We've complied some of most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers here for your convenience.
We only engage on a Retainership model, with an exclusive mandate for the specific search assignment.
We are good with clients and positions that meet the following criteria:
We have had a 99% success rate. We have only had 3 assignments in our ten-year history that did not result in a closure. All the three were a result of our client aborting plans mid-way through the search.
The prerequisite for building a sustainable organization which survives beyond founders, business cycles and product cycles is building a strong team – a core leadership team that nurtures and builds a deep talent pool across all functions and skills. Building the core leadership team for the future is a distinctive characteristic of any business that aims to morph into a lasting organization.
We believe that finding and bringing on board the Right Leader is critical, and literally ‘Priceless’, for any company. And it is even more so, when you are looking to hire a leader to help you transform your company or your industry.
Imagine how truly expensive it would be if you were NOT to hire the right leader for the role! In such a case, your cost is not just the hiring charges you have incurred, or even the compensation you will have paid to the leader until you are able to determine that he/she is the wrong hire. The REAL COST is going to be the missed business opportunity, and/or the cost of the damage to your business that a wrong leader can cause.
Our typical client is at an inflection point and often needs to navigate in a different direction to succeed in the market place. The challenge here is to define the person we want based on the direction we wish to take and then, working from there, to figure out where this person will be, and then reach out to them. Unless extreme care is taken, and the right level of expertise brought to the search, mistakes could happen at any of these steps and result in wrong hiring. It often takes 2+ years to correct course and that may just be the entire window of opportunity that the market gives you!
Our sweet spot is the mid-size company which is seeking to scale and is aiming at accelerated growth. The company should be thinking big and should be looking at getting to a market leadership position.
We are geography agnostic. We believe that high-end talent is truly global and therefore needs to be accessed from wherever they are – else we would be sub-optimal for our client.
We do CXO level hiring across different functions like Business leadership, Engineering, Product, Operations, Finance, HR, Marketing, Sales. We have identified Transformational Leaders in every one of these functions for our clients over the last 10 years. – the common thread that runs across the different functional hiring is innovation and change leadership.
We, particularly like to work with clients in industries that are in the midst of disruption; industries where new business models and new regrouping of players will happen.
We help you hire Transformational Leaders. Our expertise is in understanding the business challenge/opportunity at hand, drawing the contours of the skills that need to be brought in, figuring where/which places such skills are available, identifying potential candidates, evaluating them and then working with our clients to get them on-board.
Transactional hiring refers to hiring where you bring in a recruiter to fill a specific role. The engagement lasts for 3-4 months and after that there really is no contact between the recruiter and the client or the candidate. The recruiter has moved on to another client and another assignment.
It is a subset of executive search where you are looking specifically for a Transformational Leader. The clear expectation is that this person will come on-board and bring about a significant change in the function or business that she/he takes over. Typically Transformational Leadership search is undertaken when the company is at an inflection point – and it needs to scale or change its business model because of factors internal and external.
It is exactly what it says – you “retain” a search firm like us to find the executive that you need for a specific open position in your company or board. You retain us by paying for our time typically with a retainer. Once you have retained us, we will devote time and effort exclusively to identify, evaluate and bring the set of best possible candidates in front of you. It is called executive search because such a model is right only for critical roles where you need to make sure that you have looked far and wide before zeroing down on the right person.
So much of hiring success depends on matching expectations correctly, both from the candidate and employer side. Sometimes the candidate is expecting a lot of support from peers and existing team, which may not be forthcoming if she does not fit in well culturally.
Strong organizations survive ups and downs and sustain through economic cycles. They also result in growth that is steady and organic. Many companies today, decide that they need to focus on growth to the exclusion of everything else. However this leads to numerous hiring mistakes and to an organization that is shaky. The first storm on the horizon blows the company away.
Traditional executive hiring is all about “Star hiring”. It is all about getting people who have already made a name for themselves and have established a personal brand. These candidates find it hard to be truly transformational as they have a lot to lose. So they are often looking for employers with similar profiles to their current ones, who will give them a bigger role and a bigger compensation. The executive recruiter gets them to the discussion table and facilitates the negotiation process. This is why every time such a person is hired; the event is followed by a flurry of media noise about the size of compensation offered!
