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Keeper of the Culture

Profile: Natural and organic meat company

Role: VP of Marketing

Challenge: This company needed VP with a “big company” classic consumer package goods (CPG) foundation along with emerging, relevant natural/organic industry success. The right candidate would also be a “keeper of the culture” since the role is pivotal in leading, communicating, modeling and reinforcing the client’s unique culture to consumers as well as fellow employees. In short, they needed someone who would truly embrace not just the role, but the brand.

Strategy: Our consumer products expert (also PeopleSuite managing partner) toured the client facility to get a thorough understanding of the client and the culture. How did it look? How did it feel? How was the culture defined? We then composed a detailed position profile and proactively reached out to CPG/Natural/Organic candidates from our network. But we also conducted fresh research, led by our sourcing team. The key “must have” would be individuals with all right credibility–but who also possessed a true passion for natural and organic foods. Someone who was living the culture already.

Result: Reaching out proactively to 120+ people, we successfully recruited our final candidate from one of the leading organic food companies in the world. She had a tremendous impact on our client’s growth and image in the marketplace. The VP of HR could not be happier with the candidate we placed and came back to us for a VP of Supply Chain search as well.

Time to Fill: First slate of candidates presented to client in two weeks with weekly updates and HR follow up.  After multiple client interviews, position filled in 67 days.

From Entrepreneur to Enterprise

Profile: Fast growing plant-based food company

Role: Chief Financial Officer

Challenge: This CEO and private equity investors were seeking a financial leader who had demonstrated success working in consumer goods and with private equity firms. They needed a diverse candidate who had proven success in taking companies to “the next level”  and could create strategies to ensure a $70 million company had the systems and processes in place to grow to $150 million and beyond.

Strategy: Our founder, managing partner and consumer products recruiter met with the client and toured the client facility to get a thorough understanding of the client and the culture. We then composed a detailed position profile, proactively reached out to CFO candidates from our network and started fresh research as well. We knew the ideal candidate would have proven experience setting up systems, policies and procedures to allow their companies to grow; as well as having extensive experience interacting with private equity owners and the rigors that entails.

Result: Reaching out proactively to 150+ candidates, we successfully placed a diversity candidate in the role who has actually just been promoted to a dual role for CFO/COO. The CEO was pleased and has come back to PeopleSuite with 3 more search assignments since, including a VP of Operations and Controller.   

Time to Fill: First slate of candidates presented to client in two weeks with weekly updates and HR follow up.  After multiple client interviews, position filled within 90 days.

Replacing a 20+ Years Incumbent in a Short Time Window

Profile: Large $1B  specialty retail company

Role: VP of Marketing

Challenge: The client sought a well-rounded VP of Marketing–someone who could operate at both a strategic, management level as well as tactical, detail-oriented level–to replace the 20+ year retiring incumbent. Salary offered was well below industry standard. And the time window was tight. To ensure effective knowledge transfer, they needed the right person in three months.

Strategy: We engaged the hiring manager immediately, ensuring their commitment to the process and established a weekly update to efficiently calibrate on candidates. We then networked with industry executives, identified best-in-class companies and found local candidates to keep the relocation costs low and the interview process fast.

Result: PeopleSuite identified two great candidates, one of which was interviewed and offered the job within 4 weeks. After they declined due to a lucrative counteroffer, the 2nd candidate was identified, offered, and accepted 3 weeks later. The hiring manager was extremely pleased with the process, the quality of candidates, and the sense or urgency by PeopleSuite.  Two months into the role, the client CEO said the VP of Marketing is “outstanding”.

Time to Fill: 10 weeks

Overcoming Nuances and Confusing Keywords for the Right Match

Profile: Provider of underwriting, asset management, and due diligence services for investment banks and lenders in the commercial real estate space.

Role: A technical underwriter role with skills in risk management.

Challenge: Both “underwriter” and “risk management’ are highly-searched keywords in the insurance industry, which produced candidates that were not a fit for the real estate client.   

Strategy: This specialized, niche-type of recruiting called for targeting specific individuals online, rather than traditional search tools like keyword searches and database candidates. But PeopleSuite is versed at leveraging technology rather than relying on it and we reached back into old school referral-based search techniques to find the perfect fit. To understand the client and role, we immediately scheduled a site visit and did a lot of listening, striving to ask questions in their own language, as well as translating their answers into layman’s terms. We then developed a targeted approach to the candidate conversation in an effort to understand their “unwritten” rules. As always we were diligent about striving to understand, then solve. What makes them tick? What’s their specialty? Beyond traditional skills, what do they bring to the table?

Result:  By listening and refining our approach we were able to determine the most desired, and most limiting experience factors.  By targeting portfolio managers who manage transitional CRE loans, we were able to narrow the scope. Referrals and lots of phone screens were ultimately the keys to uncovering the right candidate as the nuances we were seeking to vet could only be done through a discussion.

