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Questions and Answers with Beth Ehrgott

6.18.2009

 

How has your corporate staffing experience shaped your approach to executive search?

Once you have walked in someone else's shoes, it is much easier to understand their perspective. I have a much greater appreciation and respect for Corporate Staffing and Human Resources now that I understand the internal challenges they face (politics, time deadlines, budget pressures, unrealistic deliverables/expectations of hiring managers, metrics reporting, etc.). Often times, staffing and HR are not well respected by the line functions. Hiring is often fragmented and I have seen corporate recruiting operate where there are communication disconnects and no consistent internal hiring processes for the key stakeholders to follow.

What is the biggest challenge facing internal staffing managers today?

Being asked to do more with less. On the positive side, with fewer approved outside searches, internal staffing teams are having the opportunity to do great work and build credibility for the function. The downside is that often times, internal staffing professionals are not external search experts and therefore, do not have the expertise to: a) develop a sourcing strategy to fit role requirements b) conduct the appropriate targeted research necessary to map the available talent pool, and c) conduct behavioral-based interviews and/or other assessments. In addition, there are basic time challenges. Sourcing and recruiting talent is a 24/7 job, especially within a highly competitive global marketplace. Internal staffing managers are faced with the challenge of juggling the operational and administrative process management of the function as well as actual recruiting efforts.

What do you like most about executive search and what do you miss being in-house?

The main thing I miss about being in corporate staffing is being able to walk down the hall and see my clients. I worked with some outstanding people at Novartis and developed great partnerships with them. As a search consultant, you can't just show up at their office and say "let's grab a sandwich." I LOVE being a search consultant. I enjoy the consultative approach that successful executive search requires and building long lasting partnerships with clients and candidates. I have conducted global executive searches across multiple industries and disciplines and take joy in leveraging the industry knowledge gained and recruiting best practices with my clients. Our clients value the recruiting and assessment expertise we bring to the table and I truly appreciate being invited to search for and deliver the most important attribute a company has: its leaders and talent.

How do you see the economic climate now? Is the worst behind us?

As a boutique firm with long term client relationships and an extremely diverse client base, we are in a better position than many other search firms that only support a specific industry/business vertical or function.

Do you see many companies hiring executives from outside their industry?

Certainly some positions require subject matter expertise out of a specific industry. Many leadership roles today require individuals that come from different industries in order to shake things up and affect change across a particular function or entire organization. Strategic, operational and people leadership skills are transferable. In order for our clients to remain competitive, they need to embrace change. The best way to accomplish this is to adopt fresh ideas and leverage best practices from leaders of other industries. Our mantra is "Leadership knows no boundaries or industry."

 

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