to support immediate recruitment needs, as well as leadership succession, will help create real value for your clients.”
These forward-focused activities are also essential if companies are truly committed to building diversity at the executive level. With a leadership vacancy, businesses too often fill them as quickly as possible, without applying a deeper focus on diversity. Corporate leaders need to have meaningful conversations regarding diversity and a plan to map a broad mix of diverse talent, well in advance of critical leadership needs materializing. “An executive continuity mindset will help leadership teams shift to a more forward-looking position, enabling companies to thoroughly explore a broader pool of diverse talent,” said Mr. Moorhouse.
Developing a Strategic Partnership
Mr. Moorhouse knows what it is like to be on the inside of corporate decision-making about evaluating and selecting search firms and leadership talent. Those insights can go a long way in helping executive recruiting firms position themselves for a long-term partnership. “It’s being able to address what buyers are thinking about when making short-term decisions, while also building trust and dialogue related to mid and long-term talent needs. Companies are often hesitant to discuss longer-term talent needs, without trust and communication having been established. Developing these strategic relationships will take time and perseverance.” he said.
In the dozen years of corporate executive recruiting, Mr. Moorhouse has assessed and selected a variety of different recruitment firms. And he knows what businesses look for in an external recruitment partner. Beyond relevant experience, “it is important to work with a firm that understands the trends and issues impacting the relevant sector. This deep understanding helps avoid potential pitfalls when identifying and selecting the right leaders for your organization.”
How to Create a Culture of Retention
As executive recruiters know well, companies everywhere are full of eager employees poised for fresh starts. There is recharged enthusiasm for conquering previously unconquerable projects, and scaling new heights, according to a report by David Hunt of Hyperion Executive Search. “During lockdown and working from home, time with family and friends has allowed for the creation of elaborate dreams to assist in the accomplishment of elaborate goals,” he said. “In start-ups and corporations around the world, 2021 brings a revived optimism for all of U.S., especially with vaccines being distributed. Amongst all of this joy and good cheer looms a rarely talked about issue that can wreak havoc on an organization.”
Mr. Moorhouse also looks for a firm that is a seamless extension to his own team. “I always valued my external search partners and viewed them as a critical component to success. Selecting a search partner who valued alignment, communication, and transparency were essential elements of a successful partnership. Having these in place contributed to a positive experience for the business. Together, internal recruiters and external search partners have a lot to lose from a negative experience, but a lot more to gain from a positive one. I always looked for firms that could be that strategic long-term partner,” said Mr. Moorhouse.
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Over the last 12 years in his various leadership roles at three Fortune 100 companies, Mr. Moorhouse has relied on recruitment firms as strategic enablers. “Recruitment firms that I’ve built partnerships with were successful at developing a strategic partnership that went beyond the placement of a candidate. In some instances, this included insight on strategy design, market analysis, internal team feedback, as well as talent readiness and executive continuity efforts,” he said.
Given the demand on limited internal resources, Mr. Moorhouse believes there continues to be an opportunity to develop high quality partnerships between companies and their recruitment partners. “For these companies to really excel and achieve their goals, there must be a balanced recruitment strategy that leverages both internal and external resources.”
Building for the Future
Since launching Mirador Talent Consulting, Mr. Moorhouse has partnered with organizations looking to identify and engage individual recruitment leaders or engage multiple team members to help accelerate firm growth and expansion. “My goal is to help recruitment firms and talent acquisition teams hire extraordinary talent. I’ve found that recruitment firms are so focused on helping their clients that quite often they do not spend enough time focusing on themselves. My goal is to be that strategic partner, working closely with firm leaders to identify and attract the caliber of talent required to grow for the future,” said Mr. Moorhouse.
During his career, Mr. Moorhouse has seen the right talent move organizations forward and has seen the wrong talent move them backward. With his experience working extensively with external and internal recruiting teams, he has a unique perspective that he leverages when working with clients. “My job is to understand my client’s goals and their vision for the future. Identifying and attracting the right leaders for your firm requires a partner who understands the search industry and the uniqueness of your firm, and who can promote it on your behalf. Our goal is to help our partners achieve business goals by ensuring they have the right team members who will help drive business strategies and your vision for the future.”
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Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media