Understanding companies’ DNA

For a headhunter the most challenging and exciting task in Executive Search is the identification and assessment of potential candidates for the vacant position in a company. We always strive for finding and presenting “the best” candidate for our client. Though we have to acknowledge, there is no routine – each assignment is different, even when filling the same or similar positions. Candidates are always different and routine questions always are:

  • Can the candidate do the job?
  • How will the candidate do the job?
  • Does the candidate fit to the team?
  • Finally, does the candidate fit to the company?
Understanding companies’ DNA

Today’s trend in Executive Search

But that’s no longer good enough. Today, the environment has become much more complex and goes far beyond the pure match of the candidate’s profile with the requirements of the job description. Especially, the recruiting of C-level positions does not happen without cross-checking soft values. Companies have to have an agenda with topics like Diversity, Sustainability, ESR Enterprise Social Responsibility etc. Candidates appreciate working in a modern company, with flexibility in regard to working hours, physical presence in the office and home office, a healthy and family friendly work life balance. An employer who shows trust and who supports self-determination, naturally without compromising results and performance.

In addition to “WHAT” a company is doing, “the HOW” the company is doing business has become equally important. In the following, we have expanded our business understanding by these elements and will explain how we in DELTACON include the intrinsic core values of a company and its culture in the recruiting process.

Like all individuals do have their unique DNA, also companies do have their DNA, i.e. their specific hard and soft factors describing the “WHAT” and “HOW” companies are doing business.

The Definition of “e:DNA”

By the way: The “decoding of the DNA of enterprises” is not a new discipline. It was already in 2017, when Martin P. Danz published e:DNA: Die Entschlüsselung der DNA der Unternehmung – FOCUS Online – he analyzed the genetics of organizations and defined “e:DNA” being “Enterprise DNA“.

DNA – hard factors and soft factors

In general, we got used to evaluate companies based on our traditional way of thinking. We have a look at the performance, e.g. balance sheets, P&L’s, forecasts, company announcements and investor relations reports. Those hard factors together with market information from competitors provide us with a pretty clear understanding of the financial and market performance of a company.

However, this approach alone is no longer good enough. Today candidates have a similar view on their potential future employer like shareholders. They want to understand, HOW a company achieves the reported results. They pay attention to the companies’ business ethics, compliance and sustainability. Image and reputation are equally important factors like the CO2 footprint, energy and resources consumption, environmental activities.


DELTACON Executive Search has developed professional diagnostic tools to measure the fit of the candidate’s profile, client’s job requirements and the company values “DNA”. We apply methods of profiling and “cultural due diligence” combined with an in-depth competency of our partners‘ business and market understanding due to their many years’ experience in managerial positions of international companies.

It is evident that in the future the business understanding in all industry sectors will become more complex by adding new disciplines of sustainability and company cultural to the traditional performance orientated approach. There is a need for more and better tools to support the Executive Search process, though it is clear that recruiting alone without qualitative assessments is no longer good enough in order to attract and retain the best talent for a company.

Von Thomas Heeger

Personalberater für Pharmaindustrie, Medizintechnik und Diagnostik

Thomas Heeger ist Gründungspartner von DELTACON und Managing Partner von DELTACON an unserem Standort in der Schweiz in Zürich. Sein Competence-Center umfasst den Life Science Bereich mit den Branchen Pharmaindustrie, Medizintechnik und Diagnostik. Als „Brachen-Insider“ mit mehr als 20 Jahren Management- und Leadership-Erfahrung in führenden Unternehmen kennt er das Business in internationalen Konzernen, deren Filialen, aber auch die Bedürfnisse und Thematik in innovativen Life Science Start-ups.