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Case Study: N2Growth and Loxo – Transforming Executive Search Software

Company
About

N2Growth is a globally recognized executive search and leadership advisory firm, consistently ranked among the top 15 firms worldwide. With over 50 offices globally, N2Growth has established itself as a leader in identifying and developing executive talent.

Products Used

Recruiting Strategy

Background

N2Growth is a globally recognized executive search and leadership advisory firm, consistently ranked among the top 15 firms worldwide (Forbes, Hunt Scanlon). With over 50 offices globally, N2Growth has established itself as a leader in identifying and developing executive talent. To enhance their client experience and stay ahead in the competitive executive search industry, N2Growth partnered with Loxo to bring both their efficiency and their client relationship management to the next level. 

 

Challenge

Despite its altitude, the executive search industry has long relied on outdated manual processes and subjective judgment to match candidates with roles. As the market becomes increasingly competitive and technology-driven, N2Growth recognized the need to innovate and integrate advanced technology into their processes. 

N2Growth’s differentiator has always been transparency — giving their clients a peek behind the curtain and providing them with a true talent advisory experience. 

“One of the biggest problems with search firms is that the client doesn’t really know what’s going on day-to-day. Not only does this lead to a slower search process, longer times to place candidates, and overall lower client satisfaction — it also hinders building trust and true partnership with our clients.” says Dan Evans, N2Growth’s Global Chief Marketing Officer. “But we have nothing to hide — we pride ourselves on ultimate transparency. For people who have had bad experiences with search firms before, it’s a game-changer.” 

But operationalizing and scaling transparency can be challenging, and for a long time, individual consultants were using different processes. Bringing the team into Loxo (a leading recruitment software for executive search firms) helped in creating standard operating procedures — but the N2Growth leadership team wanted to find an even more streamlined way to give clients access to the insights they needed to make strategic hiring decisions. 

 

Solution

N2Growth chose to integrate Loxo into their operations to leverage its advanced capabilities in data management, candidate sourcing, and process automation

When the team began thinking about taking client relationship management to the next level, they approached the Loxo team about a game-changing idea: a client-facing platform, powered by Loxo’s API, that would give clients the ability to log-in themselves and see live progress updates, candidate insights, hiring analytics, and more. 

The N2Growth team knew that they wanted to partner with Loxo on this, because they believe in leveraging respective strengths. 

“It’s really challenging to build a technology product — and particularly challenging to build one for talent acquisition, because of the huge data component,” Dan says. “And while the intention is good, a lot of them end up being kinda clunky. Our goal was not to do that. We wanted to create something that was easy to use and understand, and working on top of the work Loxo had already done saved time on both ends. It was just a solution that made a lot of sense.”

 

 

What started as a napkin sketch Dan drew while on PTO ended up turning into Vue — a proprietary platform set to redefine the executive and board search experience. Offering unparalleled transparency, collaboration, and data-driven insights at every stage of the search process, Vue enables an all-encompassing “whole-person” analysis of each candidate in light of the hiring organization’s specific people and business needs. 

 

“Vue is not just a tool; it’s the future of executive search,” says Kelli Vukelic, CEO at N2Growth. “It’s designed for a more informed and precise hiring process, ultimately empowering our partners to build effective long-term leadership strategies.”

 

Building Vue — a collaborative effort between the Loxo and N2Growth teams

As previously mentioned, N2Growth didn’t want to start from ground zero when it came to building what would one day become Vue. 

“We knew we wanted to work with vendors to co-create something together, building some unique products off of their technology,” Dan explains. “There’s no way we could’ve built what Loxo’s created, and Loxo could never have done what N2Growth has done — each of our experiences being brought to the table were necessary.” 

In developing Vue, the N2Growth team started by identifying what data matters most to their clients in understanding, evaluating, and selecting the right executive talent for their organizations From there, they began to reverse engineer: What data points, analyses, and information do our consultants need to focus on in their conversations with candidates – and how can they capture and assess that in an intuitive way? What the client needs shapes Loxo, which shapes Vue — but that giant feedback loop only works if consultants are inputting that data. 

So the next question to consider was what the least effective outputs their team was currently spending time on — identifying the areas where they could create efficiencies and allow for the human element to shine through in the areas where it matters most. 

“This really matters to us: spending our time assessing candidates on things that matter like their skills, behaviors, and competencies so that we can make informed recommendations to our clients,” Dan says. “Focusing our energy on the right types of human things, rather than spinning wheels doing things that technology could easily do for us — that was a big win.” 

Working together with Loxo’s engineering and data teams, Vue went from really good idea to rough sketch on napkin to a living, breathing thing — through design thinking workshops, product roadmap meetings, technical sessions, support requests, and training sessions with the N2Growth team. 

Megan Hund, N2Growth’s Chief of Staff and Technology Program Manager, explains that one of the firm’s core value propositions is understanding a candidate beyond simply what’s on their resume — using that “whole-person” mentality to identify the best candidates. With that mindset, they’ve been able to structure Loxo (and, subsequently, Vue) around the things that they think are important. “We leverage a lot of customization,” Megan says, “which Loxo supports. And our Loxo CSMs basically have the philosophy of ‘whatever you want a training session on, just tell us a day or a time,’” Megan says. “That’s been really key in driving user adoption.”  

 

“It’s been a real fun ride to build a product that clients actually use, and that our team uses,” Dan says.

 

Implementation

The integration process involved customizing N2Growth’s Loxo instance to align with their unique search methodology and the data they wanted displayed in Vue. This customization allowed N2Growth to manipulate and manage data effectively, ensuring that their global team could leverage the platform according to their specific needs — and that clients were able to access the insights they cared about most. Loxo’s API enabled seamless data transfer and management, allowing N2Growth to focus on high-value activities and strategic client interactions.

