Author: InterSearch Ireland

Work hard, live with passion, do your best

Work hard, live with passion, do your best

Interview of InterSearch Executive Consultants Germany with Leslie Cooper, President of HK Human Capital (InterSearch Chile).

Before Leslie Cooper, Managing Director of InterSearch Chile, started her career in C-level executive search she was a high-performance athlete and extremely successful 100-meter sprinter. Leslie not only held the Chilean record but was also South American champion. “I had the privilege to represent my country in many international meets, and this experience forged my temperament and my way of seeing life,” she says.

What does that mean?

“I live with passion, I give my best, work hard, persevere, learn from my mistakes and celebrate the achievement of goals.”

Sports taught her that limits do not exist, she says, that results are better when you work as a team and to be flexible to changes, adapt to circumstances, and take on new responsibilities.

Taking responsibility in the family business

Leslie received a sports scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Science in Economics at TWU and a Master of Arts in Economics at North Texas State University in the United States. Her professional career began when her father died and she had to take over his position at the family business Chilefrut, an agro-industrial and export company.

After serving in the public sector, she gained valuable experience in the financial industry and served as an advisor to institutional investors. She then founded the executive search company that became HK Human Capital S.A. in 2002 and joined the InterSearch Network in 2007.

Managing HK Human Capital – InterSearch Chile

For more than 20 years Leslie has been responsible for the strategic orientation, leadership of the team, development of solid relationships with clients and industry expertise. She believes staying up to date with industry trends, market dynamics and best practices, continuous assessment of the competition, identifying emerging trends and maintaining the company’s competitive edge is crucial. “My role is to oversee and manage the company so that it performs according to the standards set and to the expectations of our clients while assuring the financial performance and sustainability of the company,” she says.

“We as a team establish the goals, objectives and long and short-term plans.” Leslie leads, manages and supports the executive search team, providing guidance, counselling, mentoring and support, as well as ensuring the successful execution of the searches.

Uncertain situation

Chile is going through tough economic times right now. Many investors have left the country, unemployment has increased and there is more uncertainty of the future. One challenge Leslie and her colleagues are facing: Companies are being more cautious in their decision-making process and more searches are being cancelled or redefined. Candidates and executives, on the other hand, are less willing to take the risk of moving to another company and more often accept counteroffers from their company, Leslie explains. They prioritize job security and stability rather than taking on a new challenge. Due diligence both towards candidates and towards clients as well as confidentiality and integrity are paramount in these times.

As Leslie points out it is essential to stay up to date and care about clients and candidates. “Part of our philosophy is to stay connected and advise our network of clients and candidates to help them formulate strategies that would benefit their company and career,“ Leslie explains. “If they feel you are supporting them, they value that.” Leslie believes that these times bring along opportunities in companies to strengthen their teams and persevere on detecting talents that are willing to take a challenge.

Leslie Cooper
Leslie Cooper

Creating Trust

Even though the market of executive search in Chile is less mature, and most searches are managed internally by companies, either through their HR department or through recommendations of their network, there is approximately a 20 percent of all the C-level searches that are conducted by executive search companies. “In our market, establishing credibility, fostering trust and cultivating strong relationships with our clients and candidates are crucial factors in securing executive search assignments,” Leslie explains. But the industry still has a lot of growing to do and therefore it is important to break some paradigms and make clear the following:

Executive search firms not only rely on their existing networks.

“Relationships and networks are important,” Leslie confirms, “but, in our searches, we strive to make sure we have a diverse and inclusive candidate pool, seeking qualified candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, industries, and locations, using a variety of sources, including technology and data-driven approaches.”

It is not only for large corporations.

There is a perception that executive search services are for large corporations and multinational companies. However, the service Leslie and her team of consultants provide is relevant for all sizes and industries. “Small and medium-size companies can also benefit from partnering with us, not only to find top-level executives who can make their companies grow, lead transformation and provide new strategic views, but also to receive advice on market trends, best practices and solutions for problem areas.”