Transformational hiring by nature does not lend itself to this approach. Typical transformational candidates are hidden below the surface, as they are busy executives on a tough change assignment, working with their heads down. To identify them, and then attract their interest, needs a different approach. It needs focus; it needs the recruiter to have the right message going beyond compensation and brand name. This is only possible if the recruiter believes and internalizes the change process that the client is embarking on. It only happens when the recruiter has a strong network within this specific community built over a period of time. This does not lend itself to the transactional, “fly-in, fly-out” mode,that traditional executive search works in. What is needed is a more long-term, multi-year, organization sculpting, exercise that can only be done with exclusive focus, and investment of time.
Talent, especially at the leadership level, is very mobile. It is not restricted to one geography. While we do accept and understand this, it is harder to apply it in our actual hiring unless we have lived it – that is, we as executive recruiters stop identifying ourselves with a specific geography.
Retained search starts with Clients. Once we have a search assignment on-hand, we start looking for the right candidate. She/he may come from their existing network or from outside. But we manage to find them and get them to the discussion table. This becomes possible because we understand exactly what the candidate will be looking for and why. We research extensively to build a list of potential candidates whom we want to target. The next critical step is to hone the right message to ensure that the right candidates get attracted to the role for the right reasons. After seeing and evaluating multiple candidates we will pick the top 2 or 3 to present to the client. We work with the client to smoothen the process upto the time that an offer is made and accepted. Many a times, this process will involve getting executives, Board, investors from the client side to align their expectations.
We typically nurture and build communities of a specific kind of candidates rather than build a database.. In earlier days, this used to happen via informal gathering at golf courses, at networking events and the like, and was mostly restricted to physical networks. Now, with social networks, and geographic spread going beyond a few large cities such as New York/SFO/London, the approach is changing. For instance, we work actively to supplement our physical network with a strong virtual network of Transformational Leaders, transcending geographies, based more on our common approach to leadership and the viewpoint that businesses need to think differently today.
While finding executives is tough, finding transformational ones is like finding diamonds in the rough. They are a small microcosm and are very often hidden in the general pool. To find them, you need to know what distinguishes them and, therefore, the signs that will lead you to them. Second, you need to talk their language, which means you need to have a very deep understanding of the client business and why the opportunity is going to be transformational. Exclusive focus has enabled us get better and better at spotting the right candidates and also engaging with them in a meaningful way.
We look for clients who want to hire differently; who know that they have to think differently about the kind of people they need in critical roles if they want different results. So these are companies at an inflection point – they are looking to scale big, they are effecting a turn-around, or they need to reinvent themselves.
The CEO, Founder, Board, Chief People Officer, and Executive level leaders with a mandate to shake up things.
People who want to change the world! We look for candidates who are entrepreneurial, are comfortable in a chaotic environment, and strong people managers.
There are definitions galore on the web, but what we have seen from our experience is that Transformational Leaders have several of the following personality traits:
You should do a Search only for positions that have a “make or break” impact on the company’s future. In these cases, you want to research, think, analyze every possible option before you finalize a candidate. These are positions where it should typically be more about asking yourself “why should I say NO to this candidate” and not about “Why should I say YES to this candidate?”
There is a point in every organization’s life when doing more of the same will not suffice. This could be because
We have been around since ’80s and have seen multiple economic cycles, which has equipped us with the ability to take a sneak peek into the future, transcend borders and functions.
Strong candidates, with a great track record of doing, are willing to listen if they feel that they are talking to somebody who knows the business, industry and the challenges. We only take up clients when we buy into their vision. Once we do that, we put in a lot of effort initially, to learn to articulate your USP the way you would do it yourself. Our passion for, and knowledge about our client, is what makes it possible for us to attract the right type of candidates to talk.
We don’t see our job as “Sourcing”. We play a very critical role in defining the specs of the candidate we want to bring on-board, what should she/he have done, where will she/he be currently, what will she/he be looking for?
We believe in doing extensive reference checks before recommending a candidate for an offer. We understand, and appreciate, the criticality of maintaining utmost discretion and confidentiality while doing so, as the candidate is still “employed” at that time, and would not want the word to get out that he is looking at alternate opportunities. It is truly a tight-rope walk, and we know how to do this.
We would like to let our clients speak for us on this. Please do visit the Testimonials section on our website – https://www.anupartha.com/customer-testimonials/
We are very selective about the assignments we work on, and we are happy to measure ourselves by the impact our hiring has made rather than the number of hires we have done. Typical numbers are a couple dozen searches per year.
