I just read Lisa Bergson's article ("Looking for a Perfect Match," My Company, Fall 2004) and enjoyed her candor. I owned a small executive-recruiting organization until about 18 months ago.
Bergson is doing all the right things. Hiring is hard. It's not unlike trying to decide who you're going to marry in just a few hours. And yes, like marriage, it is chemistry. For me, sales assignments were both the most fun and the most difficult. One runs into a lot of con artists who think their international knowledge is impressive.
It's best to stick with people who know the product and the industry. It has been my experience that customers will appreciate and respect this more than a firm handshake and picking up the tab at the endless dinners in Asia and the ability not to be the "ugly American" in Europe.
Gig Harbor, Washington
I would like to offer up some pro bono recruiting advice to Lisa Bergson. Placing an ad on Monster.com or in The Wall Street Journal would be the least likely way to attract the perfect candidate she so desires.
Think about it. If you're a hard-charging, goal-busting sales manager, are you likely to be actively looking for a job? Doubtful. Profit-oriented candidates are generally optimistic individuals who need to be sold on a new employment opportunity. And they almost never respond to job ads. Factor in the highly specialized nature of this particular open position, and you've severely shrunken the available candidate pool.
As CEO, Bergson has better things to do than look for a needle in a haystack. She should find a reputable executive recruiter, pay them a retainer of no more than 25% of the total fee up front, and go back to running her company.
Good luck to her.
Director of Recruiting Barrington Bishop Inc.
I want to say how much I enjoyed Lisa Bergson's article. I found myself bobbing my head with a smile in recognition of the trials we all go through to find good people. Having spent a good portion of my career in sales and sales management, I have learned that it's not always a good idea to kiss a frog when looking for the proverbial prince or princess.
Ebara International Corp.
I want to compliment Lisa Bergson on how eloquently she described some key issues in one of the toughest jobs any executive faces: hiring the right person. I have made some interesting mistakes in hiring folks along the way. And, no, I don't have a magic method that guarantees success. I do think that chemistry is important, though I might define it as fitting the culture. I certainly find myself pondering the same sorts of things that she does.