It is not just about filling the position.

“While filling the position is important, our service is more than that,” Leslie says. It often includes consulting support to the clients, offering market insights, talent mapping, succession planning and leadership development. “We help clients assess their leadership needs, develop effective search strategies, and identify high potential candidates who align with the company’s long-term goals and values.”

Each search is unique

“For us each assignment is unique, tailored to the specific needs, requirements and culture we are dealing with,” says Leslie.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

InterSearch Executive Consultants is one of the leading personnel consultancies and specializes in the recruitment of executives (Executive Search) and systematic analyses of executive potential (Management Audit / Executive Diagnostic). Founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personalberatung”, the company is now represented in Germany with three offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne and was a founding partner of InterSearch Worldwide in 1989.

About HK Human Capital

HK Human Capital is one of the leading companies in the top-level executive search market in Chile. We help our clients to build high performance teams and create value by accessing the best available talent to fulfill their needs.

InterSearch Chile

Unlocking Talent and Insights: The Dual Role of Executive Recruiters

Unlocking Talent and Insights: The Dual Role of Executive Recruiters

In a prior InterSearch news article, you may have encountered a discussion on the primary value that head hunters bring to organizations commented by the Board of Directors of InterSearch Worldwide. Today, we delve deeper into the reasons why executive search consultants closely monitor industry developments within their areas of specialization, enhancing their ability to provide optimal service to clients.

“Executive search consultants play a multifaceted role beyond talent acquisition; they serve as invaluable sources of market intelligence. Beyond identifying top talent, they provide clients with critical insights into industry trends, competitive landscapes, and emerging opportunities. This dual function helps organizations make strategic decisions and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business world. At InterSearch Ireland, we prioritize our commitment to the Life Sciences sector, which is why we maintain a vigilant watch over industry developments, including noteworthy events such as the recent approval of Amgen’s $27.8 billion (€25.8 billion) acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics, based in Dublin.” – says Micheál Coughlan, Managing Partner of InterSearch Ireland, initiator of Life Sciences & Healthcare Practice Group of InterSearch Worldwide.

Let’s see the reasons, why an executive search consultant shall follow the news of an industry:

Industry Knowledge: Staying informed about industry news and trends allows the consultant to develop a deep understanding of the sector they are serving. This knowledge is crucial for identifying top talent, understanding the specific challenges and opportunities within the industry, and making informed recommendations to clients.

Identifying Top Talent: Being up to date on industry news helps the consultant identify high-potential candidates who are making significant contributions or advancements within the sector. This can lead to more effective and targeted searches for executive talent.

Client Trust: Clients rely on executive search consultants to provide valuable insights and expertise. By staying informed about industry developments, consultants can build trust with clients, demonstrating their commitment to delivering the best possible candidates who are well-suited to the industry’s current and future needs.

Understanding Competitive Landscape: Knowing what competitors are doing, industry disruptors, and emerging technologies or business models allows consultants to advise clients on how to stay competitive in the market and recruit executives who can drive innovation and adapt to changing landscapes.

Cultural Fit: In addition to industry-specific skills and experience, executive search consultants often need to assess cultural fit when matching candidates with organizations. Understanding industry dynamics and corporate cultures helps consultants make more accurate assessments in this regard.

Targeted Networking: Keeping up with industry news also helps consultants identify key players, influencers, and industry associations. This can be invaluable for networking and building relationships with potential candidates and clients.

Market Insights: Consultants can provide clients with valuable market insights, including salary trends, compensation packages, and other competitive factors that can affect recruitment and talent retention.

Niche Specialization: Some executive search consultants specialize in specific industries or niches. Staying informed about industry news is essential in such cases because the consultant’s expertise and reputation often hinge on their in-depth knowledge of that particular sector.

Adaptability: Industries are constantly evolving. Staying informed ensures that the consultant can adapt to changes and shifts in the industry’s landscape, making them more agile and effective in their search efforts.

