Social media’s influence on executive search

March 11, 2010 · Filed Under Theoretical Foundation, reflections 

The CEO of a top search firm (global top 10) commented on the potential impact of social networks on the executive search business. He said that the search business will diminish because social networks significantly reduce the advantages offered by intermediaries – he obviously believes that finding is a major advantage.

Hearing this comment another CEO (also global top ten) said that this guy doesn’t believe in the core business of his company – also believing that “finding” is the core business: the job boards didn’t eliminate search, linkedin will not eliminate it either…

I think this is short sighted on both sides. It’s not a question of belief or doubt! If I am a leader in an industry, I must be acutely aware of all trends and tendencies, look at all risks (potential and actual) and constantly evaluate and even create options.

Discussions about social networks’ effect on search are based on flawed thinking: there is no point!

Like in any other industry the perfect concept must be (re)defined as the purpose and in the same time, potential of the business. Then current reality must be understood as a component in the various patterns of unfolding towards or away from the concept and actions must be adjusted to ensure that we get as close to the concept as possible, instead of drifting away from it.

Social networks are part of the concept behind executive search; potentially always have been, recently they are actually part of it. Awareness of the concept is key to developing appropriate strategies, to align successfully to customers and if needed to take on a leadership role to align everybody, all stakeholders to the concept, often changing radically the whole game if necessary.

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