How to Know if Your Executive Search Partner Is Quantum Capable

As hiring for Quantum becomes more prolific with its increasing level of commercialization, so will the need for Executive Search partners to help identify, assess, and recruit optimal senior executives to lead this crucial function and the integration of this critical technology.

In this new environment, simply picking a big brand name multinational Search firm simply won’t do, or at the very least, it would be a risky way to go. Your Executive Search partners in this highly technical new field requires specialized knowledge to know which companies to target, which geographies to include, and most importantly, which questions to ask when evaluating potential candidates.

Richard Feynman, often referred to as the father of modern quantum mechanics, once famously said that no one understands it. That was some years ago now, but considering that the first rudimentary quantum computer was built in 1995 (by a team at the University of Colorado, which included Chris Monroe, founder of IonQ), a long time can seem relative. So, with this unfathomable level of complexity, as Feynman expressed, selecting an unspecialized executive search consultant in this uniquely technical area may be unwise. As such, Berkhemer Clayton has developed a set of questions you may wish to use to evaluate prospective Executive Search firms when assessing their capacity to carry out such intricate and critical searches:

  • Which are the major companies developing quantum hardware, software, and/or other component layers of quantum ecosystems? Which companies are early adopters of this technology, and where are they based? For early-stage companies, which entities are funding their R&D?

With the number of private companies developing quantum technology increasing by the day, and each having its own, very unique set of circumstances, having specialized knowledge of the landscape can drastically increase the speed of any search, as well as its ultimate success.

  • Which distinct technical approaches to quantum computing exist today, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Knowledge of this in your Search consultants cannot be overstated. If your company is looking to benefit from on-premises computing, for example, without going through the cloud, but cannot afford the expense of a dilution refrigerator to lower temperatures to near absolute zero, attempting to seek experts in superconducting technology rather than trapped ion or photonic could be a big and expensive mistake. If you don’t want to tangle with elaborate error correcting apparatus, selecting leadership with expertise in more stable models such as topological quantum computers will help. Either way, your search consultant will need to know the difference in great detail. Expecting search teams to have an in-depth understanding of quantum mechanics is a tall order, but it’s essential.

  • What types of cybersecurity should we implement so as not to be vulnerable to quantum attack? Who should we hire to oversee this transformation?

As the sophistication of quantum computing advances, so does your company’s vulnerability to hacking at a level never seen before. The only way to protect against this will be through quantum-safe cybersecurity. There are several companies working on this, and various ways to implement at radically different price-points. Your executive search consultants should know whether your price-point, system architecture, and other considerations require expertise in post-quantum algorithms, satellite-enabled quantum key distribution (QKD), quantum resistant cryptography, and so forth. With quantum computers progressing at ever greater speeds (and those are just the ones we know about), a quantum attack could come at any moment.

For further such evaluative questions to help you prepare RFPs and so forth, tune in to our future newsletters from Psirch for more.

Good luck, and Psi you later!

Your Quantum Partner