A Combat of Selection v/s Search, 108 to 1! by Kalle SoikkanenExecutive Search Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
A while ago I met a CEO in the center of Helsinki, whom I’ve known for some time now. He is in charge of non-profitable business of €35M. However the company is on the rise and a zero profit line can already be seen. Obviously some challenges lie ahead. Company structures have to be renewed, and sales have to reach totally new levels in the neighboring countries of Finland.
Having seen me and knowing the business I´m in, the CEO friendly but firmly gave me a challenge. He told me that he put an advert to Helsingin Sanomat, our nationwide newspaper Sunday edition, asking for a Sales Director. He received 108 applications. Apparently there were some competent, capable and even linguistically able applicants; of which at least eight were worthy of a further investigation.
I took on the challenge seeing a decisive battle between public and executive search. If the recruitment truly is to get more value in a critical change situation, then public search is a half-hearted and a lazy solution. I promised to give him a better and more motivated candidate than those 108 within a week. The bet was a lunch and the decisive factor was the final recruitment decision.
Three weeks later the decision was done. A new sales director with additional competencies compared to those 108 candidates signed the contract. He also fits the company life cycle very well.
I will get a lunch. And I caused a price disturbance in the market. However I believe the company truly benefited from the decision. Even though the final evaluation of victory should be done after a few years. Then we will be able to examine the value generated by this recruitment. But for now the loser of the bet also thinks that he has one more ace in his hands when he´s facing competition.
Executive Search is a demanding and arduous process, but one has to evaluate costs vs. benefit in every investment. And in critical situations you should not take the quickest path. Advertisement based recruitment process is easy and quick, but does not give the best results.