Heidrick & Struggles

Heidrick & Struggles keeps the personal touch in executive recruitment through digital innovation

In executive recruitment, personal touch is everything. Clients hire the best firms when they need high-caliber talent and a custom-picked match. The ability to create personal, digital and ultimately successful experiences for both clients and candidates is what drives Heidrick & Struggles, one of the very first executive search firms to ever be founded, now with global presence across six continents.


Almost every company has the same mandate today: create more fluid, digital, transparent experiences for both employees and customers, and along the way, do a better job of collecting data. But for more conservative industries like the one Heidrick & Struggles helped found, inspiring digital disruption takes smart leadership and even smarter technology.


“Clients and candidates are front and center in what we do. There’s a lot of relationship management that happens. In the past, those relationships were typically all face-to-face, but they’re changing more and more to become digital.”

 — Alwin Brunner, CIO, Heidrick & Struggles

Alwin Brunner, CIO, Heidrick & Struggles

Easy searches and deep dives into candidate profiles

The firm’s worldwide executive recruiters work closely with clients and candidates to orchestrate great matches, and CIO Alvin Brunner is charged with enabling stronger, more efficient digital collaboration with the right cloud-based tools. This means giving staff around the world a way to store, search and share information about candidates easily.


“We’re dealing with 30 to 40 thousand candidates a year, minimum, and 5,000 searches,” says Brunner. “There’s a lot of unstructured information thrown about. People want to have quick access without having to search for too long.” The first move he made was to transition all of Heidrick & Struggles’ content to Box.


With Box adoption, it became vastly easier to share and access content across offices and on mobile devices. Now, says Brunner, “We can collaborate on the same files. Version control is automatic. Comments can be seen by the whole team. You no longer have to ask anyone on the team who has the master.”

Content enabled online for clients  

With content now easy to share, search and protect, Brunner’s next initiative was to overhaul client experience by creating a “digital viewmark” on candidates — a portal of sorts where clients could pull up basic and detailed information on viable hires.


“Twenty years ago, you would listen to your clients to find out what they thought the right candidate would look like. Nowadays there’s more of a metrics-based assessment around what a candidate should look like.”

— Alwin Brunner, CIO, Heidrick & Struggles  


Built on cloud-based technology and tapping into the content stored in Box, this portal allows the client to look at the weekly status of their search process, scan the prepared candidate list, and drill down on every single candidate as the search process evolves. There’s also a comparison tool, similar to ones used on retail sites, with which clients can compare two candidates.

Content enabled online for clients

Deep data capture layered on tight governance

Heidrick & Struggles deals with a lot of unstructured information that must be shared across offices and with clients. White papers, write-ups on client demand, assessments of candidates and copious ancillary information — all of this was previously kept in various drives on an open shared-server structure. Governance was somewhat of a non-issue, by virtue of the fact that files were stashed deep in folders and hard to find unless people knew exactly what they were looking for and where to go.   


The search functionality within Box brings introduced instant transparency. Suddenly, stakeholders could find content with a simple search that they wouldn't have known to look for before — and might not be intended to see. To better manage information governance in a transparent, utterly user-friendly paradigm, Brunner relies on Box's permissions capabilities to control who has access to what, based on confidentiality parameters. Simple, Box-enabled information governance processes keep content in the hands of its owners and makes for more thoughtful sharing.

Deep data capture layered on tight governance

A dynamic technology stack  

Heidrick & Struggles now operates on a stack of cloud-based platforms, starting with Salesforce.com, extending to Heroku, and integrated with Box. Effective and delightful digital experiences for users and new permutations of information access for IT have exalted the experience of executive search for a conservative global company focused on transforming the workplace.


We’re not done learning yet. The possibilities for Box and adoption are vast. We’re only using 20% of what we could be using.

— Alwin Brunner, CIO, Heidrick & Struggles