Executive Search in Poland

7 tips
for successful Executive Search
in Poland

By MOTIFE Insights, 8 April 2024

Navigating the complexities of Executive Search in Poland presents unique challenges for international organizations, especially during growth, restructuring, or market entry phases. The right leadership is important for success in these ventures. This 7-tips guide offers a streamlined approach to the Executive Search process, covering everything from defining the role to ensuring a cultural fit and maintaining open communication. Tailored for the Polish market, these insights aim to simplify the Executive Search journey, empowering organizations to efficiently find and secure leaders who are not only capable but also instrumental in driving growth and innovation.

Check out also: Krakow IT Market Report 2024

1. Define the role: responsibilities, needed experience, soft skills and cultural fit

The first step in a successful Executive Search is defining the need and position with precision. This involves more than just settling on a job title; it requires a deep dive into the scope of responsibilities the role will encompass, the level of previous experience and background expected from candidates, as well as the soft skills that will be essential for success in the position.

When considering the job title, think beyond the conventional titles to what the role truly entails. Will this executive lead a specific department, or will their influence span across multiple areas of the business? Clarify the boundaries and intersections of their responsibilities to avoid overlaps and ensure a clear leadership structure.

Experience and background are equally important. Specify not just the years of experience but the type of industries or environments the ideal candidate has thrived in. Has this person led teams through significant growth periods, managed during downturns, or navigated company mergers? Such experiences can be invaluable, depending on your company's current and future challenges.

Soft skills such as leadership style, problem-solving approaches, and communication abilities—often determine how effectively an executive integrates into and steers the team. Assessing these traits requires a thoughtful evaluation of what has worked (or not) within your organization's dynamics.

Cultural fit is the final, but perhaps most crucial, element. An executive who aligns with your company's values, work style, and ethos can propel the organization forward. Conversely, a misfit can disrupt team harmony and derail progress. Take time to articulate the cultural attributes that define your organization, and seek candidates who resonate with these qualities.

In Poland, the significance of country-specific cultural fit for a manager cannot be overstated. It encompasses understanding and aligning with the nuanced work culture, characterized by a blend of formal hierarchy and a growing emphasis on collaborative, team-oriented environments. Mastery of these cultural dynamics is crucial for a manager to foster effective communication, build trust, and drive team cohesion, ultimately ensuring seamless integration and sustained organizational performance within the Polish context.

By meticulously defining the role, its responsibilities, required experience, soft skills, and cultural fit, you lay a solid foundation for a successful Executive Search, ensuring that your efforts are targeted and effective in attracting the right leadership talent.

Executive Search Poland

2. Decide whether to conduct the Executive Search in-house or engage an Executive Search company

Determining whether to embark on an Executive Search internally or to engage the services of an Executive Search company is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your search. This decision hinges on evaluating your organization's internal resources, expertise, and the challenges you may face during the search process.

One of the primary considerations is whether your organization possesses the necessary experience and resources to conduct a thorough search. Executive Searches often require a deep understanding of the market, access to a wide network of potential candidates, and the ability to assess candidates against high-level strategic goals. A lack of experience in these areas can lead to prolonged search times or the selection of a candidate who may not be the best fit.

Resource shortage is another critical factor. An Executive Search can be time-consuming, requiring dedicated attention from your HR team or hiring managers. If your internal resources are already stretched thin, managing an Executive Search on top of regular duties can strain your team and detract from other critical business functions.

On the other hand, engaging an experienced Executive Search company offers several advantages. These firms bring experienced consultants who specialize in high-level recruitment, combining deep market knowledge with proven search methodologies. This expertise ensures a more targeted and efficient search process, reducing the time to hire.

Moreover, Executive Search firms have established networks of potential candidates, including passive candidates who may not actively be seeking new opportunities but could be the perfect fit for your role. This access broadens the pool of potential candidates, increasing the chances of finding an exceptional match.

For a local Executive Search firm in Poland, an in-depth understanding of Polish law, labor regulations, and market nuances, including the specificities of managerial contracts, is indispensable. This knowledge not only ensures compliance and mitigates legal risks but also equips the firm to navigate the complex landscape of executive placement, aligning talent acquisition strategies with local business practices and legal requirements.

Lastly, partnering with an Executive Search company such as MOTIFE minimizes the effort required on your side. They manage the complexities of the search, from initial candidate outreach to negotiating offers, allowing your team to focus on their core responsibilities. Cost-wise, a standard fee for Executive Search services ranges from 18% - 25% of a new hire’s annual salary.

Check out also: Executive Search from MOTIFE

Executive Search company

3. Choose the right and trusted partnering Executive Search company

Selecting the right Executive Search firm is a decision of great importance, just like choosing a strategic partner who will influence your organization's future leadership landscape. Several key factors should guide your decision to ensure that you collaborate with a firm that not only understands your needs but can also deliver the high-caliber leadership talent your organization requires.