Time to Fill: 57 days

“Marc really took the time to get to know me (both personally and professionally) he made sure to understand my skills, values and vision for life. When I look back at school, a key component missing in our learning about interview skills, preparedness and networking was your network also needs to include recruiters and individuals that can act as both mentors and brokers. It was certainly one of the best business relationships that I made in 2017. And with Marc as the mediator and advocating for all parties involved (myself, himself and the business) it truly was a win-win-win. Five stars for sure. Huge standing ovation for Marc and his team at PeopleSuite.” –Sarah R

Filling a Complex, Unprecedented Engineering Role

Profile: A high-profile global manufacturer of technically advanced specialty materials, serving diverse markets and industries such as aerospace and defense.

Role: Chemical Engineer

Challenge: A very specific and scientific role. Two Fortune 500 companies sought to leverage cutting-edge technology to develop a new process for manufacturing metals. They needed a seasoned and innovative chemical engineer who possessed deep knowledge of environmental health and safety and could take a new process from R&D to production.

Strategy: No posting and no traditional networking. First, we dug deep. We talked to the hiring manager. We talked to HR. We understood the role. We got comfortable with the context. We found out why these types of engineers fail, why they succeed and what pitfalls are common. Before making phone calls, we did a competitive analysis, created a target list and practiced our pitch with our peers. While this particular industry is highly technical, understanding the humans behind the company is just as key to understanding what they do.

Result:  This very specialized engagement had been out to other recruiting firms for some time before PeopleSuite was asked to partner with them on the search. In 76 days the team had an offer and acceptance from an exceptional candidate that had the deep technical background required to add value in the role. Success required the team to understand the educational requirements and tailor the search for specific degrees.  We had to take the time to understand the strategic goals of the client and the unique qualities of the proposed position. Our client now has an employee in place that has the technical capabilities to assist in developing a process that will revolutionize the metals industry.

Time to Fill: 76 days

Working with Joe Grabuskie and the recruiters at PeopleSuite makes recruiting effortless for the HR professional. The responsiveness is by far the best we have experienced. Their ability to understand the type of candidate we are looking for has been top notch. They listen to the needs, communicate clearly, are transparent with candidates and follow-up appropriately. We can always trust that information is being shared accurately with candidates and managers. They have become our “go to” recruiting firm, especially with difficult-to-fill roles.”

A Rare Combination of Technical Expertise and Management Skills

Profile: Global defense manufacturer

Role: Control Systems Engineering Manager

Challenge: This was a senior role requiring a rare combination of technical expertise, management skills and experience developing and implementing controls systems on a large scale. In addition, the location was rural Virginia. The role was open for over two years and the client had worked with two different agencies as well as a sizeable internal recruiting team before they essentially gave up. They finally hired PeopleSuite, and we accepted the challenge head-on.

Strategy: PeopleSuite knew the right candidate wasn’t in transition. They were already succeeding for another company. And so we dug into the industry. Who were the top performers? Who were the thought leaders? Sometimes those are obvious, other times not so much. LinkedIn is our first visit. Then we make a phone call–and the initial tone and approach of that phone conversation is critical. If you go into it like a transaction, the candidate feels that. If you approach them with kindness, candor and meaning, they feel that too. PeopleSuite understands that career is often synonymous with livelihood.

Result: A difficult, specialized search that required really digging into the industry competitors to find the ideal candidate.  The strategy paid off with an exceptional hire within the target compensation range. Ultimately, the candidate was pulled from a direct competitor and required relocation to avoid a non-compete agreement conflict.

Time to Fill: 85 days

“Dylan and the PeopleSuite team are true partners in supporting our ever-changing business needs.  The team is always willing to take on a new challenge no matter the urgency. The consistency and partnership is outstanding.”  — Director HR, Global Defense Manufacturer

Overcoming a Personality Clash

Profile: Major coffee company with national retail and wholesale distribution.

Role: Accounts Receivable Manager

Challenge: Client had gone through 12 candidates when PeopleSuite was put on the job. We then presented six. Four went face to face. All failed. Every candidate who made it to an interview was both a cultural fit and a skills fit, but didn’t “click” with the CFO and the Controller.

Strategy: We didn’t quit. We got curious. With limited access to the CFO and Controller, we asked HR what “clicking” really meant. We changed our screening process with candidates and incorporate different questions: How did they handle different types of personalities? How well could they follow non-verbal cues? What was their strategy for communicating with leadership? How do they approach teams that have been led incorrectly? How would they manage a team?

Result: By rethinking our screening strategy, we found the perfect candidate in the second wave of candidates based on our tweaked assessment strategy. The result was a placement.

Time to Fill: 65 days

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