Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart, is no stranger to disrupting established industries.

Q&A With Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart

Summary:Gain insights in this exclusive Q&A with Sanjay Sathe, CEO of SucceedSmart, as he discusses the future of executive recruitment & leadership.

Q&A With Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart

Summary:Gain insights in this exclusive Q&A with Sanjay Sathe, CEO of SucceedSmart, as he discusses the future of executive recruitment & leadership.
Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart, is no stranger to disrupting established industries.

Table of Contents

This interview is part of a series on Workology that features an HR Technology company, its founder and its features. For this post, we’re talking to Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart.

Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart, is no stranger to disrupting established industries. Previously, Sathé spearheaded RiseSmart’s evolution from a concept based on his personal experiences into a major disruptor in the $3B outplacement industry, becoming the fastest-growing outplacement firm in the world. In September 2015, RiseSmart was acquired for $100M by Randstad.

The experiences from RiseSmart set the stage for Sathé’s next venture. As he observed the traditional executive search industry that existed in the U.S. market for over fifty years, he recognized the need for radical change. Launching SucceedSmart in 2020 was a culmination of Sathé’s 15 years as a candidate and buyer of executive search. It was clear that the industry was living in the past, had clear inefficiencies, and was ripe for disruption.

5 Questions With Sanjay Sathé, Founder & CEO of SucceedSmart

Q: How does SucceedSmart serve employers and their HR teams?

SucceedSmart acts as an extension of talent acquisition and recruitment teams by offering an innovative approach to executive recruiting and helping companies effectively fill complex leadership roles. By leveraging a unique blend of proprietary AI and custom-built accomplishment-based matching technology with talent advisors and executive coaches, SucceedSmart drives significant value for organizations looking to fill critical leadership roles with top talent in 4-6 weeks while reducing executive search costs by 70%.

While SucceedSmart does the heavy lifting in the executive recruitment process, this frees up time for HR, talent acquisition, and recruitment teams to focus on the “human side” of human resources, such as building relationships with candidates and employees, talent development, and strategic workforce planning. 

From an executive recruitment standpoint, one of the top trends we’re noticing is the impact of the “Silver Tsunami,” meaning the wave of retirements expected among Baby Boomers in the coming years. As of now, more than 11,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age each day and more than 4.1 million Americans are expected to retire each year through 2027.

With an increasing number of senior leaders retiring, businesses are expected to see an increase in open executive positions. And traditional executive search firms often have a short list or “rolodex” of potential candidates, and their traditional networks will continue to diminish as more individuals retire. 

HR leaders and organizations can embrace AI-powered candidate recruitment technology to overcome challenges related to the Silver Tsunami—rather than relying on shrinking personal networks. Taking a modern approach to executive recruitment can help businesses more proactively plan for succession by simultaneously identifying and nurturing internal talent while recruiting qualified external candidates.

Q: How do your AI tools enable employers to recruit top executive talent?

Traditional executive search businesses only focus on corporations—not executives. SucceedSmart has flipped the model on its head as an executive-first platform.

Executive candidates can let companies scout them because SucceedSmart brings exciting opportunities directly from hiring managers at Fortune 500 corporations and fast-paced startups. This leads to reduced hiring time for businesses, which drives candidate engagement while accelerating the time for executives to secure their next roles.

AI-powered accomplishment-based matching technology matches best-fit, qualified candidates based on each company’s job descriptions for specific open positions. Executive profiles are also confidential to them. Once a company “likes” their single-blind profile, the executive has the choice to “like back” and only when they do that is their profile shared with the company. Additionally, we ensure that their current company can never see even their brief profile. From the candidate’s perspective, we are effectively a “Bumble” for executive search.

Q: How does SucceedSmart help employers meet diversity and inclusion goals?

Like Robinhood democratized investing, SucceedSmart is democratizing executive recruitment, delivering a modern, digital approach while prioritizing diversity in leadership. Executives no longer need to chase executive search firms and break into their exclusionary networks or apply to open positions, only to realize their application has been lost in a black hole.

Our proprietary AI and custom-built accomplishment-based matching technology eliminates conscious and unconscious bias by evaluating candidates based on their accomplishments, rather than demographic details, and promotes diversity in executive recruitment with a “single-blind” approach to candidate matching. Talent is initially presented as “single-blind” and if the company and candidate “like” each other, then in-depth, “Pinterest-like” profiles with elevator pitch videos are presented to help companies make quick hiring decisions.

Additionally, in 2023, we introduced Taylor, a generative AI platform designed to create unbiased, accomplishment-based job descriptions. It also includes capabilities to review existing job descriptions, flag biases and exclusionary language, and instantly  recommend essential changes. 

Q: What is the biggest challenge in executive search that SucceedSmart helps companies overcome?

The biggest challenge in executive search is that the industry primarily operates offline and has lacked technological innovation for more than half a century while most other industries in the HR technology space continue to embrace digital-first technology. Traditional executive search is transactional, exclusionary, clubby, time-consuming, and expensive. Businesses also have to pay exorbitant fees even if they don’t receive a candidate or secure an executive for an open role. The same small pool of executives are also often passed around between firms, leading to a limited talent pool.

SucceedSmart takes a modern approach to executive recruitment that can help address these challenges by speeding up total time to hire to 4-6 weeks, compared to 24-26 weeks for traditional executive search, decreasing overall hiring costs, and enabling organizations to build more diverse leadership teams.

SucceedSmart is now on a mission to disrupt the $8 billion executive search industry, blending AI-powered technology with human expertise to help companies fill complex leadership roles with unmatched agility, accuracy, and affordability, while promoting diversity and transparency. Learn more here.

Connect with Sanjay Sathé on LinkedIn.

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