Nov 8

Does executive search have anything to do with the art of elitist personnel consultancy and psycho-babble?

Autor: PersonalRadar

Definitely not! But it does have a lot to do with trust, relationships, discretion, knowledge and sector skills.

PKS Personal AG has been playing a focussed, active role in the field of executive search, management consultancy and management selection since 1992. Our name is our mission.

(image source:; graphic: Gerd Altmann)

When did executive search start?

The cradle of executive search is to be found in the USA where the oldest executive search company was founded in New York in 1926. This form of business was largely unknown in Europe until the end of the 1960s/the start of the 1970s when the first companies specialising in this service were formed. There are now numerous service providers active in this business sector.

Why is a management staff search based on advertisements a fair method?

Since 1992, PKS Personal AG has found all of its high potential and management candidates with the use of electronic advertisements. In our experience, highly-qualified applicants who can be won over for a challenging new position on the basis of their own free will and without aggressive psychological enticement exhibit much more promising professional performance.

The motivation for change should not come from power or financial incentive, but from the deep conviction that knowledge, ability, experience, personality and potential can be better utilised with a new career challenge. Inner satisfaction, internal balance, opportunities for professional development and, of course, substantial added value with regard to the hard factors, contribute to ensuring that new management personnel are satisfied, remain loyal, are performance orientated and are not tempted to give in to the next head hunter.

Continuity and stability on the part of decision-makers have become important competitive advantages which are not to be underestimated. The pro-active acquisition of accumulated specialist knowledge is costly. The fostering and retention of personnel is much more cost effective.

Why do we disapprove of aggressive head hunting?

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The head hunting of potential candidates for specific management positions can be advantageous under certain circumstances and with specific requirements if a high degree of anonymity is required, there is no time pressure and the management function needs to be performed by a candidate with very specific experience and qualifications. However, as a matter of principle and for reasons of strict business ethics, PKS Personal AG does not provide this service. Who can provide you with a guarantee that your head hunter is not on the prowl within your own company? The real problems start when the your star players suddenly disappear.

Assessment, Assessment Centre (AC), Individual Assessment

The first assessment was carried out by the German army after the First World War. At that time the overall military command, and the generals in particular, were of the opinion that officer candidates should undergo a thorough psychological military selection process to assess their suitability as leadership individuals. Social background or disdainful nepotistic protectionism were not to be the only criteria which decided on a military career, the candidates’ abilities were also to play a decisive role. The prognostic validity, that is, the so-called value of predictions regarding the suitability of applicants for specific positions from tried and tested assessment processes is now undisputed, it is well-documented in employment psychology literature and has been tried and tested in daily practice. The PKS Personal AG team makes a firm distinction between this and the other consultancy services and uses external experts and assessors for the assessment of its candidates.

Magnifying Glass, Research, Find

(image source:; fotographer: Lucas Wendt)

Why do we have the assessments and their evaluation carried out externally?

Many personnel service providers recruit their applicants and also provide employment psychology methods as “all-in-one solutions”, so to speak. However, even with a high degree of professionalism, the critical distance is often subject to negligent clouding and dilution as a result of economic considerations. Is the objectivity of the assessment really guaranteed if the same personnel service provider has already had a lot of contact and spent a lot of working time with these candidates?

What happens if the important convergence of a proven objective match between the assessment report and the recruiter’s appraisal is lacking, even if this has ideally been compiled ‘independently’ by two different, psychologically trained experts? Do you really have a guarantee that, with difficult recruitment processes which have perhaps been put under further pressure due to a lack of time and a depleted budget, the results have not been optimised in order to simply fill the position?

Only an external, expert psychological second or third opinion guarantees method neutrality and a non-judgmental assessment focussed solely on the applicants, leaving out economic interests.

Potential analysis, location conditions

In contrast to the assessment, the potential analysis is much quicker and more cost-effective. Most of the products on offer are valid and meaningful from an employment psychology perspective. However, it does not achieve the same degree of insight as with the assessment. The potential analysis provides a structured investigation of the existence of specific qualities. It provides clearly structured information on issues regarding the person’s abilities. The most important aspect is the appraisal of the future options available to a person in their personal and especially their professional environment. In addition, companies can use the potential analysis to assess the professional suitability and compatibility of entire teams. Potential analyses within the personnel field are carried out in different applications and with a variety of methods. This enables the use of structured questionnaires to establish one’s own career potential or to check the requirement profile for personnel selection. The potential analysis therefore serves to compile the ability potential for future activities.

The potential analysis covers the following areas:

  • knowledge
  • abilities
  • motivation
  • personality features

The potential analysis is also not to be underestimated as an important instrument for personnel loyalty. Under- or overworked staff members can lead to an expensive lack of motivation. The insights provided by such data can provide important indications as to how staff members can be better deployed. The potential analysis is very important for management positions as an error of judgement here can have serious consequences for the company’s success.

Why do we have the potential analysis carried out externally?

The expert objective distance of the service providers who also compile a potential analysis of your applicants is usually only sub-optimally developed and, at best, suggestively influenced, if a commercial client relationship also exists. PKS Personal AG also works with external, specialist service providers in this field who have a great deal of experience in the specific areas. This avoids a conflict of interests at the expense of the client and the applicants.

Why do we not think very highly of graphological assessments?

Graphological assessments are seldom used in personnel selection. As a rule, they use spontaneous, handwritten excerpts but the scientific method and validity of graphology are hotly disputed. The sharper critics maintain that graphology is as meaningful as reading tea leaves. PKS Personal AG has never been a provider of this means of assessment.


Executive Search, management consultancy and management selection require a correct professional, factual und methodical approach. The recruiter’s critical distance and independence from employment psychology options is an important primary prerequisite in ensuring the desired validity and substance. We fill your vacancy.