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MSA Search BlogInsights from over 30 years of Healthcare Executive Search

A Look back at 25 years in healthcare executive search

by Jane Groves, Managing Director & Senior Advisor, Gallagher MSA Search

As 2015 comes to a close………..A look back at 25 years in healthcare executive search…….

Five things that have stayed the same………

1.  Personal presentation and professional communication set the tone…..and are the price of admission for high quality candidates in the executive search process.

2. Everyone has a “story” or a “caveat” to their candidacy that occurred somewhere along the way in an executive career path…..being open and transparent and willing to discuss what was learned from the experience is highly valued by an executive search consultant.

3.  Talking too much; getting off track when providing answers or examples, is a fatal flaw when spending time with a search consultant; whether the interview is scheduled for one hour or four hours.

4. Exhibiting too much confidence, arrogance or lack of humility during any phase of the executive search process works against an executive.  Understanding impact when communicating with others in an interview is essential.  

5. Character is a core component of an executive’s leadership brand.  Self awareness goes a long way in demonstrating this.


Five things that have changed notably…….


1. Access to potential candidates has grown exponentially through technology and social media… along with it comes an exponential increase in the need to do careful vetting and screening.

2. Client organizations who say they want to do a retained executive search are often really interested in fast and cheap candidate identification ….. speed has trumped quality in more instances than twenty or even ten years ago.

3.  Social media has dramatically blurred the lines that previously existed between the  professional and personal life of executives; exposure, biases, prejudices etc.. find their way into the vetting conversation more readily.

4. The “ideal age” or the definition of “career stage” has gone up every five years.  It is not uncommon to have top candidates on an executive search slate be well into their 60’s today.

5. Dealing with the purchasing or supply chain division at a client and treated as a vendor rather than a trusted advisor/consultant during the sales cycle is much more prevalent……  and typically cumbersome and impersonal.

Fast forward to today… as we start the 2016 business year, we look ahead with the renewed commitment to provide the maximum value to our clients for the investment that they make in partnering with us to conduct a high quality executive search with optimum results.  While many of the changes that have occurred in our industry and our relationships with our clients over the last twenty five years have been positive,  we believe that items #2 and #5 in the list above are problematic, and ultimately work against a trusted relationship with a long term ROI  for our clients…… both of which we hold oursewlves accountable for and believe that our clients expect also.



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