Experience. The track record of an Executive Search firm speaks about its capability to deliver. Look for a firm with extensive experience in your industry or in filling similar roles. This specialized knowledge ensures they are well-acquainted with the unique challenges and requirements of your sector, enabling them to identify and attract candidates who can be successful in your organization.

Network. A robust network is the key element of any Executive Search firm. Inquire about their access to potential candidates, especially those who are not actively seeking new opportunities. A firm with a broad and deep network can reach passive candidates who might be the perfect fit for your organization but would otherwise remain inaccessible.

References. Past success is a reliable indicator of future performance. Request references from the firm and take the time to follow up on these. Speaking to previous clients or reading client’s testimonials provides insights into the firm’s process, effectiveness, and level of satisfaction with the outcomes of their searches.

Transparent conditions. Clarity and transparency in terms and conditions set the foundation for a trust-based relationship. Ensure the firm is clear about its search process, timelines, fees, and any guarantees it offers. This transparency helps in setting realistic expectations and fosters a collaborative relationship.

Strategic advisory. Beyond recruitment, the best Executive Search firms act as strategic advisors. They should be able to provide valuable insights into the market, compensation benchmarks, and other trends that can impact your search and ultimate decision. Their expertise should extend beyond filling a position to helping you shape the strategic direction of your organization through leadership choices.

Guarantee. A firm confident in its methodology and network will often provide a guarantee for its placements. This means if a hire does not work out within a specified period, the firm will conduct another search at no additional cost. This guarantee underlines the firm’s commitment to finding the right match for your organization.

Polish market expertise. Choosing a local Executive Search company brings clear benefits, mainly due to its deep understanding of the local market and access to a wide network of executive-level candidates. These firms are closely familiar with the business environment and cultural aspects in Poland, allowing them to effectively match the right talent with specific organizational needs.

Executive Search Poland

4. Stay actively engaged in the Executive Search process

Choosing to collaborate with a professional Executive Search company does not mean stepping away from the recruitment process. It will significantly lessen the time and effort on your organization's side, but your active participation is pivotal to ensuring the process runs smoothly and results in a successful hire. This involvement ranges from being responsive and providing necessary information promptly to engaging with candidates thoughtfully and valuing the advice of your search partner.

Be responsive. The Executive Search process is dynamic, with new information and opportunities emerging rapidly. Your prompt response to requests for information, clarification, or decision-making can significantly impact the pace and effectiveness of the search. Delays on your part can result in losing potential candidates to other opportunities or prolonging the search unnecessarily.

Provide detailed information. The more context and information you can provide about the role, your company culture, and the ideal candidate profile, the better equipped your search partner will be to find the right match. This includes sharing insights into what has made previous occupants of the role successful or the challenges they faced.

Treat candidates well. Your interaction with candidates during the recruitment process reflects on your company's brand and values. Ensuring a positive experience for every candidate, regardless of the outcome, is crucial. This includes timely communication, respectful engagement, and providing feedback. Remember, today's candidate could be tomorrow's client, partner, or even a future employee under different circumstances.

Provide feedback. Constructive feedback is important, both to your Executive Search partner and to candidates. For your search partner, it helps refine the search criteria and process. For candidates, it offers a chance for professional growth. Be candid yet diplomatic in your feedback, focusing on specific areas of alignment or concern.

Do not prolong the recruitment process unnecessarily. An efficient recruitment process respects everyone's time and keeps the momentum going. Prolonged deliberations or delays can diminish a candidate's enthusiasm for the role and lead them to explore other opportunities. Aim for a timely but thorough decision-making process.

Be open to advice. Your Executive Search partner brings loads of experience and market insight. Be open to their recommendations, whether it is about candidate profiles, compensation benchmarks, or the search strategy. Their advice is grounded in a deep understanding of the executive talent market and a commitment to your success.

Involve relevant stakeholders. Ensure that stakeholders who will closely collaborate with the new hire are involved in the process. Their insights can be invaluable in assessing candidate fit, and their engagement helps build internal consensus around the new hire.

Adjust your communication style. Adjusting to Polish culture and communication standards is important for building mutual respect from the outset. This adjustment involves understanding the local preferences for directness or formality in communication, and recognizing the value placed on personal relationships and trust. Such cultural alignment fosters a positive, respectful foundation for all professional interactions, ensuring smooth and effective collaboration.

Executive Search Krakow

5. Focus on cultural fit, understand cultural differences, and be inclusive

When it comes to Executive Search, the emphasis often lands heavily on candidates' hard skills and professional achievements. While these are undoubtedly important for assessing capability and experience, an equally important aspect of your evaluation process should be the cultural fit with your organization. This includes understanding cultural differences and committing to inclusivity, which are vital for fostering a diverse and dynamic workplace.

