In episode 2 of our new podcast, Executive Recruiter 2.0, I talked with Robert Crowder, Managing Director of Chapman Farrell Group, about what makes executive search different than other types of recruiting. And related to that, what skills are most crucial for succeeding in the executive search space.

The main difference between executive search and other types of recruiting? Sourcing.

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The Post and Pray is dead.

“Posting and praying is probably not the most effective sourcing method for being able to get executives,” says Crowder. “It may work for a lot of positions lower in the house, but the post and pray methodology is not the best way to get the top executives.”

And why is that? Well, when it comes to executive search, you’re often tasked with attracting someone who doesn’t currently work for that employer to get up and leave their current job. That type of task requires relationship building, and a deeper understanding of what might motivate someone to ultimately leave their job for another opportunity. Because it’s not always as simple as more money and a new job title.

Building those relationships takes time. There are no shortcuts for this. It takes conversation; real conversations, that take place over time. Additionally, there are certain skills that can help you gain the most insight out of those conversations. Specifically, Crowder identifies four core skills that are essential to executive search: emotional intelligence, the art of inquiry, listening skills, and conceptual thinking.

Emotional Intelligence

Crowder describes emotional intelligence as the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and accurately assess the emotions of others. “For a candidate, sometimes the reasons for not leaving or electing to do something may be purely emotional and not really rational,” explains Crowder. “Being emotionally intelligent helps you to read those situations better.”

The Art of Inquiry

The art of inquiry, as Crowder calls is, is really the ability to ask the right questions and in the right way to get to the true heart of a matter. As he explains, “there’s been many times that I’ve asked questions to a candidate or a hiring manager where after asking the question they look at me and go ‘you know, I’ve never thought about it that way before.’ Being able to ask those questions that sometimes make something apparent that wasn’t apparent before, is really powerful in being able to successfully get the right person in the right job.”

Listening Skills

Truly listening to someone means hearing what a person means, not just what they say, says Crowder. That includes listening for what isn’t said, or words that are up for interpretation and may require more information.

Conceptual Thinking

Conceptual thinking is being adept at grasping complex issues. That means anticipating both short-term and long-term implications and decisions and being a continuous learner, always looking to grow, always looking to learn. Of the four key skills listed, Crowder believes this skill is something you either have or you don’t.

You can learn more about these skills, as well as how to improve them, in our latest episode of Executive Recruiter 2.0, available now.