Keeping abreast of industry news isn’t just beneficial; it’s a crucial part of the role of executive search consultants. It enhances their ability to provide valuable insights, identify top talent, and help clients navigate the complexities of their specific industry.


“InterSearch Worldwide, through its 11 Global Practice Groups, empowers its executive recruiters and researchers to remain well-informed about various industry sectors and facilitates the exchange of global market insights”. – adds Leslie Cooper, InterSearch Board Director responsible for Practice Groups.

Follow our social media channels on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter not to miss the industry insights.

InterSearch Ireland, Life Sciences industry, Professional Head Hunter

Expanding into Africa with InterSearch Worldwide

Expanding into Africa with InterSearch Worldwide

We are proud to welcome two new members to boost our customers’ expansion with best local practices also in Kenya/Western Africa and Nigeria/Eastern Africa:

Human Performance Dynamics – Africa (HPDA) is a Human Resource Consultancy firm based in Nairobi, Kenya and since 2009 provides strategic and innovative Human Capital management expertise across all areas of the employment life cycle in all Eastern Africa contemporizing workplaces with 21st-century organizational and people solutions.

Clapland Group is an Executive Search and Recruitment firm with a heritage in placing talented international professionals. Established in 2011, Clapland Group is headquartered in Lagos Nigeria and operates in all Western Africa with a deep understanding of the Talent inter-cultural skills required to work in an international environment.

Frank Schelstraete, InterSearch Worldwide Chairman commented “Complementing the InterSearch footprint in the African continent is a strategic milestone for our organisation. Today our Clients can count on highly skilled local practices in the South (Mindcor Group), Morocco and Maghreb (Diorh), Eastern and Western Africa, and the Ivory Coast of our French member Grant Alexander.”

We are a boutique shop that delivers best-in-class solutions to forward-looking organizations that are interested in optimizing performance. We are committed to helping them increase their productivity through better use of their human capital.

Susan Githuku is the Founder and CEO of HPDA. A global HR leader and advisor, she was previously Coca-Cola’s Eurasia Africa Director for Learning & Development and prior to that, the Director for Human Capital for Coca-Cola Africa. In this capacity, she was responsible for learning and development initiatives in 90 countries.

“Talent Delivered” is our motto. Our modus operandi is to forge a strong partnership with our customers, gaining a deep understanding of their business, goals and talent-related needs. Through this collaboration, we craft individual solutions that deliver upon the Client’s objectives.

Plang Jacob-Lot is the Founder and Managing director of Clapland Group. A multicultural professional with two decades of mixed corporate, consulting, family business, government, and Executive Search expertise gained on mandates across the African continent, GCC and Western Europe.

Find out more by checking the brochure of the InterSearch members operating in Africa.

InterSearch Africa

What is the main contribution of headhunters to companies?

What is the main contribution of headhunters to companies?

The members of the InterSearch Board of Directors answered this question for us. They highlighted the field of action of executive search firms from “identifying and recruiting senior executives to greatly enhance the talent pool” to “a highly holistic and sophisticated service offering” and “supporting the international expansion thanks to the most professional local and global knowledge”.

Like any service, the one offered by headhunters can be measured and qualified according to the contribution they provide to their clients, that is, to companies that seek to add a new executive to their ranks.

Frank Schelstraete, Chairman of the InterSearch organization:

Every organization needs leadership and for over 30 years InterSearch has partnered with thousands of companies worldwide to identify and assess their top-profiled executives. Among several good reasons why it’s advisable to use a headhunting firm, I would draw attention to the following circumstances:

Frank SchelstraeteFrank Schelstraete: “Change” is the new normal and it happens faster and faster.

The economy has shifted from energy driven to information-driven (digitization, Metaverse, Artificial Intelligence), the market demands more sustainable solutions to produce and sell products and services, Diversity & Inclusion rapidly became a major factor to attract and retain clients and candidates. These and further quick changes require Executives who can keep pace with the speed of change and innovation, leaders who will have to plan and anticipate, which is probably the only way to create sustainable value for stakeholders. This calls for a constant review of a company’s leadership potential – within the firm as well as in the outside job market – requires the support of headhunting firms to be effective and always a step ahead of the competitors.

