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HR, International Business, and Finding the Perfect Talent 

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Christian Tegethoff CT Executive Search

How Christian Tegethoff, Founder and Managing Director of CT Executive Search uses the executive search company to provide senior recruitment in emerging markets.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Christian Tegethoff: Thankfully, we are all doing well and hoping that things will return to normal as soon as possible. Of course, the international travel restrictions are very obstructive for us, both for business and private. In “normal” times, I commute between Moscow and Berlin, plus visits to partners, candidates, and customers throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Such trips are currently not possible, especially no international commuting.

Tell us about you, your career, how you CT Executive Search.

Christian Tegethoff: Even as a teenager, I often had wanderlust and always wanted to work in international business. When I graduated from school, I wanted to become a foreign correspondent for television or a newspaper. 

To do this, I had to learn an “exotic” foreign language; Russian was just exotic enough for a West German, so I signed up for a degree in Slavic Studies and Eastern European History. One thing led to the other – that’s how I ended up in Moscow, where I first worked for the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce and later for a German executive search company. 

I now have my own executive search company, which works in Russia / CIS, all of Eastern Europe, China, India, the Middle East, and Africa. We mainly work for European companies by supporting them in filling key positions. Topics such as intercultural understanding and communication are crucial – that’s what doesn’t make the job boring.

How does CT Executive Search innovate? What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Christian Tegethoff: It’s no secret that the global pandemic has changed the way business is being done. The HR sector and we as a company have not been immune to the accelerated digital transformation that followed the global lockdown. 

As a company, we have embraced these changes. In fact, the adoption of new HR technologies such as video interviewing software (top examples include Spark Hire, Hire Vue, Vid Cruiser) and online meetings lead to higher productivity and greater results in terms of hired candidates. It also widened our pool of clients. We were now able to meet with companies all over the world online, without having to make time consuming travel arrangements. 

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Christian Tegethoff: 2020 was, of course, a wild year. During the first lockdown, recruitment was, of course, not an issue at most companies, and the reluctance was clearly noticeable during Q3. 

The companies were too busy with operational challenges to invest in international expansion or to make unnecessary managerial changes. Then in Q4, we were showered with orders, and we continue to see companies returning to their long-term business strategies. We expect 2021 to be an active year for us.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Christian Tegethoff: It is more often the case that we work with other HR firms in different countries as partners rather than competitors. 

Your final thoughts?

Christian Tegethoff: Current innovations in HR should be embraced rather than feared and treated with suspicion. These innovations help find highly skilled candidates, eliminate biases, and improve employee experience. 

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