Executive Search Industry Trends for 2018 and Beyond

This article informs people in the executive search industry about current trends and new directions they'll want to keep up with to stay competitive. The article is keyword-rich and written with a style that can be read fluidly and rapidly by online visitors. It concludes with some suggestions for how readers can apply these trends to their own recruitment strategies for better success.

Executive Search Industry Trends for 2018 and Beyond

With the world changing as rapidly as it is, each year will always be different. Luckily, there are some trends you can be aware of to help you keep up. Many of the current trends in the executive search industry are responses to challenges search firms face, while others reflect what companies are looking for in their new executives in 2018.

To keep up with the market and see growth in 2018 and beyond, you’ll want to learn how to incorporate artificial intelligence into your firm’s workload, improve your interview process, keep your eye on the data and have a culture of diversity and inclusion.

The Use of AI

Artificial Intelligence may sound intimidating, but it can become a powerful workhorse in your executive search firm that saves you a great deal of time and money.

Thirty-five percent of executive recruiters say that AI is the most significant change affecting the way they hire. It takes over repetitive aspects of recruitment, such as automating candidate searches and finding prospects through advanced search algorithms.

Also, AI chatbots can respond to questions your firm gets, which is another big save. With AI doing a lot of the grunt work, executive recruiters can focus on engaging their prospects and interviewing candidates in 2018 and beyond.

Reinventing the interview process

There’s a lot of talk in the industry about improving upon the traditional candidate interview process to account for inevitable human biases and traits of a candidate that can’t be seen by having a chat.

One trend is using online assessment tools to evaluate soft skills early on in the process. Some companies are hosting paid job auditions for candidates to do real work so that they can fully observe their skills and performance. Others are trying virtual reality (VR) to simulate their work environment for candidates. While acing an interview is essential, the traditional sit-down interview is becoming less relevant to employers, and prospects need to be able to show they can be a useful part of the team and work harmoniously.


In 2017, many companies were served lawsuits for discrimination and harassment, which is one reason there’s more urgency for employers to promote diversity and inclusion in the coming years. However, variety isn’t about checking off a box or avoiding lawsuits, but about improving company culture and performance. Growing research suggests that diverse teams are more engaged, productive and innovative.

Despite the benefits of diversity, most companies fail to achieve their goals in that respect because they aren’t casting a net for candidates of different backgrounds. That is where executive search firms come in–by looking in the right places and finding a variety of prospects for companies that need them.


In 2018 and beyond, executive recruitment will become increasingly driven by data. Talent acquisition used to be a decision-based, people-driven profession. Now it’s more of a numbers game since hiring managers have beenĀ using increasing amounts of data to inform their decisions.

With advances in technology and AI, the volume of data and the analysis of it has allowed managers to predict outcomes. Many companies now have strategies or departments for “talent data” or “talent intelligence” because of the edge candidate data gives them.

Having the data on your side is what gives you a competitive edge in the executive search industry. While others have opinions about whom to hire, you can point to what the numbers are saying.


With the rise of globalization, talent is increasingly willing to travel for work or relocate. That makes one reason to bear the global market in mind and look for candidates beyond your country’s borders. Another reason is that with the increased digitization of virtually everything in the workplace, companies are hiring more people to work from home, from anywhere in the world.

Final Words

Knowing these trends, you can use them to your firm’s best advantage in 2018 and beyond. The sooner you invest in AI technology, the sooner you start saving time and money in your business. You can serve your clients better by finding them diverse candidates that help them meet their diversity goals. Use tools to acquire and analyze talent data so that you know the facts about candidates that companies want to hear, and be sure your search extends to the global market.

Leave a comment