What happened

Shares of Hendrick & Struggles International (HSII 0.84%) shot up more than 20% after the executive search and consulting firm reported strong quarterly results. The stock gave up some of those gains as the day went on, but was still up 13% as of this writing.

So what

Hendrick & Struggles reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.86 per share on revenue of $193.7 million, easily topping analyst expectations for $0.53 per share in earnings on sales of $163.5 million. The business generated an adjusted operating margin of 12.1% in the quarter, the highest reported since 2008.

Two business execs shaking hands.

Image source: Getty Images.

"Our results reflect a strong rebound from the global downturn," CEO Krishnan Rajagopalan said in a statement. "Record net revenue in the first quarter marked a double-digit improvement both sequentially and year over year, driven by broad based strength across all businesses and geographies."

Executive search did the heavy lifting in the quarter, with unit net revenue up 15.5% year over year.

Now what

Hendrick & Struggles said it expects continued momentum into the second quarter, forecasting revenue of $215 million to $225 million. Analysts had been expecting $165 million.

With investors hopeful the pandemic is receding, there has been a bull market in areas seen as beneficiaries of normalizing conditions. Executive search could be a big beneficiary of a push to get back in the office, as some execs might decide to explore other options or rethink priorities after a year away. Remote work also has the potential to shake up hiring pools, perhaps driving more businesses to use outside help to find the best candidate.