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Unintended Consequences

02/15/2017 10.46 EST

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The life sciences sector has continuously been one of our most robust practice areas at Salveson Stetson Group. We regularly perform searches for pharmaceutical and bio tech companies of all sizes to help them find their newest executives. Although we normally work with these organizations to recruit talent across multiple functions, there’s one specific group of people on my mind today: scientific and research professionals.   I have always described the research and development professionals we recruit as “citizens of the world.” They are highly degreed, often holding both Ph.D. and M.D. degrees, and usually have been employed and educated in several countries. While we may find these people in different places across the globe, they are all connected through the common goal of identifying new therapies for various diseases. Their conferences may look like United Nations meetings, but their focus is not on where they were born or educated; it is on treating one of hundreds of diseases that still baffle and torment the human race.   Through our work in the life sciences sector, we’ve collaborated closely with these exceptional people for many years and have formed great relationships. However, over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a change in their spirits that we’ve never experienced before. They have become cautious – even fearful – about joining an American company. When discussing relocation, they show even more hesitation. The reason for their concern is obvious; the announcement of our new President’s travel ban from a...

“Hut, Hut, Hike!” Five Must-Have Leadership Qualities to Call Plays on and off the Field

12/15/2016 10.12 EST

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With the end of the year quickly approaching; another exciting time lies right around the corner: the NFL playoffs. As many of us around the country begin assessing how our favorite teams stack up against the rest of the pack; head coaches and players will review if they had done enough to secure a position in the playoffs for a chance to bring home the coveted Lombardi trophy.   Whether you’re on the field or in the office, all teams need quality leadership to achieve their goals. So, how do the leaders who call and execute the plays during a game match up to the leaders calling the shots in the workplace? Here are five traits both have in common:   Ability to “Call Audibles” – To be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, a player must be able to assess the opposing team’s defense and adjust plays accordingly. At the conference room table and in the general workforce, the best leaders demonstrate agility to assess and adjust a business plan as needs and environments change.   Ability to Stand Tall in the Face of Pressure – Regardless of the team, all quarterbacks experience a large amount of pressure. The QBs who can remain calm and deliver a great pass, all while facing the opposing line backers, are the most likely to secure another first down. Just like those quarterbacks, business leaders who stand tall in the face of deadlines, unexpected challenges, and crises will...

Moving Ahead in the HR Field

10/12/2016 08.53 EST

HR leaders not only need to be insightful in the most progressive HR practices, but they also need to understand the business in order to effectively contribute as a member of the executive team.
Moving Ahead in the HR Field

Success does not come to those who wait. Make sure to volunteer to serve on committees or projects, especially if it involves cross-functional teams. You will continue to learn, build relationships, and get noticed.

Serving as a key member of a human resources team can be a rewarding career path. If you are focused on the business and support its growth or changes, you will be ahead of the curve. ...

Lessons Learned from 20 Years in Executive Search

08/25/2016 01.53 EST

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You can’t be in the executive recruiting business as long as I have and not glean a few pieces of information that others might find at least somewhat helpful. So, besides the fact that many of the dinosaurs in my business didn’t even start to use email until well into the 2000s, here are a few observations on 20 years in executive search.   Your client doesn’t want you to tell them what they want to hear; they want you to tell them what they need to hear. There are way too many “yes-men” and “yes-women” in our business.  This is because some are scared of losing business, some don’t know enough to advise their clients when they are moving down the wrong path, and some simply don’t care. When a white guy hires a white guy to fill a job, he will usually fill it with another white guy. Speaking as a white guy, I believe that our industry will not improve our ability to bring our clients diverse candidates until we become more diverse ourselves. Candidates rarely think an interview goes badly. I don’t know if it’s the candidates’ lack of self-awareness or interviewers being polite, but the large majority of candidates believe their interviews went great, regardless of how they really went, and are shocked when they find they’re not moving forward in a search. Most companies are horrible at hiring great talent. I wrote this blog almost four years ago and very little...

Why We Still Exist

06/27/2016 03.48 EST

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When Sally Stetson and I started our firm 20 years ago we were full of excitement, ambition and more than a little trepidation about the path ahead.  The saying, “We didn’t know what we didn’t know” certainly applied to us, but we were convinced that a highly consultative, responsive approach to executive search – which included a major focus on assessing the cultural fit of candidates – would be a success.  I think it is fair to say that the past 20 years have shown that our belief was correct, and we believe it is even more true today.   When you deliver professional services for a living, there are some things that are always going to be true:   The quality of the people you employ will determine the quality of the work you do for clients – which will directly define your reputation in the marketplace. There is a constant, unrelenting drift toward the commoditization of professional services. As a result, one must always be adding value to service offerings to differentiate from the rest of the pack.   The other truism in retained executive search is that someone is always predicting that you are about to go out of business.   In the late 1990s, as the Internet was on the rise, there was much discussion about whether executive search firms would become obsolete.  We didn’t.  In the ensuing years, most of our clients created sophisticated internal recruitment functions so they could recruit talent...

