How to Become a Pablo Isla for Headhunters

Executive Search
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12月 21, 2021
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Executive Search
Executive Summary
How candidates can stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of the headhunter.
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Article excerpt originally published in Expansión by Montse Mateos.

Versatility, leadership, adaptability and an impeccable professional career are some of the requirements for entering the headhunters' search orbit.

On 30 November, Pablo Isla became the star candidate for the main headhunting firms operating in the country. The Chairperson of Inditex announced that day that he would leave the company next March, bringing a successful 16 year career in the group to an end. This week the retail multinational reported its figures for the third quarter of the year: sales of €7.389 billion, a 22% year on year increase for the same period in 2020, but also 5.5% more than in 2019, when it achieved its all-time record. Few executives can boast such attractive end-of-cycle figures. This is the finishing touch to the career of this State Lawyer who previously worked as Director of Legal Services at Banco Popular. He was subsequently appointed General Director of State Treasury at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and from July 2000 to 2005, before joining Inditex, he was Chairperson of Altadis.

This CV is as exceptional as it is attractive to any headhunter. Who wouldn't want to have a Pablo Isla among its candidates? What happens is that often the managers to whom they have access are not so exceptional, nor do they enjoy such visibility. Finding one’s way into the headhunters' search orbit depends as much on the quality of the profile in question as on standing out from the crowd. These employment intermediaries practice what is defined as direct search, i.e. they contact a candidate, and they typically already have a job, who may be a good match for the position their client is looking to fill. In this case, these are high-level profiles, with an annual salary of more than €180,000. 

The search

Finding the right candidate for your client companies is the biggest challenge for headhunters and...it is not always easy to find the best. Ramón Gómez de Olea, Managing Director of Russell Reynolds in Spain since 2014, recalls that his firm was the first to wager on the potential of professional networks in this task. Almost twenty years ago, the company allocated part of its investments to the development of a platform that integrates, in addition to the huge amount of candidate data, all the public information circulating on the web. At the time, no one foresaw the potential of these platforms.

"We were pioneers in reaching an agreement with LinkedIn, which now offers a specific module for headhunters. I believe that social networks offer the opportunity to stand out, to be proactive in following people of interest and posting about something. That is why it is essential to create a good profile and update it. In this sense, experience and talent are highly valued. In my case I analyse the achievements of the person concerned, the time spent in each organisation, and the sector in which they have operated. At Russell Reynolds we have a very strong specialisation by sector and we know the companies in depth," explains Gómez de Olea, for whom proactivity in the candidate's network is relevant, but not definitive ...

The full article can be accessed here.