Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently the talk of the town, and there is still no end in sight to the hype surrounding programs like ChatGPT. Can AI also replace jobs in executive search? Or if not replace, then complement and support them? If Henri Vidalinc of InterSearch France has his way, AI should do exactly that. He says artificial intelligence can already support the headhunting process, for example in the search for candidates or with tasks that do not require soft skills, but AI will not completely replace anyone, even in the long term.
“Our work is essentially shaped by our understanding of the client’s needs, providing advice and proposing tailor-made solutions, and this can only be done through a good, professional relationship between consultant and client, but also one that is based on proximity” Vidalinc says. “That’s exactly what AI can’t do.” For an executive search firm like InterSearch, he says, it is therefore important to train employees to work with an AI program like ChatGPT, but also to strengthen and empower them in their consulting role.
Young member of the global InterSearch network
With offices in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Nantes, as well as in Ivory Coast, Vidalinc and his colleagues have been part of the InterSearch network since 2022, making their firm one of the youngest members. The approximately 75 employees at InterSearch – Grant Alexander not only specialize in executive search, but also offer interim management, leadership development, and consulting in HR transformation. “We are already well positioned and have an excellent reputation in both France and West Africa, but we wanted to broaden our international reach,” explains Vidalinc.
Often, the tendency to work only with direct neighbors becomes entrenched, for example between France and Germany, Belgium or Italy, but due to the internationality of InterSearch with a presence in over 50 countries, one must now think outside the box, says Vidalinc. He cites a success story: a manufacturing company that operates in some 30 countries needed new managers not only in France, but also in Australia, Japan, Mexico and South Africa. This is precisely where the InterSearch colleagues based in these respective countries came into play and were able to successfully fill the vacant positions quickly.
“InterSearch Worldwide sets high standards that the partners in the individual countries have to meet. In the case of France, it was decided to choose a new partner and Grant Alexander, after a thorough selection process, was taken on board” adds Alexander Wilhelm, Managing Partner at InterSearch in Germany and Member of the Board InterSearch Worldwide. He was recently able to attest to the convincing quality of the French colleagues in the context of a search mandate for a managing director in France for a well-known medium-sized company from Germany.
COO for unification of standards
“There are of course small, subtle differences in approach within the various countries,” says Vidalinc, “but it is precisely this understanding that distinguishes InterSearch worldwide and contributes to our success and that of our clients.”
To further unify the approach and support for clients and candidates within the company, Vidalinc recently hired a chief operating officer in France. His task is to ensure that all parties have the same high level of understanding of how demanding clients and candidates are looked after, be it regarding position profiles, reports, interviews or candidate introductions, in order to offer the best possible experience. “Deviating nuances are of course desired, we are all humans, not robots.” And that’s how it should stay, says Vidalinc.