Chicago-based Ken Daubenspeck says technology should work around search team needs, not the other way around.
Ken Daubenspeck has been a fixture in the Chicago executive search market for more than 30 years, and his firm, Daubenspeck And Associates, Ltd., is part of the IMD International Search Group and a member firm of the AESC. Daubenspeck has built a reputation for bringing a unique brand of retained recruitment to clients across all industries and leadership functions. “We’re particularly grounded in the psychology of the search and the human elements involved for clients and candidates,” Daubenspeck says that access to information has levelled the playing field for firms that engage with clients in multiple industries, enabling generalists to compete more consistently with specialised retained firms. Rather than focus too much on any one industry space, Daubenspeck shares, his team would rather engage more deeply with clients to uncover all the issues that might impact the assignment or a recruited executive’s performance in a new role. He says,
“Our philosophy of executive search is that each of these human elements have to align in order to make the search a success and the recruited executive a success in his or her new enterprise.”
“We get to the right candidates, they call us back, and they come to trust us so we can help them decide on the opportunity,” he says. The human dynamics are so critical they require the most focus, says Daubenspeck. It is precisely because of the firm’s intense focus on the human variables related to each new search assignment that Daubenspeck and his team of search professionals gained an appreciation for how their process could be impacted by the software used to manage candidates and clients alike. Daubenspeck says his firm struggled for too long with a search software platform that required its users to think and behave differently in order to make good use of its features. The system his firm used for several years proved especially rigid. It was cumbersome to use and not responsive. What’s more, it was also very expensive to manage, particularly when modifications were needed. It was not unusual to spend thousands on relatively small changes the firm felt would make material improvements to its operating systems. “We actually lost a recruiter because we required their use of a search software system that didn’t make it easy to input and manage data. It caused that person’s work day to be far more stressful and less productive than it needed to be,” Daubenspeck says. “I know several other search firms with the same system but they just don’t use it because it requires conformity to the developer’s assumptions and process rather than any synchronicity with how we conduct searches.” So Daubenspeck’s firm was essentially left without a reliable software system for nearly five months. It reverted to using Excel and private files on team members’ personal computers. Flash-forward to today, and Daubenspeck says he’s had no formal training with Invenias. The beauty of it, he says, is that Invenias is so intuitive and supportive of search consultants’ current work routines, formal training hasn’t been necessary. “Seldom do you find a software product that is everything it is marketed to be. Invenias is one of those rare software providers who have created a true solution. Rather than requiring the consultant to be a slave to the system, Invenias is an intuitive product that enables us to do our job better,” Daubenspeck shares.
“Invenias is very intuitive to use, it mirrors how an executive search firm thinks and how the process works. The difference with Invenias is that it works around our information capture and management needs, not the other way around.”
Daubenspeck, whose team went live with Invenias in October 2013, says he and his team have gained a whole new appreciation for how simplicity and an intuitive user interface actually invites use by researchers and consultants – thereby paving the way for improved productivity, communication and collaboration across the firm. “Invenias has really stabilized our process. Our people have it open all the time because it syncs with what people are doing and what they’re doing with data,” Daubenspeck says. “It’s simple to use and fully integrated within Microsoft Outlook, and because it’s also integrated with the web, we don’t have to leave Invenias while we’re working, so you have the continuity and seamless experience you’re looking for when you want to keep your focus on clients and assignments – whether you’re in the office or working from a mobile device on the go. I would recommend Invenias to anyone without reservation.”