The Role of the Researcher

Jessica iddon role of a researcher

Insight

By Jessica Iddon, Associate at Azura Search

The Role of the Researcher

Azura Search has a centralised research team which plays a key role in delivering our partner-led approach and real value for our clients. What does it mean to be a researcher at Azura Search? We ask Jessica Iddon, who joined the team in 2017.

Jessica iddon role of a researcher
Jessica Iddon, Associate at Azura Search

How would you describe your role?

I’m a researcher here at Azura Search, and it’s an exciting role because every day is different. I support the partners at every stage of their searches for our clients. I join them at briefings with the client, so I can understand what they’re looking for and capture that in our search. I help conduct the search, leveraging our network and database as well as market mapping to find the right talent. I assist with the interviews on the phone and in person, as well as writing up shortlist notes and preparing presentations to share back with the client. It’s a full delivery process and being involved throughout helps me to add value in what I do.

I also lead on market research for some clients. Recently I worked on a report that explored the calibre of candidate pool that a client was looking to hire from. It shared various graphs with them to highlight the type of people who might be interested in working for them, their market rate, skill repertoire, where they are based and so on.

On an ongoing basis, I keep in touch with all the people I’ve met, so we can act consultatively for them. I might broker an informal coffee meeting for a candidate we know is looking, together with someone we know might be interested in working with them.

It’s a fast-paced role - sometimes towards the end of the day, I look at the clock and wonder how on earth it’s 5:30 pm. 

What do you enjoy about the role?

Working alongside the partners every day is a great opportunity because you can learn so much from them. Development is important here at Azura Search – the partners really make sure you’re learning. Being part of the executive search process from start to end allows me to really understand what the client’s needs are. Every search is different, and you must deal with it as such. It’s very rewarding being able to see the value you bring to the clients and the impact you’re making on their business.

What skills do you need in your role?

The approach at Azura Search is very personable, and the nature of our service makes this avery people-oriented role. The ability to build relationships with very high calibre individuals is essential. You meet some great people in this role and it’s a fantastic opportunity being able to support them. When working on multiple searches at any one time, attention to detail, the ability to prioritise and be process-driven ensures that everything runs smoothly and we satisfy our clients. The role appeals completely to my skillset.

How do you support the wider team?

Everyone at Azura Search is acting as one team – we all play a crucial part and without each other, the wheel wouldn’t turn. The support I offer to the team is an essential part of the value we deliver to our clients, and I understand how my work can make the best impact. We researchers aren’t tucked away in a back office – we’re alongside the partners, representing the brand and finding every opportunity to enhance the service for our clients.

What’s it like to work for Azura Search?

This is a really great team to work with. Everyone works hard, and we support each other. If someone is struggling, we pitch in, and if someone is strong at something, we learn from them. The people at Azura Search are great and the purpose of the business in terms of supporting our charitable foundation; The Altum Foundation makes it all worthwhile. We all really get on and there’s a good family feel. That’s part of our success.

 

To learn more about Azura Search and our team, visit our home page. If you’re interested in the career opportunities that Azura Search has to offer, get in touch.

The Modern Leader

the modern leader

Insight

By Melanie Clark, Managing Director at Azura Search

The Modern Leader

The world of business has changed. Digital transformation, globalisation and changing economic and political environments have created unprecedented challenges and opportunities for organisations. So what does the modern leader need to succeed? What are companies looking for from their next CEO or CFO? Melanie Clark, Managing Director of Azura Search shares the insights she has acquired from managing the executive searches for some of the world’s leading brands.

Melanie Clark, Managing Director at Azura Search

A change in culture

Most organisations have shifted their culture away from a traditional, ‘top-down’ approach to one which is far more collaborative. As a result, the role of a leader has also changed, and those who can demonstrate their ability to lead by example and empower a team are increasingly attractive. For individuals hoping to secure a CFO position, this is particularly important. As an increasingly vital business partner, the CFO now finds themselves at the forefront of an organisation’s growth and transformation. It has become even more essential for finance professionals looking for a senior management role to demonstrate their ability to lead and collaborate. 

Skills and experience in demand

Technology has changed the business landscape, particularly in finance, where automation has freed up capacity for teams to offer a more consultative service. Firms expect senior leaders across all divisions to be more technologically advanced and have a good understanding of how to leverage progress for the benefit of the company. However, it is the softer skills which are increasingly important for today’s executive search. Companies want leaders who can:

  • Inspire others
  • Manage a range of personalities
  • Influence key stakeholders
  • Debate constructively
  • Be a true partner to the CEO

The trend points towards leadership ability being the top priority. We hear from many clients that so long as a candidate is an inspirational leader and have the required experience, they can be taught the nuances of the industry and still make a success of the role. This opens the door to more organisations hiring their senior management from outside the industry, particularly in listed businesses. An added benefit of doing so is that these candidates also offer a fresh perspective to the company. In terms of experience, companies are particularly keen to see finance professionals who have ‘war stories’ and experience of change. They want passionate people with a hunger to progress, but who have already been through periods of substantial transition and all the challenges that come with it. 

Filling the skills gap

It has become increasingly popular for senior-level professionals to use coaches to help them hone their leadership skills. Businesses themselves are taking leadership development more seriously, and where possible, candidates should take advantage of any consultancy or training available on subjects such as team development, hiring for success and resilience. More often than not, today’s modern leader acts as ‘an agent of engagement’, where their role is as much about enabling the right people to connect to solve the problem as it is about strategy. While it is essential for a CFO to have a good awareness of the latest digital trends, the business does need specialist knowledge in the form of a Head of E-Commerce or a Chief Digital Officer, to improve technology and the use of it commercially. This draws on their ability to orchestrate and enable others. The rewards of digital transformation are obvious - 56% of CEOs surveyed by Gartner say their digital improvements have already increased profits. But there’s an increasing awareness that this transformation isn’t just about technology - it’s about people.

The way of working

Working arrangements are certainly evolving, especially for women. There’s no longer an expectation that all staff must be in the office, 9am - 6pm, Monday - Friday, there’s much more opportunity to be flexible, thanks to technology. Some of the people we work with are able to work from home one day a week, or come in early and leave early. However, at a senior management level, there is no denying that leaders still need to be visible in the office to be inspiring managers

A change in the recruitment process

Despite all the change we’ve seen to office culture and leadership style, little progress has been made in the recruitment process for most organisations – it is still quite antiquated. At Azura Search, we’re trying to make the process more agile. Increasingly, we find that we arepartnering with businesses who also have an appetite to break the mould. Our entrepreneurial approach is a great match for theirs, and we’re receiving great support for the way we work. These inspirational, personable leaders have an increasingly modern approach, as do we.

 

If you are considering your next leadership role, or you’d like to discuss your company’s needs, please don’t hesitate to email me: [email protected]