Good search
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Growing confidence and an increase in the pace of growth have not yet translated into a better job market in Belgium, according to professional body FEDERGON’s most recent quarterly report. Yet AHEAD notes an encouraging and significant upswing in confirmed assignments and revenues in recent months.

‘We hope that this not only reflects an upswing in the market generally, but also a reflection of our reputation and performance over the longer term,’ enthuses AHEAD’s Managing Partner Guy Vereecke. ‘For the ultimate measure of the success of a search firm is how hired candidates perform and develop in our client companies.’ explains Guy. ‘Good search is just as much about assessing the professional and cultural fit as much as finding potential candidates.’

It’s fifteen years since he founded AHEAD, following the management buyout of the then YESS (Brussels Young Executive Search and Selection) from parent company Egon Zehnder International.

Since then 42% of candidates placed by AHEAD between 1999 and 2014 are still with the firm’s clients. Many have developed through increasingly senior positions, including from middle management appointments to C-level including internationally and in a variety of sectors. Moreover several candidates have stayed for more than 10 years - including some for the entire 15 years and are still going from strength to strength.

While AHEAD's largest client has entrusted the firm with over 20 assignments, the vast majority ask AHEAD to help with fewer than 5 assignments.

‘This confirms that AHEAD is not a volume business,’ adds Guy. ‘Instead we are more often approached for a strategically important appointment or to step in to search proactively for an ideal candidate where other recruitment methods have failed’.

However, AHEAD’s performance is just one element in a successful outcome as retention patterns between employers vary. ‘In an increasingly brisk market for talent, efforts to retain as well as attract great employees will once again be imperative,’ advises Guy Vereecke.