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Search Firms Expect A.I. To Advance Into Qualitative Role For Candidate Research

Thaddeus Andres - June 11, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Generative AI (ChatGPT) and Automation over the past year have evolved at a rapid pace. To gain a deeper understanding and the future evolution of AI’s role in the executive search process, Clockwork surveyed 179 executive search firms across the globe over a 6 week period at the end of 2023. The purpose of the survey was to identify key areas of opportunity for AI to support the search process, and gather insights around market demand for future growth for AI. This is an excerpt below on A.I.'s impact on the research function within the executive search process.

Search Firms See AI Stepping Into A More Qualitative Role In Research Over Quantitative.

It is not surprising that 70.9% of search firms say that AI will very likely impact Stage 4 (Research), since this is the main area in which AI has already contributed. With AI already heavily supporting the quantitative sourcing function of Research today, search firms are anticipating and looking for deeper ways to leverage AI for qualifying, categorizing and personifying candidates. With 59.8% of search firms stating they were very interested in AI supporting this by automatically generating talent pools to select candidates from, there is significant demand and opportunity for AI to take on a more impactful and valuable role in pipelining and qualifying candidates in Stage 4 (Research). With over half of search firms (56.7%) being very interested in AI suggesting candidates from external sources to add directly onto a search project, it further supports the concept that search firms want and trust AI to search, find, and present candidates that are a match for the role beyond their immediate networks and relationships.

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The next opportunity and area for growth in Stage 4 (Research) here is for AI to expand a search firm’s reach and depth by proactively uncovering, verifying and qualifying passive talent from external sources, all while research is being conducted using the firm’s existing search software database. This demand and opportunity for AI to move downstream within Stage 4 (Research), is further supported with 48.5% of search firms saying they are very interested in AI automatically suggesting sources for a search project. These key areas and opportunities for AI to more deeply qualify candidates, will drive search firms to rely more heavily on their proprietary research and data intelligence; curate a richer more qualified network of talent; better leverage their insights gleaned from past candidate conversations and build stronger relationships with top-tier talent.

AI Can Close The Gap In Reporting And Analytics In Research.

When it comes to Stage 4 (Research) search firms struggle with not only reporting on research integrity and effectiveness, but documenting and communicating this to clients. Either search firms do not have a clear or easy way to produce these reports, or are unsure what data or metrics to capture and present here. However, over 4 in every 10 search firms (43.3%) say they are very interested in AI and automation generating both the Research Criteria Scorecard and the Research Coverage Report. There is an opportunity for AI to supplement this part of Stage 4 (Research), and by generating these reports, can help a search firm to diagnose the health and progress of the search. As an added benefit of AI assisting in this way, consequentially search firms can uncover any unconscious bias early in the search process.

Upcoming Webinar: A.I. Platforms and Integrations For Executive Search Firms - Register Now

Topics: Executive Search- The Eight Stages of Successful Retained Search- Best Practices

Thaddeus Andres

Thaddeus Andres

With nearly 13 years of experience within executive search and recruitment, Thaddeus has held several marketing roles at various industry associations, networks and companies where he was responsible for implementing, leading and driving key marketing strategies and initiatives.

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