My wife and I were having dinner in a small Café in Paris, when we met Jean Claude at the next table. He was having dinner with his wife and daughter on her 25th birthday and so began a business/social friendship that continues today. That was 10 years ago, when he owned one of the largest advertising firms in Paris specializing in recruitment advertising. My wife acted as interpreter, as Jean Claude's English and my French were both weak.
On a subsequent visit to Paris, Jean Claude gave me a tour of his operation and could clearly see the differences between NY and Paris, in the depth and breadth of services his organization offered. It was not just posting a help wanted advertisement, but a full-flung advertising firm to market the organization to prospective candidates.
And so years have passed, he sold his business, and I am endeavoring to complete another international search for my firm, Kramer Executive Resources.
This past year, in New York, we had a search for a CFO for an international auction firm, and the requirements included someone who spoke French fluently. We used all of our traditional methods to identify such a candidate, including French/American business groups on Linkedin. Once joining these groups and letting the members know about this opportunity, doors flung open and we could have served steak frites 24/7.
So, now I am in Paris, conducting a search for another CFO, but this time to be located in France. I called Jean Claude and others in our global network to learn about searching in Paris how important Linkedin or similar social networks work, in this regard.
It became quite clear to me that to be most effective in this search, I had to partner with a local executive search firm, who had the candidate database, and the knowledge of all of the social networks used. The learning curve, for us, would have been too great for a single search.
What truly amazed me in working closely on this search was how quickly word got out about this search through these networks. Yes, of course, we contacted many people directly, but the networks filled in making this search rich with quality people, that really impressed the client.
With new Apps, new databases, new social networks being developed, etc., none of these replace the face-to-face meetings where the experienced search professional makes the world seem like "it's a small world, after all."