In addition to working directly with our large multinational corporate clients, Henley Research also supports third-party executive search firms to identify and engage candidates for mandates from their own clients. Executive search firms often choose to work with Henley Research both because of our broad experience across all sectors and functions, and in cases where we have particular subject-specific expertise that the executive search firm might not have available in-house.

In one recent example, a UK-based executive search firm was asked to help appoint a Country Manager China for one of their long-term UK-based clients, and came to Henley Research for support due to both our in-house Chinese language capabilities and our experience in the China market.

Although it’s not always the case when we work with third-party executive search firms, in this instance Henley Research was invited to take part directly in briefings between the executive search firm and their end client. This not only enabled Henley Research to provide relevant insights to both parties on the China talent market and ask the right questions in order to set up a successful project, but also boosted the credibility of the executive search firm’s ability to support their client in the China market.

Even though the Country Manager China position required a candidate who was fluent in English as well as Chinese, our research nonetheless required us to look into a wide range of both international and local Chinese companies using various English and Chinese language resources. We were able to successfully approach potential candidates using contact details gained through local Chinese-language sources, and use country-specific means of communication like WeChat in order to connect with the right people.

We kicked off the project in early January 2019 and used two weeks to identify a longlist of 56 potential candidates, including 40 in the target location of Shanghai along with 16 relevant profiles in other major Chinese cities (including Beijing, which is where the candidate who was eventually successful was based), also providing our recommendations to the client on the highest priority people to contact.
We then completed the candidate outreach stage of the project over six weeks, which included working around the challenge of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday at the start of February, and by March 4th we had submitted seven qualified and interested candidates for the executive search firm’s shortlist, one of whom was subsequently appointed by the end client and started her new role as Country Manager China in June.