Insights

Listen to Karen Greenbaum’s podcast interview about executive search in Asia

Karen Greenbaum, President & CEO at the AESC was a guest on a Hong Kong radio show called Money Talk hosted by Peter Lewis on Monday 14th March in Hong Kong.

The radio show is a half hour business program on Radio 3. The topic of conversation was the value of executive search and leadership consulting and how organizations that harness the unique leadership styles related to different demographic groups tend to bring about improvements in organizational health, financial performance, risk management, and ethical standards.

Interview Transcript

Peter: Please tell us more about the AESC and what it does in Hong Kong.

Karen: We are the only Association representing the profession and have been around for 50 years. The purpose is to ensure the best practices and the highest quality for the client community. We set the standards and ensure that our members are the best executive search professionals in the world. This is in particular important because the executive search profession has no barrier of entry. Anyone can wake up in the morning and say they are an executive search consultant; from a client perspective we try to differentiate those true professionals and practice the standards of excellence and best practices approach. We have over 350 firms from around the world in 75 different countries. I am currently on a two week tour of Asia meeting with our members.

P: Why should people use executive search firms as opposed to a contingent recruiter?

K: This is a great question. We have just completed research that we are releasing in a few weeks and have asked our clients the exact same question. It’s about trust, confidentially and expertise on hard to fill positions. When you think about looking for the top executives in your company whether that is the CEO or CFO, you want to make sure you are really hiring an expert that has the trust of the candidate community, not just the trust of the client. Executive search professionals have an exclusive assignment with the client, they are not just gathering a resume and hope something sticks, they have worked with the client to define the position, the culture, the requirements and the business strategy to do what they really do best and that is search for the right candidate.

P: The cost of getting it wrong for a company can be very high, do you agree?

K: That’s exactly right. Contingent people say that their fees are lower so they have a lower cost, but I would argue that the ultimate high cost is getting it wrong. The cost of getting it right for a business from a strategic perspective is quite high in terms of high value and the cost of getting it wrong is very serious.

P: As well as finding people, do you also focus on working with firms to identify leadership and succession challenges they may have?

K: Absolutely, in fact in our name we have added the word ‘leadership’, and that was a market driven change from a demand from our client community. Clients wanted us to help assess their leadership team as part of a succession planning process, taking similar tools and mythologies and applying them more broadly. Perhaps the assignment is for better board effectiveness, so we would work with the board to make sure it is diverse enough and is working effectively, or it may be coaching leaders. We are getting involved in many leadership advisories that are leveraging what we have already done on the executive search side.

To listen to the full interview, please click here. Karen’s interview starts at 15:00 and ends at 21:45.

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