Succession planning within companies is also of utmost importance, especially within Big Family steered firms. This needs a thorough analysis by a specialized consultant, a deep assessment of the potential within the firm (including family members), careful research to find external candidates and, finally, the right advice to guide the client towards the best choice for the future of the business.

The business environment has become highly international.

Whatever the size of the company, one of the development keys for many companies nowadays is having an international footprint. At this stage, a good headhunter with multicultural mindset and deep knowledge of local job markets can make a difference because its researchers and consultants are definitely qualified to find the right talent everywhere in the world, inform the client company about the local talent pool and advise on the most appealing compensation packages either in case of ex-pats or foreign candidates.

The current candidate’s driven market requires big investments in terms of resources, time, energy and corporate branding: using a good headhunting company helps the client to spare strategic resources, meet only those candidates for Executive positions who really match the ideal profile, and later choose the ones who perfectly fit the company culture and strategy.

Peter Waite: “Executive search firms can identify and approach hard-to-find candidates”

“Executive search firms can help companies identify and recruit senior executives to greatly enhance the talent pool. In a tight job market, particularly in Asia-Pacific and many Western countries, it’s hard to find high-quality executives and convince them to leave their current company.

An experienced search firm with an excellent reputation can work with a company to help with organizational structure and use research techniques to identify, approach, interview and recommend the right candidates. Although many companies have their own talent acquisition teams, if a candidate from a competitor is approached, the candidate is often very reluctant to respond because of concerns about confidentiality and jeopardizing their current employment. Therefore, by using an honest third party, such as a reputable executive search firm, the candidate is more likely to participate in discussions as long as confidentiality is guaranteed. Executive search firms have numerous research techniques and don’t just rely on LinkedIn to identify candidates – they can identify and approach hard-to-find candidates, especially in specialized roles that may be under the radar.”

Alexander Wilhelm: From “provider of candidates” to “acting as a consultant in the HR strategy”

I would respond with different answers, depending on the relationship with the customer:

  • Provider of relevant candidates based on specific profiles (that’s mostly the situation).
  • Having a long-standing association, also guide the clients in their search processes and act as a consultant for the current candidate market.
  • Having a real partnership for a long time and acting as a consultant in the HR strategy of clients, also in case of long-term replacement (i.e. at the time of retirement), as well as in people development, creating new job profiles, looking for the right people and not ‘just candidates’”.

Jyorden Misra“The old image of just being a ‘headhunter’ is fading fast”

“’Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person,’ said one of the inspirations of the executive search industry, Edwin Booz, co-founder of Booz Allen Hamilton, in 1914. The pandemic has forced CEOs around the world to think dynamically in tandem with the rapidly changing business environment. Business leaders are now putting digital transformation, innovative cultures, and developing a new generation of leaders high on their agendas. Making these critical decisions requires a thorough understanding of the rapid currents of the market and forecasting the future. This creates a need for a well-equipped, trusted partner who understands the organization at a fundamental level and provides future-ready talent solutions to help the client.

Search is a dynamic concept: Tightly cradled with culture, traditional command structures are increasingly giving way to a more collaborative and consensus-based co-authorship management style. Both the teams and the markets have moved away from an ‘everything under one roof’ formula. In most cases, employees can be located anywhere, and customers can also access products and services from virtually anywhere. This means a big change in the way organizations are structured and operate, triggering a transformative shift in their cultural paradigm. How do you keep the spirit of camaraderie, team connections and motivation high with just the sounds and sights of virtuality, but no touching or feeling of reality? A more conventionally conditioned official would struggle in such scenarios. Similarly, it becomes vitally important for search firms to accurately assess the culture to determine a safe and most comprehensive fit. It is an established fact that 70% of people who fail in any organization worldwide do so because of a cultural mismatch. Cracking the code and reading the cultural contours, both existing and anticipated, is key.