 

 

N2Growth’s CEO emphasized the importance of this partnership:

“The partnership with Loxo has just been hand-in-hand for a very long time,” Kelli says.  

 

Overarching results

The implementation of Vue has significantly transformed N2Growth’s operations. The platform has made it easier for N2Growth’s consultants to step into a true talent advisory role with their clients, building deeper trust. By leveraging Loxo’s technology, N2Growth has been able to:

  1. Improve efficiency: The two-sided feedback loop between Loxo and Vue has allowed for easier client communication and strategic activities, reducing time-to-hire. 
  2. Enhance transparency: Clients have real-time access to search progress, candidate information, and market insights, fostering a collaborative and transparent relationship.
  3. Drive better outcomes: With increased user adoption comes increased data quality — and with data insights they can rely on, N2Growth can provide clients with comprehensive candidate evaluations, considering skills, experience, and behavioral competencies. 
  4. Decrease time-to-hire: Even in highly niche, specialized, and important searches, the N2Growth team is able to surface well-matched candidates and engage in insightful client conversations sooner — leading to a shortened hiring cycle. 

All of this combines for the ability to make stronger hiring decisions, with less friction at every stage of the process. 

 

“We’ve been live for five, six weeks and we’re already seeing it drive the kind of outcomes I hoped for when we started this,” Kelli says. “So it’s been really encouraging and rewarding.” 

 

Kelli provided additional insights on how these product developments have translated into tangible improvements in performance — but her primary focus is on how this technology opens the door to the type of recruitment that will become commonplace in the coming years. 

 

Real-life outcomes

Real-life outcome 1: Faster hires for niche roles with specific hiring criteria  

When you start a search with the goal of having a diverse leader — whether in the categories of race, ethnicity, gender, or beyond — that search can start with a very wide top-of-funnel. 

N2Growth used Vue to work with a large US nonprofit who was looking for a C-suite hire to come in and lead their medical staff. They’d been searching for a diverse leader to round out their leadership team, but were giving up on that goal after nearly a year of struggling to find the right fit. Desperately needing someone in the seat, they were willing to widen their scope a bit if necessary. 

Enter the N2Growth team and Vue. The team was able to uncover previously unseen talent all over the country — surfacing these candidates to the client via Vue. 62% of these candidates were women, and 29% were racially diverse.

The search closed within 90 days of engaging N2Growth, and a woman of color (identified using Vue) who was deeply aligned with the mission and purpose of the nonprofit ended up in the position. 

With the help of Vue, the N2Growth team was able to find someone who checked all of this client’s boxes — both the “on paper” ones and the bigger, more emotional ones like culture alignment and purpose. Now, Kelli says that the N2Growth team is excited to check in with the client a year down the line, to see the impact that this individual and this team will accomplish together. 

 

Real-life outcome 2: Redefining the “Purple Unicorn” 

Kelli detailed another outcome, even this early into Vue’s rollout, that is still playing out. 

The N2Growth team has been working with a client that had an extremely narrow focus — with their eyes set on a very specific type of candidate with a very specific type of background. They were concerned about looking outside of their industry to fill this role.  

“I’m all for finding ‘Purple Unicorns,’ but recent data shows that almost 65% of people who’ve been changing jobs have been changing industries,” Kelli explains. 

It’s going to become increasingly important for hiring companies to have an open mind when it comes to their top-of-funnel search considerations as market shifts like this continue to take effect. This is what Vue is about — giving clients visibility not only into the workflow of the team they’re working with, but into market trends that influence their decision making. 

The N2Growth team did a calibration exercise with the client, using data surfaced in Vue — which led to the client opening widening their expectations and focusing more on the “whole person” features of a candidate rather than their experience in a given industry. 

“The arbitrary ‘I want 20 years experience doing ABC at XYZ organization’ —  that’s going to be the past,” Kelli says. “And the future is going to be building those experiences in a number of different places, and a number of different ways, and coupling that with the kinds of competencies that are required for the organization.” 

The implications of this shift on talent professionals will mean an increase in reporting and telling the “whole-person” story of a candidate — which Vue enables them to do — rather than just finding candidates via “old way” processes like mimicry and title-matching. 

“Vue allows us to share with a client how candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds impact solving their problem. Skills, business outcomes they drove, behaviors, competencies, values. All of that is baked into the candidate evaluation,” Kelli says. She impresses the importance of this capability not just now, but in the future: “Experience will be at a premium in ten years time. If you’re only measuring based on past experience, you’re missing a huge part of the market.” 

 

Conclusion

N2Growth’s partnership with Loxo in building Vue has already proven to be a game-changer in the executive search industry. By integrating advanced technology and data-driven insights, N2Growth has enhanced their client experience, improved efficiency, and set a new standard for transparency and effectiveness in executive search. 

The coolest part of all? They’re just getting started. Megan shared that at their 2023 leadership session, they were already brainstorming what future versions of Vue could look like. 

“The next iteration will offer insights into broader talent pools beyond specific roles,” Megan shared. “This helps clients understand if their expectations match what’s out there.” 

One thing is for certain: Loxo’s team will be ready and waiting to dive into these future iterations — and is thrilled to be working with a forward-thinking team like N2Growth’s. Our founder, Matt Chambers, says often that the best recruitment firms of the future will operate more like tech companies. N2Growth’s Vue is the perfect example of this playing out in the ideal way — experts working with other experts to bring something extremely powerful to life.

 

Interested to see how Loxo’s Talent Intelligence Platform could be a game-changer for your executive search business?

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