Executive search firms change tactics during downturn

This week, I wrote a news article about executive search firms and how the economic downturn has affected their work. While almost everyone I...

This week, I wrote a news article about executive search firms and how the economic downturn has affected their work. While almost everyone I talked to reported a decrease in projects and assignments, many of them were taking action, hoping to stay bring in and keep more clients. After the jump, a few ways executive search and recruitment firms are changing.

Matt Schwartz, president of MJS Executive Search, has been promoting his work via social networks, where many people are networking.

"I developed a presentation on LinkedIn. I've been presenting it to numerous networking groups as well as companies," he said. "I Twitter on a regular basis [about] things like the searches we're working on…or a presentation I'm going to be making."

Sandy Charet, the president of Charet & Associates, agrees that marketing your firm is just as important during a down economy. When Charet decided to enter into a new area within PR and communications, environmental recruiting, she was very aggressive in her marketing.

"I started promoting Charet & Associates as an executive search firm for the green industry," she said. "After all of that promotion, I did actually pull in a number of different opportunities to work in PR."

Yet some firms, having dealt with past recessions and the cyclical ways of executive recruitment, have been planning for something like this for years.

"We made a decision about six years ago to diversify our business, precisely because the recruitment market is very cyclical," said Don Spetner, EVP of corporate affairs for Korn/Ferry International. "So now about 30% of our revenue comes from consulting services and that business is doing much better than the search business. That has held up better in this downturn."

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