We are not one of the Big X! But then, we don’t believe size defines how much we can do. After all, we are living in a world where Instagram was built with 15 engineers! We ensure that we can deliver before we take up any assignment. And our track record, and our customers will vouch for how well we do that.
Today, more than at any other time in the history of business world, it has become critical to hire Transformational Leaders because:
We are happy to accept stock once we decide that you are a startup we want to work with. Convince us!
We first spend time to understand and articulate how differently the function should be done. For instance,Digital Marketing has clearly changed the way marketing is done in many industries, and opened up different possibilities even in the B2B world where marketing used to take a back seat. Similarly, HR is changing dramatically – organizations are moving towards flatter structures, performance management is giving way, parental-leave concept is changing, and talent acquisition has become a war – with every company wanting data scientists, for instance! There is a need to rethink what we are looking for in leaders. You get the drift… Once we know what we are looking for, our research team kicks in, and our network delivers.
What matters to us is whether the candidate has the appetite to take risks and bet on a different future. People who walk this talk, typically have a track record that shows up when we do our research. However, they are very choosy and will respond only to the right message – “are we calling to present something unique which excites them?”. Since we ally with their thinking, we know how to get the message through, once we find them through our research…
In today’s digital world, “playing golf with candidates” has been supplanted by ‘connecting virtually’. We have built our community painstakingly by using social media, conventional networking, word-of-mouth, and by exclusively focusing on Transformational Leaders. Our candidates find us because they are aligned with our philosophy, and want to belong to our community of Transformational Leaders. The world is,indeed, very small, and people know people-like-themselves across geographies, and they refer us gladly for the message we carry and its appeal to change makers.
The big difference is in how we think about organizations. We believe that the millennial organizations will be geographically distributed, flatter, and with technology expertise at the core of their functioning. Therefore hiring will necessarily have to get diversified – leaders will come from different geographies, different industries and different skill sets, which are not necessarily there today within the organization.
If you want to bring about a real change in your organization, don’t you need a hiring partner who brings a fresh approach to the type of leaders you bring in? How else will you start changing?
We believe that we are charting a new approach to search. Does that say it all?
We are geography agnostic. Our location is determined by our network, which transcends borders, and connects Transformational Leaders wherever they are.
Yes. Agree completely. You need to just post a status update and you will get candidates, especially if you are known and doing well. But sourcing works when you know exactly what you are looking for, and believe me, this is often the most difficult part. It is easier if you just want to continue on a pre-determined steady path. But if you want to change, or are looking for steep growth, then it is up in the air, and you need to have a partner with experience working with you to define the contours of the desired candidate well. Post that, you have to make sure you have accessed the right candidates, especially those who are not actively looking out – again something that a good hiring partner can do better. Finally, getting the selected candidate on-board happens more smoothly when you have somebody working with you to iron out all the kinks.
Yes, we will be there with you.. We proudly proclaim that every one of our clients is referenceable. Almost every one of our clients has come to us through word-of-mouth reference. The big Search firms whose reputation and brand name are probably bigger than yours, may possibly be able to wash their hands off, but we surely cannot!
We have been on your side of the table, and we know what you mean. We have the luxury of not behaving transactionally, as we are a boutique search firm and we do not have to chase any numbers. Our objective is to show impact that a good hire can have over the long run. So, we seek to stay in touch with clients, and candidates, over the longer term, so that we can measure the impact, learn and use the learnings over our successive hirings.
Of course, you should spread the word around! But, you never hire us to source candidates. In fact we will also tap your network and every other well wisher’s network. You are hiring us to go beyond your network, and discover people whom you would never have considered.
That’s a great place to be. Congratulations! This may also mean that you will get every star in the firmament wanting to work for you. You must beware that this will obscure the “diamonds in the rough” – the candidates who are actually doing a great job and are too busy to look out. These are the people we would help you to hire. And these are the people you need, to build a sustainable organization that is not just the flavor of the day.And remember, the cost of a wrong leadership hire is even higher when you are a fast growing startup!
Yes. We can hire better for you when the time comes if we eat, breathe, and live your story. How well we do this is directly proportional to how long we have known you.
Yes. Opportunities do not come when you are looking for one. Keeping in touch with us will help keep you updated on the exciting stuff happening in the world, and open your eyes to possibilities even in your current place of work. One way is to subscribe to our newsletter to be in the know.