What are the trends in headhunting for supervisory and advisory board members?
With Board Xperts, we have been placing supervisory and advisory board members since 2006, both for companies with statutory supervisory board obligations and for those with voluntary control and supervisory bodies. Based on our experience, we see eight trends:
- Supervisory boards and advisory boards are becoming more diverse.
- The boards are rejuvenating.
- Supervisory boards and advisory boards are becoming more digital.
- The committees are becoming more international.
- Supervisory and advisory boards are becoming more professional (certification).
- Sustainability and ESG are mandatory, no longer optional.
- The work on a supervisory or advisory board becomes more time-consuming.
- Compensation increases.
The top ranks of the Dax supervisory bodies may still be dominated by “older men from the automotive industry,” but that is changing. The supervisory bodies are increasingly made up of IT or sustainability experts. And they are becoming more professional, also because the requirements and the effort are increasing. Whereas in the past you spent about four days a year as a supervisory board member, now it’s 10, 15 or 20 days. I assume that in five to ten years, corresponding certificates and further training will be mandatory for supervisory and advisory boards. But not only that, the staffing processes themselves are becoming more sophisticated.
We definitely use LinkedIn and other platforms for our searches, ChatGPT also facilitates certain processes and work. But I don’t believe in matching algorithms like LinkedIn uses. When I see what jobs are suggested to me even by the platform that supposedly fit me and my profile, we are still light years away from perfection. At the moment, we humans can simply do that better.
The expectations for the capabilities of artificial intelligence are enormous — but we cannot yet grasp the full possibilities. AI, in my opinion, will revolutionize not only HR but also entire companies and industries in the coming years. By the way, at this year’s HR Summit in Frankfurt, we and our parent company XELLENTO Executive Search will be using Covestro as an example to show how AI can end the shortage of skilled workers today and reignite it at the same time.
“Bring us the best!” — Of course, we are looking for the “best” candidates. But you should also look at what favor you are doing yourself. Because the best qualified person is not automatically the best person for the company. Industry knowledge can be acquired, missing “skills” can be learned if necessary — but “cultural fit” is in the DNA. Or not.
“If you have a choice — take your time.” — Many hopeful new appointments and replacements fail because of the length of the selection process. If there are too long “cooling-off” periods between presentations, this does not inspire confidence.
“It’s not like we can tell you everything!” — The first task of a personnel consultant is to collect a usable briefing from the client. No matter what the position. It is not useful to paint an embellished picture of the company in such discussions, as unfortunately often happens. In the end, the truth practically always comes to light.
“America first.” — As in many industries, large American companies are also on the move in the German recruitment consultancy market. Their size appears to be an advantage to some clients. But why hire a US company when German consultants are looking for German candidates for German companies? Size is not necessarily a quality here.
About Dr. Matthias Kestler
Dr. Matthias Kestler began his professional career in 1992 at the Hemmer Repetitorium. He later switched to the corporate side and spent several years as General Counsel at, among others, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG active. His many years of experience in the field of human resources were the starting point for his establishment as a personnel consultant in 2007. Together with Dieter Rickert and Rick Fulghum he founded the company Rat.Haus and as a successor company the personnel consultancy XELLENTO Executive Search. In 2020, Board Xperts and XELLENTO Executive Search joined forces to collaborate in the areas of supervisory board and advisory board staffing as well as HR consulting for top positions. In 2023, Matthias Kestler took over the sole management of Board Xperts. www.board-xperts.com
Board Xperts’ company profile can be found in the FYB 2024 issue in Chapter 11.