Executive recruiting is arguably the most important and difficult task in the world of business today. Retained executive search consulting is recognised today as a key management tool which helps organisations around the world recruit talented and skilled executives for seldom advertised senior management positions. Yet the profession of retained executive search (often described as “headhunters”) remains mysterious to many executives and professionals. Most understand that they must actively manage their careers – but they don’t really know how. Survey research indicates for example that most people spend more time planning their vacations than their careers! Many simply fail to see the role and value that executive search can play in that endeavour. At one time or another, however, most senior executives will encounter executive search consultants in their careers. It is therefore well worth the effort to understand how they operate and to get prepared for such encounters.
Christophe de Callatay has been director for Europe at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) since February 2008. Over the past decade, he has developed his professional career in strategic communications, media relations, public affairs and association management as the director of communication for two EU business associations; BUSINESSEUROPE and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.