Heidrick & Struggles

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


A premier global executive recruiting firm like Heidrick & Struggles needs to be able to surface information about jobs and candidates quickly, enable mobile work, and still ensure compliance and governance over PII.


Building on the centralized content platform that Box provides, Heidrick & Struggles consolidated all their candidate, job, and internal content on one platform, then built a modern client-facing portal on top of that. IT was able to do away with the open-server structure and tighten governance of all content.


IT has a stronger handle on all the company’s content, and the robust search capabilities Box provides make it much easier for employees to find what they’re looking for quickly. Heidrick & Struggles has been able to improve cycle times by up to 6 weeks, and now transforms the job hunt for up to 40,000 candidates a year on a foundation of Cloud Content Management.

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 be founded, now with a 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 traditional 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


Heidrick & Struggles


Easy searches and deep dives into candidate profiles

The firm’s worldwide executive recruiters work closely with clients and candidates to matchmake, and CIO Alwin 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 5,000 searches and 30,000 candidates a year, minimum,” 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 a single content platform: Box.

Cloud Content Management has made it drastically 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 file.”

A better client experience built on simplified content

With content now easy to share, search, and protect, Brunner’s next initiative was to overhaul the client experience by creating a “digital viewmark” on candidates — a portal where clients could pull up 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 & Struggle

Built on cloud-based technology and tapping into the content stored on 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. There’s also a comparison tool, similar to ones used on retail sites, with which clients can compare two candidates.


Deep data capture layered on strong 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.




The search functionality within Box introduced instant transparency. With a simple search, suddenly, stakeholders could find content 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 permissions capabilities to control who has access to what. Simple, Box-enabled information governance processes keep content in the hands of its owners and make for more thoughtful sharing.


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 executive search for a 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

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