Proper selection of candidates, but also people development

Executive Search rankings are now part of the Career and Employment Guide.

(Source: Unsplash)

Between 2020 and 2021, the ten largest executive search companies on the Slovak market saw their revenue growth exceed 13 percent. Although recruitment agencies are directly addressing candidates more, the process is ever more specific and complex for executive search companies. That is why clients opt for an executive search when looking for employees for key positions.

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The largest players

The ranking of largest executive search companies was topped by the Amrop company in 2022. The company reported the largest number of general directors, board members, executive directors and top managers found for its clients, altogether 25. Amrop Managing Partner Igor Šulík said candidates and clients exercised increased caution in 2021. The decision making took longer and selection processes were prolonged due to objective and subjective reasons. Clients also paid more attention to how candidates came to terms with changed conditions resulting from the pandemic, and how successful they were at leading companies or their teams.

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“The perception of leadership has changed, and ever more focus is now put on considering factors linked, for example, to ESG approaches,” said Šulík. ESG stands for environmental, social and governance factors. Their aim is responsible and sustainable business, not just towards the environment but also towards the employees, customers, or communities.

The Arthur Hunt company ranked second; its partner, Katarína Bittalová, branded it the best year in its history. One important factor that positively influenced development in 2021 was the arrival of a new company in the segment of sustainability and ecology. The project for this client involved a complex consultation for positions ranging from top management to specialists.

“The number of positions thus significantly exceeded our typical annual average of filled positions,” said Bittalová. Arthur Hunt filled altogether 70 positions in 2021.

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Another large executive search company active in Slovakia is Menkyna & Partners, which ranked third.

“Candidates were slightly less open to career change compared to the past, mainly in lower-level positions. Higher managers usually perceive potential career change as an opportunity even nowadays,” said Robert Baldovič, a partner at Menkyna & Partners.

Companies and candidates are more willing to hold their first meetings through teleconference applications, while hybrid meetings have become normal. “Still, the decision whether to make an offer comes only after subsequent in-person meetings,” Baldovič added.

Novelties and specifics

“We introduced walking sessions, which contributed to health and made us different from the rest of the market,” said Bittalová. Personal consultations on a walk allowed for direct communication even during the most stringent pandemic restrictions.

Other novelties that the largest companies introduced in their work are client portals, which give the client the possibility to follow the status of each selection project, and in some cases even provide feedback. Such a solution was introduced by Target, Teamconsult, and Amrop. The latter also offered screening of candidates, which is mainly used when filling top positions. The consultants run a background check of the candidate, including their digital footprint.

Several companies from the top 10 ranking now report that they no longer focus on just executive searches but also provide consultation on the development of teams, organisations, and individuals.

“Within long-term complex projects, we are thus becoming a strategic partner in the cultural transformation of big organisations,” Baldovič said.

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