April 29, 2024

How Research Associates Benefit Executive Search

In Executive Search, the rule that “outputs are only as good as inputs” is true. A high-touch, boutique recruiter will consider a candidate pool of tens or hundreds before submitting to their client only the best few. But even for the most thorough, scrupulous recruiters, the caliber of the submitted group will depend on the candidate pool the recruiter began with.  

So, to make sure we find the most qualified of the most qualified, the best fits of the best fits, our team of Research Associates–Prasruthi, Hannah, and Laura–skillfully turn over every stone. They know all the right ways to search for talent and can drum up a pool of candidates that is sure to hold the right person.  

“I think of it as spending as much time on the screen so that recruiters can spend as much time on the phone,” Hannah says. The Research Associates dig through LinkedIn and other databases to find candidates with particular disciplines, niches, and vetted backgrounds to create a complex “texture” of choices that then gets handed off to the recruiter.   

They aren’t just scanning for the “open to work” ribbon on LinkedIn profile pictures either. They are adept in searching for passive candidates who are not clearly looking for new opportunities but may be receptive if the right one came along. These candidates are often more difficult to find since they typically have a very small or outdated internet footprint. 

Research Associates put both hard and soft skills to use. The primary hard skill is Boolean search, or the special language of databases and search engines. The team is skilled at adjusting all the infinite variables and aspects of the Boolean search strategy to filter and focus on the best matches. 

Being a Researcher requires creativity, divergent thinking, and quick adaptation to the jargon of completely foreign industries. Helping fill high-level roles in Energy & Renewables and Life Sciences to name a couple, will have them picking up an entirely new vocabulary with each search in order to identify the right talent.  

As we say in our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we believe that a diverse team is better suited to impact the world. Therefore, we make our best effort to present a diverse slate of candidates to our clients, and our Research Associates are essential in making that happen from the outset. Hannah, Laura, and Prasruthi are each Certified Diversity Recruiters through AIRS. They have developed an understanding of biases that may prevent a DEI candidate from being in a talent pool and have mastered creative ways and resources to find those DEI candidates. The training also helped our Research Associates expand their definition of DEI as it relates to the workforce. Because of their certification, they know how to represent all their candidates better and mitigate bias that may have affected them in the past.  

Since they also facilitate reference checks for search finalists, Research Associates have their handprint on our searches from the very beginning to the very end. “It’s rewarding to know that I facilitated a life change for someone,” Hannah says. Prasruthi and Laura echoed this, saying that sometimes the view a placement’s linkedin profile after they announce that they have moved jobs with a satisfying, “I did that.” 

As boutique executive search professionals, our clients should expect the highest level of quality, fastidiousness, and care throughout the entire search process, long before the first candidate interview is scheduled. Our outstanding Research Associates are integral to making sure that happens.

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller is the Marketing & Media Specialist at ThinkingAhead. She supports the recruiting team in a variety of ways including managing social media, generating...

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