SPIEF Magazine spoke about the professions of the future and how to get into the portfolio of one of the best companies on the executive search market with Magnum Hunt CEO Olga Selivanova-Shoff, the top specialist in the industry, according to a joint ranking compiled by Profile and Career magazines.
Olga, you and your company are often associated with the executive search market in Russia. The CEOs of almost all the companies participating in SPIEF know who you are. What is the secret to your success?
We came to the Russian market in 1995 after successfully launching our business in London. At that time, there actually was no market yet, and we were one of the first companies that formed the executive search industry in Russia. At first, we worked primarily with international banks and funds. Today, our consultants have unique expertise and, while working fr om London, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, are competently implementing some of the most complex projects to find professionals in various fields around the world. So, when talking about the secret to our success, I would highlight our tightknit team, the ability to take a creative approach to solutions, and our loyalty to the Russian market. When you need something exclusive, you come to us.
Who is currently in demand?
The global financial crisis of 2008 seriously altered the banking sector worldwide. We are still working with the largest Russian banks, which my colleague in London, Maria Yankovskaya, handles quite professionally. But our clients have increasingly become state-owned and private Russian companies in various industries, from the mining industry to engineering, telecommunications and media, construction and real estate. Over 25 years, we have implemented more than 2,000 projects. Right now it?s difficult to talk about demand for particular senior executives since all clients have unique objectives. However, they often arise in places wh ere it?s difficult to search for them, such as Nigeria, Latin America, or Pakistan.
The trends worth noting, of course, include growth in the technology sector: financial technologies, payment systems, e-commerce ? Ozon, Yandex Market, Alibaba, etc. We are proud that we managed to conduct several difficult searches to attract world-class experts to Russian companies.
The robot Nadine is one of the promising projects that will be able to change the recruiting market in the future
How exactly does the process of selecting a candidate take place?
I?ll give an example. In 2018, we received a request from Ilim Group ? they needed to find an innovations director to develop businesses that were new and unconventional for the company. Luiza Gubaidulina, a partner in Magnum Hunt?s industrial practice, was in charge searching for the candidate. She suggested that the client start out with preliminary market research in order to analyse who is driving innovations in Russia and how, and then sel ect an optimal solution. We focused on the market players who, according to experts, are most actively developing innovations and reached the following conclusions: the role of innovations in an organizational structure depends on the priorities of the business and the personality of the leader in this segment. Innovators want to be first. They burn out quickly if decision-making is delayed due to drawn-out corporate approvals and political games within the company. They are more interested in working on small outsourcing projects as partners. As a result, we not only managed to find the right professional, but also helped the client implement the important business idea of creating the ?Ilim Group Corporate Accelerator?. In January 2019, the best start-ups that were finalists for the accelerator were selected. More than 170 start-ups from around the world were considered.
What professional qualities should a candidate have had in this project?
Any candidate should have most of them. It provides successful experience to introduce new products/services to the market, develop new markets, including international ones, and have advanced skills in managing such functions as R&D/development/strategic marketing, as well as experience in introducing best practices and innovations. In terms of personal qualities, we focused on the ability to see strengths and create additional value, being open to new things, curiosity, strategic thinking, consistency, and a proactive attitude.
A popular theme now is what the executive search of the future will look like and what professions will remain?
That?s true. Right now everyone is talking about the professions of the future. Many of them have appeared quite recently, while robotics will lead to the disappearance of other professions. For instance, the United States is expected to fully automate up to 40% of production processes in the next 20 years. This won?t necessarily result in mass unemployment, but people will have to adapt, of course. One of the key skills of the 21st century is the ability to unlearn, forget what you have learned and how it was previously done, and be ready to quickly embrace something new.
Artificial intelligence is infiltrating our industry as well: automated recruitment processes have been around for a long time, but technologies are emerging to assess candidates? motivation through their voice. My colleague, the head of our Moscow office, Yulia Krizhevich, and I were recently at the Executive Program at Singularity University in California. At one of the sessions, we met with the developers of the humanoid robot Nadine, who can replace actual workers in the service industries. They say that this robot may eventually be able to fully replace recruiters.
But we believe that for now the involvement of a professional consultant is essential in executive search. I share the opinion of the authors of a recent publication by Stanford University: artificial intelligence cannot be trusted to sel ect managers. Only an experienced real professional with a wide network of contacts and experience of interacting with C-level executives can assess this.
Morgan Hunt recently changed its name to Magnum Hunt. Why did you need to rebrand?
The founders selected the name Morgan Hunt to be directly associated with the business of our first customers: JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. But our team has been working with all sectors of the economy for a long time now, so the association with banks is no longer relevant to us. In addition, Morgan Hunt began developing the staff leasing segment since the early 2000s while working with government organizations in the UK and has become one of the largest companies on this market. The logic of such different businesses existing under one roof has disappeared. So we reached an agreement with my former partners to split up the business and for the executive search segment to be spun off from the Morgan Hunt group. The name change has completed this process. The new brand Magnum Hunt positions our business more broadly and establishes our independence while also preserving our history and continuity since the initials are the same!
What do you see as some of the challenges facing Magnum Hunt in the next five years?
The priority is still to promote the development and business success of Magnum Hunt?s clients through the best personnel decisions. We implement each project based on the client?s individual interests and needs. Our work does not end with filling a vacancy. We support candidates throughout the adaptation period and ensure they successfully integrate into organizations and achieve the maximum synergistic effect from interaction between the employer and the candidates that are hired. The successful business strategy of Magnum Hunt Executive Search is not so much confirmed by the letters of recommendation as it is by the thanks we have received fr om our clients and candidates that have been placed over many years and, of course, their success in working together.
Magnum Hunt Executive Search (until recently Morgan Hunt Executive Search) is a leading international company that specializes in searching for senior executives, fr om the comprehensive assessment of all an organization?s needs to the filling of a position with the most worthy candidates.