AI and the War on Talent: ON Partners in the Conversation

Nov 5, 2023

Brad Westveld, partner at ON, contributes insights into the recent Hunt Scanlon AI feature


A McKinsey & Company survey this spring revealed a remarkable adoption of generative AI tools across various industries. Over one-third of respondents reported that their organizations were already leveraging artificial intelligence in at least one business function.

What’s even more astonishing is that nearly a quarter of C-suite executives admitted to incorporating AI into their work processes, signifying a notable shift in how leaders are embracing cutting-edge technology.

AI has already had a transformative impact on talent acquisition and the executive recruiting space in reshaping how organizations identify potential candidates. Within this rapidly evolving landscape, advanced AI technologies are playing a pivotal role at a time when recruiters are finding their industry in the midst of a renaissance.

Partner Brad Westveld, gives his thoughts on the role AI plays in the executive search process in this recent Hunt Scanlon article titled “AI Making Inroads Into Human Capital Sector, Jolting Investor Interest”:

“While AI-driven recruitment tools certainly have the power to dispense significant bias in the recruitment process, this is only the case if the data they’re being fed is free of bias itself,” said Brad Westveld, a partner with ON Partners.  “At present, we are only as good as the data, and AI is still making assumptions. If the data is not right, incomplete, or ‘assumes’ the wrong parameters, can we really trust the output? Therefore, only the synergy between human intelligence and AI can anchor a more efficient, effective, and responsible executive search process.”

Additionally, the Citi Ventures x ON Partners CIO / CTO Forum recently brought together leading AI experts from Citi, Microsoft, AWS, Deloitte, and BCG X  to discuss the opportunities and risks of generative AI. Topics in the discussion included adoption considerations, risk and governance, and the battle for talent.

The event summary was recently featured in THENEWSTACK and Westveld provided six key takeaways from the roundtable discussion:

01: We are entering a phase of extreme testing and tons of experimental “leaps of imagination” in this technology. There is so much yet to be described and defined in this space.

02: Lawyers are going to make a lot of money. There will be a lot of lawyers who are going to become technologists and a lot of technologists who are going to become lawyers as we figure out things around compliance, governance, security, and IP.

03: AI needs to be centralized in an organization. Rogue pieces of large enterprises working on this will lead to data breaches. A centralized strategy is necessary to reduce risk and to keep in-house in terms of security and IP.

04: Enterprises need to decide if they are going to build or buy this technology and these are significant decisions in regards to go-to-market speed and cost.

05: UX around this particular technology is not great right now. The UX has a long way to go as it interacts with humans and how they interact with it.

06: The closest business cases for immediate AI use right now in a large enterprise environment include those utilizing customer service, those in media, content, and advertising, and if you are in data sequencing or healthcare to get a drug to market much faster.

Brad Westveld is a partner at ON Partners, the only pure-play retained executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams across industries and functions. With over 20 years in executive search, Brad Westveld is an expert at placing C-level and Board executives in go-to-market sales + marketing and technology + engineering functions with a focus on technology, consumer, and industrial industries.

About ON Partners

Since 2006, ON Partners is the only pure-play executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams. We rebuilt the institution of executive search for the way you work. Our approach includes present partners who engage with their clients from the first brief to the final decision, individually crafted solutions that are unique to each client, and an easier experience all around. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms and to the Inc. 500/5000 Lists nine times, ON Partners is consistently ranked among the top 20 retained executive search firms in the U.S.

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