At Thrive we have the benefit of spending time with some of the fastest growing executive search firms to understand the challenges they are facing. Many challenges are obvious – speed to hire, reduce administrative time, improve collaboration, and increase business development pipeline. However, one unexpected challenge that everyone seems to share is conducting the weekly Client Update Call.

Client Expectations are constantly evolving. Fundamentally, buyers are looking for searches to close quickly, efficiently, and with a standout Candidate. The increasingly competitive landscape of executive search is requiring firms to show more value to their clients by providing insights, expertise, and collaborative tools to improve the hiring outcome. This has cumulated in the expectation of more transparency throughout the search: they want search professionals to show the analytics, validating the trust they’ve placed in them while having better access to crucial candidate intelligence and talent networks.

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When search professionals are faced with difficult roles to fill, inevitably the question is asked: what is taking so long? This means they are spending more time revisiting previous work rather than looking ahead at target companies, assessments, fit, compensation or other actionable data to course-correct and speed up the hire. In most cases, this is being managed in an Excel spreadsheet that can be daunting, messy, and difficult to digest especially when months have passed without a placement. The client is expected to decipher this free-form spreadsheet of names, markings, and shorthand that they may not even understand.

Herein lies the crux of the issue: there is a technology gap that needs to be bridged if search professionals want to elevate relationships. The best way to do this is with collaborative tools that offer real-time reporting. The successful firms that continue to stand out have adopted these technologies that integrate their processes to provide an increased level of collaboration and the continuous transparency buyers crave. As a result, they have successfully moved beyond the need to reestablish trust early in each update call; instead, they’re spending the valuable time with their clients providing the expertise and talent advisory that differentiates them and speeds up the placement of the next standout.