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Executive Searches in the Commercial Jet Industry
Murrae Ross-Eskell, Managing Director
Murrae Ross-Eskell, Managing Director
Sep 17, 2012 - TEAM.Aero recently asked Horizon Executive Search, one of the few Executive Search firms entirely focused on the aviation industry to give the TEAM.Aero Business Community information about Executive Searches, what they can offer professionals in the commercial jet industry, how executive searches and placements have changed in the last ten years, and how they are different from Recruitment Firms.

In today’s high tech world, recruitment has changed dramatically.  Tools such as Linkedin, job boards and online CV databases bring the employer in closer direct contact instantly with potential candidates in a way there never use to be.  However one area where technology cannot replace human expertise is Executive Search.  Senior level appointments that attract significant attention both internally and externally have a key strategic value to an organisation – in such cases a Google search does not come close to scrutinizing the level of service required.

One of the core benefits of Executive Search is the calibre of the candidates identified.  Typically senior industry executives are currently employed, well compensated and very focused on their present roles.  It is rare that they are actively marketing their resumes.  Prompting such executives to consider a new opportunity requires a number of factors to come together – an approach by an experienced Search consultant whom the executive knows and trusts, a role that is a good ‘fit’ to the executive’s career plans, the right set of personal circumstances e.g. location vs family commitments and timing.  Then it all comes nicely together.

Murrae Ross-Eskell, Managing Director and Owner of Horizon Executive Search said, ‘In our experience, it’s all about finding the right fit’. ‘We are not in the business of simply passing on CVs.  We know our clients extremely well – their culture, requirements & the skills and working style of the team members in situ.  Likewise we nurture relationships with our candidates – we take an interest, present options and give CV or career advice when requested.  A successful placement is one where both the client and the candidate are pleased with the fit.’

From a candidate’s perspective, senior managers do not have the time or the inclination to ‘interview’ with recruitment firms for numerous roles.  The Executive Search route allows the candidate to meet face-to-face with an industry experienced consultant and discuss how they see their career developing.  The consultant then uses this information to ‘match’ the candidate with future roles that will fulfil these needs.  A successful consultant will have a long term relationship with a candidate across the lifespan of his/her career.  Another point to consider is that a candidate may feel more comfortable if approached by an Executive Search firm as opposed to a direct competitor reaching out to them. Likewise if candidates have made the decision to move, a Search consultant offers a discrete way to sound out industry opportunities without sending out the wrong message. 

‘We do not use the term ‘consultant’ lightly in this context’ commented Murrae.  ‘At Horizon Executive Search, our consultants have on average 10 years’ industry experience.  Consultants are not only intimately familiar with the industry; they have an extensive network of contacts and will proactively identify the best talent in a well-defined sphere’.  Consultants approach these candidates in an appropriate way, conduct a face-to-face interview and provide the client with a shortlist of suitable candidates complete with detailed evaluation reports.  The consultant can take an active role in salary and contract negotiations; providing current market benchmarking where required.  References and qualifications are also extensively checked and verified.  By using such best practice methodologies the consultant ensures that the entire process is professional, exhaustive, fairly managed and above reproach.  These are key criteria in today’s equality conscious world.

The recruitment option chosen reflects the organisation as a whole and as such should be viewed as an extension of branding.  A haphazard approach to the market shows the importance that an organisation places upon talent acquisition.  A recruitment partner should become a champion for the brand and plays a key role in how the organisation is perceived externally.  This is also a rare opportunity to gain accurate feedback from the marketplace on how attractive an organisation is perceived to be as an employer.  ‘Not all Executive Search firms are equal’ notes Murrae. ‘We have had instances where we have been able to give added value to our clients by reinforcing their message to the marketplace. We have also had instances where another executive search has failed and Horizon has made a successful placement through global industry contacts’. 

Executive Search is not immune to the cyclical nature of aviation.  The 2008 crash impacted the industry as a whole; the waves were also felt by Search firms with some of the larger companies downsizing.  When the market was down, candidates tended to be more risk adverse and needed more enticement to move to a new opportunity.  Unfortunately some candidates did not have a choice as their employer reduced headcount and they were made redundant.  This is an especially difficult situation for more experienced people who are nearing retirement.  One way in which Horizon responded to this market trend was to create the Horizon Consultants register.  This is an introductory portal where aviation companies seeking consultants can quickly find the experienced and qualified people that they need for short, long or once-off projects.  This allows candidates to continue to provide their expertise to potential employers even beyond retirement if they wish.

It is worth bearing in mind that assignments are generated not just by new growth in the marketplace but by replacement work also. In addition a number of new lessor entrants to the marketplace over the past 2-3 years have generated some interesting assignments.  With many lessors simultaneously in acquisition mode and handling many aircraft repossessions, 2012 onwards should see a ramp up in technical and commercial roles.

About Horizon Executive Search International:

Horizon Executive Search is a specialist executive search firm for the aviation industry.  They are experienced in all sectors of aviation; carrying out search assignments for Airlines, Airports, Leasing Companies, Aircraft Financiers and industry related Service Providers.  Horizon Executive Search is a company dedicated to the aviation industry and to providing their Clients and Candidates with a personalised service tailored to their specific requirements.  As a boutique company, they have a flexible approach to the service and terms that they offer to their clients. With consultants based in the UK & Ireland and a significant presence at industry events such as ISTAT, you will also be able to meet them face-to-face.

TEAM.Aero Community Members can access the Horizon Executive Search company profile and members by clicking here

Source: Horizon Executive Search


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