Lean Thinking in Executive Search: Driving Results through Innovation

20 March, 2024

By Fabio Sola, Director of PRAXI Alliance

Executive Search has been marginally impacted by the digital revolution relative to other recruitment methods, remaining highly dependent on a human touch. While the traditional approach still excels when searching senior profiles, the adoption of Lean Thinking principles can accelerate performance by increasing efficiency and the quality of placements.

What is Lean Thinking?

Lean Thinking  optimizes processes by eliminating waste, which refers to any activity that consumes resources without providing value. For example, writing lengthy reports that no one has time to read when a short executive summary will do, or investing time in interviewing candidates and losing them due to unresponsiveness from the hiring side.

The integration of lean principles greatly improves the entire headhunting process, particularly in reducing the time to hire and improving both the quality of placements and retention.

Core Pillars of Lean Recruitment

The few areas to focus on in order to trim waste from your recruitment process can be broken down into the following critical areas:

  • Time
    Time management plays a crucial role in ensuring a constant workflow in the selection process. It is important to clearly map out the phases and objectives, and to keep a clear vision of the time frame for each of them.

  • Updates and Finetuning
    A search process that functions like a black box is doomed to fail. While defining the ideal profile, the recruiter must be able to simultaneously interpret and challenge inputs, being sure to immediately point out any impossibilities. In the same way, the outputs gathered at each stage should be reported and discussed in order to guide the next steps.

  • Candidate experience
    Candidates must be considered as protagonists in the selection process. Many of our candidates rank having a constant, transparent flow of information and feedback as one of the most important deciding factors in accepting a job offer, since it justifies their time invested and motivates them for the new professional challenge ahead. In addition, a positive candidate experience provides the hiring organization with a high return on reputation, which creates a virtuous cycle for future recruitment activities.

When applied to Executive Search, a Lean mindset translates into client and candidate centricity, and a meticulous focus on value-added predictors of success like the assessment of core skills and motivations. Especially at the executive level, these are the candidates who will become the motivated leaders able to make a difference at their new organizations.

For a deep yet practical exploration of these principles applied to executive recruitment, pick up a copy of “Lean Recruitment, Eccellenza senza compromessi nella ricerca di personale, by Fabio Sola. Italian language only.

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