Behind the scenes of top management recruitment

article Interview

Interview with David - Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Signium - Stein & Partner, for Capital Magazine

The headhunting process, especially when it comes to searching for top management positions, the so-called Executive Search, finding the right person for the role is far from “staff placement”. We are dealing with a complex and refined process that few understand.

This is also the reason for which we talked to David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Romania and Austria for Signium-Stein & Partner. We emphasise that Signium is a leader in its area of ​​expertise.

What does the top recruitment market in Romania look like today?

Undeniably, over the years, our recruitment market has improved – from customer involvement up to the level of understanding a consultant’s / recruiter’s role. “There were periods when it was believed that you can find good people everywhere, others when good people were not available for a role in Romania, because they were looking for opportunities in foreign markets, others in which supply and demand were balanced,” says David-Sebastian Stein. Obviously, we are dealing with a very dynamic field, in continuous adaptation and evolution. “I think we have reached a point where more and more people understand that recruitment is no longer just about placing staff, but it is a process in which both parties, the employer and the employee, weigh well to what extent they fit. People are no longer just looking for a place to earn a salary from, and companies are no longer only interested in clerks and people who just execute tasks,” said Signium’s Managing Partner for Capital.

“If in the past our focus was on identifying and recruiting exceptional leaders, now we have evolved from providing Executive Search services to more complex Leadership Advisory services, which imply a much deeper relationship between us and our customers”, Stein continued. Basically, this means exploring the business strategy and medium and long-term plans, to better identify the skills that each company needs to meet its objectives. “The fact that we present them with an objective and documented perspective, that we are involved in aligning the stakeholders’ visions, that we provide them with valuable market information, which is obtained during Executive Search processes, are aspects that add value to our customers today.”, David-Sebastian Stein points out

Executive Search. Precisely, how does it happen?

From what we’ve understood, the Executive Search process is about the same for all service providers in the industry and covers an identification of available talents in a defined field, business model, in a certain market or in several, the second phase being much more complex. “In the second phase, we approach the potentially fitting candidates, evaluating their suitability, but also their interest. Depending on the result, we may need to adjust the search strategy and repeat the process – if circumstances allow, we prefer to work with agile working methods, meaning that we are in constant communication with our clients “, David-Sebastian Stein stresses.

“Differences between suppliers can come from several aspects: from attention to detail, knowledge of the market and the ability to align them with the needs of stakeholders, from the experience of the project teams to translate the organisational context into a matrix of necessary skills, the ability of the Consultants and Partners to match the culture and values ​​of the company with those of the candidates and, last but not least, from the communication with the client throughout the project“, the manager also tells us.

What is essential in choosing the best candidates in Executive Search

Generally, companies say that there is no standard recipe because each project is unique. Signium says it has a very high success rate, due to initial efforts to understand the organisational context of its customers, the ability to understand different perceptions of competencies and the expertise to identify solutions that support the vision of the leadership team. “For example, many times, the market does not offer exactly what is initially wanted. In these situations, our role is to analyse different alternatives and calibrate ourselves to look into other industries with similar business models, to search for candidates with development potential, or to help the client redesign the role, covering responsibilities with internal resources, and adapting the search strategy for a modified role”, Stein points out.

We owe our success to putting as much emphasis on the candidate as on the client. We also wish the best for the people we place and to offer them a good recruitment experience, but also to make sure that the role we propose is a good step for their career “, Signium’s Managing Partner continued

Tips for a possible candidate

“We are trying to support our candidates in preparing for the next stage in their careers. We advise them to have their homework done, that is, to carefully and honestly assess their skills and development aspirations; the better done this analysis is, the more likely they are to find the right job,” says David-Sebastian Stein. He also advises them to pay attention to the projects that brought them satisfaction, to the contexts in which they felt they performed best, but also to the less pleasant responsibilities. It is also important for them to be active, to connect with Executive Search consultants working in the industry they are targeting and to express their intention to change jobs in advance.