June 21, 2010




This issue of NEWS From....is going to focus entirely on your hiring needs and the value you receive when engaging the services of our firm. 
Over the past few weeks it has become apparent that many of our clients and potential clients are considering a senior hire.   This is good news, and the strongest signal yet, that our economy is moving in the right direction. 
For our clients in higher education facing the need to fill a key Dean or VP position there is real pressure to get moving planning the search, now--vs trying to complete it at a notoriously bad time to announce a new search; end of spring term--beginning of summer.   It is a competitive landscape. "A" Level candidates---the ones who are truly right for your college or university---are always challenging to identify and attract.  At this time of the year, it can be very difficult to attract well qualified individuals since most top level candidates are simply not looking; they are already set for the coming academic/fiscal year.   An interim replacement may need to be named who will or will not be an active candidate for the key open position.  Search committees will be charged by the president or VPAA/Provost/Dean of Faculty to get busy identifying and qualifying candidates in the fall, and simultaneously, a decision will be made as to whether or not a search firm should be engaged. 
Why am I relating this information to you?
If this describes your situation,  we suggest you call us now to discuss the option of engaging our services to meet your key hiring need this coming fall.   We have the experience to help you think through the challenge of successfully conducting a senior level national search assignment.    Why take the risk of "flying alone" on a key search that could result in hiring a candidate who will make a vital difference to the growth and success of the university for years to come?
The cost of the search engagement, vs. the risk of a failed search, (or worse, hiring the wrong candidate), is minimal in comparison. The benefit of hiring the right candidate is not hard to quantify in terms of the effect on enrollment, attracting top faculty, students and serving the needs of alumni and key supporters of the University ready to make significant donations of support.
To illustrate further, here is an edited excerpt of an email I sent out this morning to a president of a university who is about to embark on a search for a B School Dean.    My comments were submittted in an effort to help the president and the school achieve the critically important outcomes being sought.  I share it with you, as well, because it is meant to be a concise summary of our true value proposition.
As with most things –successful exec search is somewhat a counter intuitive exercise.  With respect, here are a few comments that I hope you will find helpful---it is a summary of my firm’s real value prop:
1)     1)  Finding and hiring the right hired candidate is all about the right process---
Identifying a pool of candidates for an attractive senior level position is not going to be hard.  Clearly an advertising campaign is important to achieving that objective.   But as a first step, having a clear, well articulated set of –Key Performance Indicators—( for the hired candidate)  coupled with an achievable timeline for performance deliverables,  is crucial for the Search Committee (SC) and you to define now, in order to be able to tell the difference between good candidates with solid experience and those few A Level Candidates with the right experience, attributes, style and motivation to be able to meet/exceed expectations of the position you are now trying to fill. 
2)     2) Structuring a great Position Spec assures that the right candidates will respond to notices about the oppy--
Writing a first rate Spec draws the right people into the discussion.  For sure, "A Level" candidates who are going to be just right for your opportunity, are not easy to find. Avoiding missing one, once he or she expresses interest, is even more important to the success of the engagement and a key value that we help to deliver.   SC members, provost, president, trustees and other key constituents need to be part of the Position SPEC development exercise to help assure that better /more appropriate candidates will reply and, so that the SC will be able to see a clear potential match from first interview to the offer.
3)   Creating a "first class" project plan makes the difference in keeping the search "on track" and fully transparent for all involved.
This seems obvious—it's not rocket science to have a clear plan-- but often with the help of a professional exec search consultant the plan gets executed.  As a result, our client can focus on candidate assessment and not worry about forging the path toward a successful outcome.  It is a simple fact: many search committee chairs do not have the "bandwidth" to stay on task and steer the committee to an optimal goal; we take on that burden for our clients.  We are able to act as helpful guides without imposing an inflexible approach.  We seek to achieve a delicate balance that leverages everyone’s experience with the search process and results in a search that moves, smoothly, quickly and effectively.  This manifests through interactions with qualified candidates, advising the SC in preparation for candidate interviews and successive visits, assessment/feedback about qualified candidates---(often a very tricky but crucially important aspect of the process)---and, of course, in reference checking and help to the president and provost in negotiating the offer to the finalist
For corporate clients our value proposition is identical---we deliver the right hired candidate cost effectively and in a timely manner.  It is a competitive landscape out there in the "War for Talent" with the best candidates going to the companies that have the clearest idea of what they need and want.   "A Level" candidates always seek career advancement by leveraging what they already know how to do well and then, they keep learning more.  They want to work for a company, and with a group of colleagues, who share common values and work effectively to achieve well defined goals.  "A Level" candidates also want to be physically located in a place that is right for them and their families.   Of course, the compensation package has to be atttactive ---all "A Level" candidates care very much about how much they get paid.    
In the current hiring environment our corporate clients clearly are in a "buyers" market.  There are many more candidates applying for president, CEO, CFO, VP Bus Dev, Marketing, Sales, IT, OPS (etc.) positions.   In fact, for every position advertised, there is a real problem in effectively coping with the number of applicants and then, sorting through those that are unquailifed, qualified and highly qualified as well as motivated, to accept an offer.
Industry source data shows that not only, are those individuals without positions aggressively responding to search openings but also, there are many "A Level" candidates with the confidence to look at a time of marketplace transition.  These candidates are like "value investors" in my view.  Will one of them be right for your company?   Hard to know....Finding people who want to work for you is the easy part of any hiring process---the hard part is qualifying and hiring the right one; we can help you get that done.
If today's issue of NEWS From.... is striking a chord---simply reply to this email and we can discusss your hiring need.   Solutions to needs always begin with a discussion.  I will gladly offer suggestions to help you achieve your hiring goal and perhaps it will make sense for us to work together on a key assignment for your organization.
Looking forward to your response at your convenience.
Warm regards to you and everyone in your family.