Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out
- Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden
Chapter 9: Inclusion and exclusion processes in the executive search business: an intersectional approach
Executive search consultants, also called ‘headhunters’, play a crucial role in the filling of leadership positions (for example, Finlay and Coverdill, 1999; Faulconbridge et al., 2009). They support corporate decision-makers in identifying, evaluating and recruiting competent and suitable people for their top jobs. Thus, executive search consultants can also be considered as gatekeepers in elite labour markets (Faulconbridge et al., 2009; Dreher et al., 2011). In their four-stage relationship (profiling, long-listing, short-listing, decision-making; Taylor and Bergmann, 1987), the executive consultants and the clients must make a lot of explicit but also implicit far-reaching decisions in order to select the ‘best-fitting’ candidate for the job. Their task is to deal with consistent, contradictory as well as paradoxical elements in this process of selection. Decisions with regard to the qualification, skills, ability, knowledge and experience of the applicants are taken at the different stages of the whole selection process, but diversity dimensions – also considered as social categories, such as the gender of the applicant, his or her ethnicity, age, (dis)abilities, sexual orientation, as well as his or her religious beliefs – also seem to influence the decisions taken in the executive search process.
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