Cultural fit. Integrating a new executive into your organization goes beyond aligning with professional qualifications; it's about how they resonate with the core values, beliefs, and practices that define your workplace. A candidate who shares your organization's vision, work ethic, and values can significantly enhance team cohesion, drive, and overall workplace morale. Therefore, during the interview process, include discussions that reveal a candidate's approach to leadership, teamwork, conflict resolution, and their ability to adapt to and embody your company culture.

Embrace diversity. An effective Executive Search should not only aim to fill a position but also to enrich your organization's diversity. Diversity in leadership brings a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and problem-solving approaches, which can drive innovation and improve decision-making. Be open to candidates from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and even geographical locations, as this diversity can introduce fresh insights and ideas into your organization.

Inclusion and equity. Inclusion goes hand in hand with diversity. It's essential to foster an environment where diverse voices are heard, valued, and have the opportunity to influence. This commitment should be evident throughout your recruitment process. Make sure your Executive Search partner understands the importance of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in your organization and that they are leveraging their networks to reach a broad, diverse pool of candidates.

Understand cultural differences. In today's business world, recognizing the importance of Polish cultural practices, like valuing work-life balance and respecting Polish bank holidays, is essential. This understanding helps in better communication with and assessment of candidates in Poland, ensuring that cultural differences are acknowledged positively. Consulting with local experts can be beneficial in appreciating these cultural nuances, contributing to a respectful and cohesive workplace.

Executive Search Poland

6. Communicate openly and be transparent

Transparent communication forms the cornerstone of any successful Executive Search process, building the relationships between your organization, the Executive Search partner, and potential candidates. It's the thread that weaves through every interaction, ensuring all parties are aligned, informed, and engaged from start to finish.

This involves not only setting clear expectations about the role, the company culture, and the ideal candidate profile but also maintaining a steady flow of communication. Regular updates, feedback, and the willingness to adjust strategies as necessary are all important in keeping the search aligned with your organization's evolving needs. It’s equally important to be forthcoming about any changes in your requirements or the organizational context that might affect the search process.

Transparency extends to candidates as well, starting from the initial outreach. Clearly outlining the recruitment process, expected timelines, and what each step entails, sets the stage for a mutual trust. Always keep candidates in the loop, especially if there are delays or changes in the process. Providing honest insights into the role, including its challenges and opportunities, not only aids in assessing a candidate's suitability and interest but also in managing their expectations. Furthermore, offering constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates can foster goodwill and maintain a positive image of your company, leaving the door open for future opportunities.

Communication should be streamlined within your organization, ensuring there are designated contacts for both the search firm and candidates. This simplification makes it easier for a timely and efficient exchange of information, encouraging questions and concerns to be addressed openly. While fostering an environment of transparent communication, it's also vital to uphold confidentiality, protecting the privacy and sensitive information of all parties involved.

Adjust your communication style to polish standards. Aligning with the Polish communication style requires balancing directness with diplomacy to preserve harmony in business relationships. Being clear and straightforward is valued, but it's equally important to communicate with respect and consideration for others' opinions. This approach ensures effective interaction, fostering mutual understanding and respect in professional settings.

Executive Search in Poland

7. Trust a local expert

Partnering with a local expert can greatly enhance chances for successful Executive Search efforts in Poland, where understanding the market's specific nuances can greatly impact the outcome. A firm with deep roots in the local environment brings knowledge, experience, and a network, so important for navigating the business landscape of Poland. Such expertise is essential not only for identifying the technical qualifications and leadership capabilities needed but also for understanding the economic, regulatory, and cultural aspects that define the Polish market.

A local partner's network is especially beneficial, offering access to a wide array of potential candidates, including those not actively seeking new positions but open to compelling opportunities. These networks are built on long-standing relationships and trust within the local business community, providing an advantage in reaching exceptional talents. Opting for a company well-versed in the Polish market means entrusting your Executive Search to a partner capable of effectively leveraging local insights and connections.

Executive Search in Poland with MOTIFE

Engaging with MOTIFE for your Executive Search needs in Poland connects you directly to an extensive network of top-tier executive candidates. Our involvement in the local business ecosystem gets you access to premier talent. MOTIFE's approach is a comprehensive service designed to meet the strategic recruitment needs of international companies. Our team, with 10+ years of experience in Executive Search, utilizes in-depth market knowledge and a rigorous vetting process to ensure candidates not only match the required skill set but also align with your company's culture.

With MOTIFE, you can expect a streamlined Executive Search experience, offering a deep understanding of the Polish market, consistent updates, and a selection of three qualified candidates within a 10-week period, thus facilitating your company's efforts to establish or enhance its presence in Poland with strategic and informed leadership choices.

Check out also: Executive Search from MOTIFE

Learn more about what international companies have achieved with their Krakow tech labs by downloading our Krakow IT Market Report 2024

If you are interested in setting up your own engineering hub in Poland, contact us at MOTIFE to learn more.

If you are looking for interesting job opportunities in tech companies in Poland, check out open roles at motife.com/jobs.

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