The role of the assignor in challenging international search projects
IESF France and IESF Israel demonstrated strong corporation despite difficult cultural and economic circumstances
International Search Projects (case study Isreal | France). Partners of IESF, an international network of Executive Search firms, regularly work together on cross-border assignments. Each project highlights new challenges and learnings. Sometimes it’s assumed that the assigned firm – responsible for the local search in their country – is the most important partner. It seems so since they are delivering the local candidates for the client and to the assignor partner, in the country, the client and assignments are originated. In this case study about two executive search projects between Israel and France, we show you that’s not the case. We demonstrate what international cooperation is really based on: a strong advising assignor partner, combined with the local expertise and knowledge of the assigned partner.
IESF France and IESF Israel recently worked on two similar search projects for Israeli-based companies.
For one client they searched for a Channel Commercial Director and for the other client they combined forces to find the best suitable CEO. Kishurim HR, led by Dror Katabi, and Hommes & Entreprises, managed by Valérie Désautel describe the challenges they faced, and how they managed to successfully complete the projects. What is the most important aspect of an international search? And how did you cooperate to give the client the advantage of an exclusive and extended international partnership? And finally: How do you manage search projects defined by ups and downs all the way?
In both searches, the Israeli clients initially searched for Hebrew speaking managers, living in France, speaking the local language, and knowing the local cultures. It was important to possess very specific niche market experience. Dror Katabi: “As an assignor, it’s crucial to provide your clients with business consulting as well. I convinced the clients that they could trust our local French partner to find the best suitable candidate, from whatever country of origin, that they would deliver the best cultural fit. Maybe it could be even better for the business results.” Valérie Désautel adds: “In the case of the first client, for example, a company with innovative solutions, who mainly focuses on projects. We searched for a manager with a background in sales but also technical, engineering, and market experience. This person should be familiar with many components and had to manage a major cultural change, which made it a challenging search. In the first round, we found a few candidates, but then COVID came, so the client stopped the whole project. A year later, we started all over again from scratch.” And then IESF Israel, as an assignor partner, interviewed all the candidates personally. Dror adds: “I was very involved to make sure the local candidates would fit the Israeli company. I acted as a personal advisor to the Chairman since I know both of them very well.”
Local expertise and patience. International Search Projects
“We introduced five candidates”, explains Valérie. “Three candidates were selected to interview personally in France by the Israeli Global CEO. After the selection process, there were some details to finetune, in this stage of a search project, the role of the assignor partner is key. Dror added, “I personally advised the client to choose this particular candidate based on my partner’s recommendation. Once the client knows me and trusts my professional advice, it’s my role to make sure the client makes the best choice possible for his company. The real consultancy is for the leading consultant in an international search. But we wouldn’t have been this successful without our French partner’s great local knowledge and patience. For example, the expertise on how to interview locally and the way Valérie and her team really thought outside the box and went above and beyond for our clients. The global CEO was grateful, especially for the way Valérie and her team led the search and restarted it all over again, patiently and professionally.”
Bridge the gap
In the case of the second client, this company just broke apart from a mother organization and had to start all over again. Dror Katabi: “We needed to find an ambitious manager with suitable compensation benefits. The company faced difficult market circumstances, and to survive or succeed, they needed the right professional. We suggested searching one level down for a manager who is very good in his role right now, and this role as CEO would be a great promotion for him or her. We searched in the same industry. During the interviews, we briefed the client on cultural differences and boundaries because there was a big cultural gap between the client and the best potential candidates. With me as an advising partner to the client and Valerie and her team as advisors to the candidates, we made a great match. Both the clients and the candidates are happy with the results.”