Executive Search Insights

Next Generation Board Talent in Executive Search –
A Researcher’s Perspective

Increasingly our team have been asked about hiring next generation talent by our clients. As businesses consider their development, they are keen to understand how to attract the best senior leadership talent in finance, digital and commercial functions who have the potential to step into board roles in the future.

We spoke to Natasha Wint, research lead in our Amsterdam office, to gain her insight on the executive search process and how Azura sources next generation talent.

What is it that clients look for in next generation talent?
In my experience clients tend to look for someone with drive, ambition, and a desire to grow, coupled with humility. Someone needs to know what value they can add whilst also being aware of the gaps in their experience and areas they may need training in as an up-and-coming talent.

Of course, clients also look for candidates with a strong professional background, clear progression, relevant educational background, and transferrable industry experience.

A theme that I see consistently in terms of what clients are looking for is longevity in a role/company. Even at a senior leadership level, it is a good indicator of commitment and project success within roles as well as progression, and relationship building.

Many of the briefs we are currently working on, also have an element of transformation and turnaround, with some being newly created roles. It’s these opportunities that are extremely relevant for ‘Next Generation Talent’ because often they can provide a fresh approach to these challenges, a sort of positive disruption.

What kind of roles are you currently researching?
Currently, I am researching board level and senior roles in finance and digital. These include COO, CTO, CFO, and Regional Finance Director, across various industries such as Media, Medical Devices, Technology and Manufacturing.

There is a preference in some of the searches to find next generation talent where the candidate has the potential to become a board member in the future.

You are based in Amsterdam, is this where all the roles you are researching are based?
Not at all. We are a very global search firm in terms of the clients we represent and interestingly, all of the roles I am currently working on are based outside of Amsterdam. Although, I just rounded off research for a CTO search here in Europe. I am currently researching roles based in Europe, US, LATAM and APAC.

Azura Search has a very international scope and from a research perspective, it ensures there is plenty of opportunities to be challenged and grow a truly global network.

Does your process change depending on the client brief?
We have a straightforward and effective way of completing a search. When sourcing candidates there are three approaches, we utilise; speaking to our network and referral partners, targeted headhunting, and marketing the role.

It’s important to take a consultative approach to each brief we receive from a client and some processes will need to be tailored as a result of this. For example, increasingly we are being asked to support client’s equality, diversity, and inclusion objectives. Whilst as a business we are always mindful of inclusivity within our processes, clients may have specific requirements they would like to include in our process.

As the search progresses things can sometimes change in what the client is looking, or we may have to work with different timelines depending on the urgency of the situation. In such cases, flexibility from the search team is crucial. By acting in partnership with our clients and ensuring they are informed at each stage throughout the process, helps our clients source the right person to bring on board.

If you would like to learn more about our search process or how we can support you with finding your next executive opportunity, please contact us today.