Large firms have the advantage of having dedicated job functions to perform very singular roles, and the resources to dedicate people to specialize in data collection and knowledge management across the firm. But for today’s smaller executive search firms, specialized software is giving them the user-friendly tools and technology they need to compete, allowing them to focus on improving business development and growing client relationships.
William Liu was born and raised in Shanghai but moved to Japan in 1995 to advance his career as a Human Resources manager. It was a fortuitous move that would set him up with the significant cross-cultural experience needed to launch his own executive search firm, Human Future in July 2015.
Liu worked in-house as a Human Resources manager for a number of large corporations before gaining HR consulting experience within the likes of HR advisory firms like Mercer and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Along the way, Liu gained considerable insight into both the internal workings of corporate HR, but also how consultants in HR strategy, talent management, compensation and benefits added value to their clients.
Sensing a real business opportunity, Liu decided to assist Japanese and multinational companies in their recruitment of senior executives. He also took the advice of a colleague, who urged him to consider Invenias as his new firm’s executive search software platform. It’s a decision he hasn’t once regretted.
“From the moment I first started using Invenias, I found it incredibly easy to use,” Liu recalls. “The ease with which it pulls all the information I need about a search or a client or candidate onto one platform is the most remarkable part of this software.”
“In today’s social media economy, you learn almost instantly how Invenias can help you pull data from multiple sites and capture and display the data you need to power your search process. You can develop really outstanding profiles on clients and also develop significant market intelligence about candidates’ career growth and future potential, too,” Liu explains.
One of the conveniences of having such a clear data advantage over search firms with legacy or home-built software systems is that before you even speak to a candidate, you already know the person’s profile well and you can engage with them in a meaningful way. “The integration with Microsoft Outlook makes this kind of information particularly valuable throughout the search process,” Liu adds.
The convenience of logging telephone interviews and seamlessly working e-mails through Invenias make it very helpful in terms of information capture and process flow.
“I think Invenias works especially well to support the growth and development of a boutique executive search firm like ours,” Liu says. “You can build your database very efficiently, and manage your activities and data very easily within Invenias.”
One of the surprising revelations about his firm’s software platform, Liu shares, is that the more you use it, the more you realize just how much additional functionality and features are integrated directly into it.
“The more you use Invenias, the more you like it because of the increases in productivity you can achieve,” Liu says. For example, the templates a user can create with Microsoft Word can be synchronized with Invenias, so the next time you need to send out group e-mails, you can simply use the templates already created.
“Invenias is really helping me free up time and be more productive, and that’s one of the key performance metrics I consider when I look at technology to support our executive search firm. I save emails created in Outlook directly in Invenias, adding to the richness of data,” he says. “These features are really adding to our firm’s user experience and our productivity".
Another lesson Liu has learnt is an appreciation of the service and support commitment behind any software. “That’s a very important aspect, particularly for people who aren’t very knowledgeable about Information Technology or who may be a bit intimidated about installing new software, or have questions about the user interface,” he says.
“I’m at the higher end of understanding technology, and I’ve seen a lot of systems. Invenias ranks as the best I’ve seen in terms of customer support and overall service experience. The real-time reporting and productivity gains are critical to my success as a small business owner in executive search,” Liu shares. “Invenias is a real game-changer for our business as we grow.”