In recent years executive search has seen shifts and changes, but never at the pace that we see at the moment. Today, executive search requires innovation, creativity, increased efficiency, sensibility and excellence. Our Managing Director Marie Kanellopulos provides insights how executive search is successful today:

How does Executive Search look like at DONE!?

Marie: We offer a tailor-made approach and search for soft and hard skills. For us, the people / team component is an important and decisive factor in how long employees dedicate themselves to a company and really see a future opportunity to develop themselves further.

The fact that we are not headhunters, that we think along with our clients, critically analyse and really get to grips with our projects are great benefits to our customers. We at DONE! have been able to prove in numerous searches. Both at the national and international level.

Another added value is our access to networks, which is very special and based on long-standing relationships with talents from different industries, organisational structures and functional responsibilities.

Has Executive Search changed in recent years?

Marie: Particularly in executive search, not only must top-notch quality of search, processes and communication be ensured, but the interpersonal aspect is very decisive in making the right decisions.

Sensibility, where we also analyse which decision-making factors are important for the candidate to find the job offer as attractive. Usually salary or other benefits are not the main concern, but rather the impact potential, the cooperation and the freedom and responsibility provided in the role that are decisive for the acceptance of an offer.

In addition, no one can afford anymore to give a bad candidate experience regardless of the seniority level. Information is shared rapidly and reputations are built just as fast as they are tarnished. Thus, you have to communicate transparently and quickly to show appreciation to the candidates. Especially transparency is often underestimated. Most of the time it is enough to give only a short feedback on the status of the application over providing no feedback at all.

Many good senior candidates, if they decide to change jobs, can choose between several opportunities and also decide whether they are open to further steps in the application process based on the quality of the interviews. In an executive search, all parties invest a lot of time and effort in the process. Only if the process is of a very good quality do applicants invest more time in the very complex process.

What kind of influence has digitalisation on recruiting of top managers?

Marie: Digital work is a requirement and basis for success in terms of speed. In addition, KPIs and digital support provide a good basis for ensuring that processes run smoothly and quality standards are met. The crucial point, however, cannot be covered by digitalisation. Expertise combined with sensibility and empathy are the important points for successful placements.

Has the profile of top managers also changed? Do their skills and abilities have to be different today?

Marie: In executive search, a clear trend can be observed. The preference for people with character traits indicative of innovation leadership skills. Many executives follow a creative and influential career ladder. Accordingly, there are also “career changers” and you can see very diverse positions and titles on their resumes. Nowadays, having executives with experience in different departments or fields is seen positively, as it offers a more rounded-profile rather than a lack of experience or commitment to a specific field of expertise as it was 20 years ago.

Moreover, leaders must wear several hats these days: Coaches for the further development of employees, empathisers for the motivation of employees and not to forget firefighters; people who thrive in chaos, uncertainty and stress for times of crisis and quick decision making. Given the important role of the manager, I am slightly sceptical if a manager changes jobs constantly in terms of loyalty to the team.

To summarise Marie’s insights and tips for Executive Search: Even though digitalisation is becoming increasingly important in the search for executives, the empathetic assessments and expertise of the HR manager should not be underestimated. In addition, the recruiting process must be flawless for the candidate so that she or he does not drop out of the process.

If you have any more questions about Executive Search, please contact Marie (