Tuesday 1 July 2014

Executive Search Firms in India

I am, apart from being an Executive Search Professional, also an active Rotarian and member of Rotary Club of Thane North End affiliated to Rotary International. Recently I was told to write an article on my profession (in Rotary we call it classification) for our club newsletter 'Mukti'. The article was written in general for different set of people to give them an idea of Executive Search as profession. This gives just a bird’s eye view about this noble profession hence I thought of sharing with all.

Executive Search or Head Hunting Specialist as commonly known, is a new age Consulting profession that is gaining a wide acceptance. Today corporates pay a consultants in India anything between Rs.10 lac (USD 16K) to 2 cr (USD 330K) to search a right professional for their enterprise. Many time people asks me why would one pay so much for finding an employee when there’s so much unemployment around. Answer is that unemployment is at lower level or at entry level due to skill mismatch or lack of  information. At senior / top level there is acute shortage of talent. Not only that, at senior level, professionals do have their choices and apprehensions that makes match making very difficult. There’s saying “Executive Search consultant does not hunt those who hunt jobs but hunt those whom job hunts”

One of the most important role of an Executive Search Consultant (ESC)  is to develop a communication without exaggeration  to entice the person to take career decision in favor of the opportunity presented.  We have heard how Steve job lured John Sculley from Pepsi to join Apple by asking Sculley "Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”  Sculley proved to be most successful CEO of Silicon Valley. One of my clients, a most reputed builder of Mumbai, wanted to diversify in IT/ ITEs and were willing to invest 50 Cr (USD 10 mn) in cash capital apart from lending Real Estate but no established IT professional  was willing to join them as CEO. We released a half page camouflaged Advert in India, Gulf and USA spending closed to Rs 50 lac (USD 100K) and announcing seriousness of their intent. Fully aware that no established Professional is going to apply to this advert. Then we shortlisted 14 successful CEOs from IT Industry whom I had known otherwise and sent them the advert cutting requesting them to refer someone. Seven of them reverted asking golden question “who is the promoter?” and search story begins. Five of them were eventually presented to our client and one eventually joined.

Foundation of Executive Search is research & knowledge on the DNAs of the Companies & Professionals operating in the sector of one’s specialization. It is all about reading the undercurrents of the industry and understanding professional whims and fancies of the individuals. Executive Search is all about relationship. Most of us (ESCs) have relationships with our customers & candidates that goes  back more than a decade. Recently I placed a person for the MD position with one of my old European client at Ahmedabad, whom I had known for over a decades but never placed before.

Executive Search is used by all but it is boon for SMEs who need good talent to grow their business but  does not have requisite size and brand equity. Time when Steve Job proposed John Sculley, Pepsi was global giant and Apple a pygmy. How does one convince a professional to join a small upcoming company with low paying capability is both science & art that ESC exercise. Many get confused Executive Search Consultancy with low end recruitment Agency. Lower Level Recruiting is more mechanical process & number game coupled with filtering skills. Executive Search is like a super specialist who need to understand your need very carefully. Recently I was introduced to one Mid-size industrialist whose company was not doing well and wanted a Professional to turn around. But industrialist reacted sharply & negatively to my poking question to understand reasons for his company’s sickness. Guess what, meeting lasted just five minutes and I have to decline the mandate. If you are a Promoter / Businessman wanting to hire the services of an Executive Search Consultant, my advice to you is to find a good consultant through validated references and be transparent with that consultant and get the best out of him/her. Do not hesitate to share with them inner woes. As such all of us are under the oath of secrecy like any doctor or professional.

And if you are a professional, then best is to network with Executive Search Consultant much before you need them. Best time is when you have just getting out of Middle management getting into general management roles. And if you are already at Senior level looking for a change, then do connect with ones you had networked in past but don’t solely depend upon them. The reason is that an Executive Search consultant is driven by the needs of its client and has very limited wherewithal to push someone through unless situation warranted. You can use your relations to take ESC advise to make better career decisions. Executive Search Consultant will invest his time in you if see a potential in you. The gentleman whom I placed in Ahmedabad took my free advice 3 to 4 times for his career moves in the interim. Thanks to this I understood that he thrives in chaos. His all successful innings were in troubled companies and  he turn out to be virtual status quo manager in a stable company. So this time I have to really impress upon my client to push hard his candidature because the said company in Ahmedabad was in all sorts of troubles including the treason by local JV partner. In Last two years, he had  sorted  out all problems and put the company on comeback trail. You guessed already soon it is going to be   time to hand over company to someone else.

If you are young aspirant looking for career choices, then to be an Executive Search Consultant , it is good to have a MBA degree. Most youngster starts their career in Executive Search as Researcher where they work back end with senior consultant, just the way any intern or junior doctor / lawyer work with seniors. Good one soon starts client facing accompanying the Sr. consultant. Ideally  a person with 12 years’ experience should become a Senior Management Consultants or Practice Head. To enter midway one must have some expertise in a specific sector and a penchant of connecting with people. However, as on date there are no specialist courses in Executive Search. Most of us are self-learned professionals Graduated out of Practical Institute of Real Life. In future there are likely to be some courses too.

For more information about Executive Search Firms in India, Contact us at: 

Magna Global HR Private Limited
102, Jai Shankar Apartment, 
Bhakti Mandir Road, LBS Marg, 
Opp State Bank of Patiyala
Thane West, Mumbai - 400601
Phone No : 022-25441061/62
Email : admin@magnaglobalhr.com

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