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“Recruit to predict the potential of applicants”

The recruitment of executive staff is the core business of Russell Reynolds Associates. However, the firm must adapt to a changing context, as companies’ expectations in terms of leadership are evolving.


Les Echos | November 25, 2019




The Les Echos article, "Recruit to predict the potential of applicants," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Florence Ferraton as she explains how companies' expectations in terms of leadership are evolving. The article is excerpted below.
What significant changes have occurred in recent years in the manner of recruiting top-level talent? 
The context in which applicants of this type are now recruited has become more complex. Transformation is vital for all companies. Our role is to provide leadership advice. We are trying to meet the requirements of this new paradigm and to better equip executives so that they can run businesses in an agile manner. Three years ago, we decided to become partners with Hogan, a specialist in personality testing, and we adjusted the tests to our own executive population. This partnership resulted in the evolution of our traditional model of analysis of senior management assessment, making it more dynamic and potential-predictive. 

What does this kind of assessment of your applicants rely on at present?
Initially, our model relied on skills belonging to four classic categories: strategy, candidate results orientation, team leadership, and leadership by influence. It has since been enriched with eight additional skill pairs, which in the past might have appeared to be contradictory, but whose analysis allows us to better understand the profile and potential of the candidates being assessed. An example related to team leadership: we analyze a person’s ability to have “heroic” leadership qualities, to be a leader who inspires and engages through his/her vision, but also “vulnerable” leadership qualities, which is more in line with the leadership model of new generations, with a focus on people development and on the complementarity of skills. Personality tests also give us insight into the intrinsic qualities of the profiles of candidates we recruit, their potential for loss of self-control in stressful situations and the levers of their motivation.

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