The old image of just being a ‘headhunter’ is fading fast. Current needs require advice on a broader basis, e.g. talent assessment of the client’s competition in the market, talent audit of the client’s own company (compared to industry standards), advice on efficiency and effectiveness, leadership succession planning, culture assessment, and more.

Leadership Talent: The critical (search) differentiator in executive search, in its true form, is a highly holistic and sophisticated service offering. You have a profound capacity to absorb, proven characteristics to discern, the ability to deploy organic tools, and the awareness to connect on a human level. This combination, in its final analysis, is the most powerful and valuable asset that search, as “human software”, successfully delivers. There is invaluable value in human perception, judgment, discernment, and appreciation of nuance that an algorithm cannot replace. From resume screening to background screening, technology can provide a huge boost. When it comes to helping choose the best option among great candidates, technology allows you to do it well, but it soon reaches its limits. There are too many immeasurable details between the conscious, the subconscious and the sublime that require a human being to be in that process. The catalyst and the bridge in this case is the search consultant. These are the issues that today’s leaders will need to plan for and consider in the future. The pandemic has been a driver to test and realign leadership mettle and metrics. “A knife of the sharpest steel requires the whetstone, and the wisest man needs advice.” These ancient and insightful words from Zoroaster capture the essence of where the leadership talent search profession is today and the direction it is headed.”

Leslie Cooper“It allows access to high-level talent”

“Hiring a headhunter is beneficial for a company since it has an advisor who supports companies in their talent search and selection processes, making the approach objective, specialized and personalized. It allows access to high-level talent, saves time and resources, guarantees confidentiality, and provides specialized advice that facilitates negotiation and closing. Headhunters’ knowledge of labor market trends allows them to provide information and strategic advice helping the company stay competitive in their search for professionals. They are companies that have experience and specialized in-depth knowledge of the labor market, industries, and executives, which allows them to understand the needs of the client company and find the most suitable candidates based on the requirements of the position and the organizational culture. In addition, they can provide valuable information on the availability of talent, salary trends, the most in-demand skills and other relevant data.

Through a headhunter, access to high-level talent is achieved also thanks to a wide network of contacts and access to highly qualified candidates that may not be so easily reached through traditional recruitment channels. They have the ability to attract and motivate professionals with successful experience and attractive skills who are not actively seeking a job change and who can be a great asset to the company. This broadens the company’s recruiting reach and increases the chances of finding the best talent.

Those of us who are part of international networks can accompany our clients in the search for global talent. We can identify and attract international candidates, facilitating the hiring of talent specialized in less developed functions or expertise in our country, as well as accompanying our clients in the formation of their teams in other countries.

In some cases, the company is not able to contact candidates due to the required confidentiality of a senior executive. A headhunter can guarantee confidentiality and manage the search in a confidential manner, protecting the interests and reputation of the company.

Headhunters are companies that are trained to objectively and thoroughly evaluate candidates using different evaluation techniques, such as in-depth interviews and reference checks, to ensure that the proposed candidates meet the company’s requirements both in terms of technical and relational skills as well as cultural fit. Such expertise in finding candidates who fit the profile and culture of the client company reduces the risk of a bad hire and increases the chances of long-term success.

Their role is also to be an intermediary between the company and the candidate, facilitating salary negotiations and other benefits. Their experience in managing these negotiations can help ensure that both parties reach a satisfactory agreement and that the contracting process closes effectively.

Headhunters are not only in charge of identifying and attracting talent, but they also help in the insertion and onboarding process of the new executive. This can include regular follow-up to make sure the transition is successful and that both the candidate and the company are happy with the hire.”

About Intersearch

InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, able to operate in 70+. Established in 1989 in the UK, InterSearch carefully selects the best executive search firms to partner with as a member of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach with local impact.

boards of directors, executive search, headhunting, Professional Head Hunter

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