Crucial Concepts: Tips for the Emerging Professionals of 2016

05/23/2016 03.32 EST

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I remember spending my mornings after graduation glued to my computer screen, repeatedly clicking refresh with the hope of seeing any sort of positive update. I wasn’t tracking fantasy football stats, nor was I waiting excitedly for a delivery notification from Amazon. Instead, I was compulsively checking my inbox, eager to hear back from potential employers.   While graduating college is an exciting venture, it can also be a confusing and stressful time in our lives. Although Bloomsburg University prepared us to meet the challenges of our respective disciplines head-on, many of us found that establishing our careers can be trickier than we initially thought.   During my own journey navigating the job market for the first time, I learned a few crucial concepts that helped me pave the way to the beginning of my career. Remember these tips when you start your job search:   Call yourself an emerging professional rather than a recent college graduate. This title allows you to highlight your post-graduation status without calling attention to any inexperience. In addition, it engages you to think dynamically about how your accomplishments differentiate yourself from the rest of your competition. It’s crucial to stand out amongst a sea of other applicants, especially when you’re new to the industry.   Be open to different career options. Although you may have studied one specific subject area in school, many of the skills you learned are applicable in a wide variety of industries. For example – just because...

Career Development Tips – The Secret is `F.O.A.M.’

04/14/2016 11.45 EST

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Picture this: you’re sitting among an audience filled with employees of all ages, waiting for a career development seminar to start. The seminar begins with a speaker, who opens his presentation by exclaiming, “The secret to successful career development is … F.O.A.M.,” before spraying an entire can of shaving cream on the podium in front of him. While the reactions from the audience may vary from nervous laughter to frantically finding paper towels, there’s one thing in common: the speaker has their full attention. It’s now time to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget – why the acronym F.O.A.M. is a great key for developing a fruitful career.   Throughout the years, I’ve used this demonstration in many career development presentations to illustrate how F.O.A.M. can help one establish a flourishing career. Whether you’re just joining the workforce or you’re a C-suite executive, these four letters can help you advance in your profession:   F.O.A.M.   Fitness: As evidenced by the many articles and books published on fitness, most of us want to be as healthy and in shape as possible. However, getting to that level of fitness takes dedication and high energy, two qualities that are difficult to maintain on a daily basis. These attributes give people the drive to achieve their goals every day, whether it’s sticking to a diet or reaching a new personal record at the gym.   When it comes to the workplace, mental fitness, or “learning agility,” is just as...

Can We All Just Get Along?

03/08/2016 09.50 EST

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Civility – its formal definition is politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. Have you noticed the lack of civility getting worse by the day? I know I have. Some examples I’ve observed recently include presidential candidates verbally attacking one another, incessant road rage at all hours of the day, bullying on social media and colleagues or friends sending emails with a nasty, abrasive tone. Need I say more?   Stress can lead to negative actions and consequences, eventually taking a toll on how we interact with each other. With this pressure constantly surrounding us, how can we learn to manage it in our professional and personal environments?   I am not an expert on civility, nor do I think I have all of the answers. However, I am a self-proclaimed optimist, and some solutions stick out to me because I think in positive terms. Based on my experience, here are some easy ways to deal with negative stress through civility:   Think twice before you speak. As our mothers taught us, if you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t say it at all. If you are tired, stressed or just annoyed, don’t react right at that moment. Walk away and give yourself some time to process the situation. By taking a break, your response will almost always be more measured and level-headed. As the saying goes, “kill them with kindness.” Nasty comments or actions become elevated when you rise to the bait that a...

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

02/04/2016 01.02 EST

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The digital age has truly become a playground for the recruiting industry in terms of our ability to find information. Pre-internet, there was an entire research industry dedicated to providing recruiting agencies with background information on potential candidates, including names, ages and a sliver of insight into what those people did for a living. It was a lengthy and expensive process. Today, as a skilled research amateur, I can personally find equivalent information in a concerted hour or two in front of my computer, and often for free.   We are all out there: our professional information can be found on LinkedIn, our personal lives on Facebook, our opinions crystallized on Twitter, our wants and desires on Pinterest, and our biases anonymized (sometimes badly) on reddit and 4chan. Whitepages will tell ages and marriage details, while Instagram makes birthdays and anniversaries clear. And, if you think Snapchat isn’t data mining your information, I’d say you’re naïve. It’s all out there for anyone with the time and inclination to look. This is a recruiter’s playground.   I’ve outlined in a previous blog how digital access to all of this information has made recruiters lazy. That’s because a large preponderance of professionals in our industry don’t go much beyond exploiting this access to contact information. They become direct email purveyors, spamming inboxes with undifferentiated messaging to the same effect and results of a credit card campaign. However, there’s a small subset of search professionals who really know how to...

Predictions for 2016

01/13/2016 09.23 EST

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Most people spend the beginning of the year trying to keep the New Year’s resolutions they’ve embraced alive until at least the end of the month. Because most of us fail at this endeavor – including me – I’ve decided to take a pass on New Year’s resolutions for 2016 and share my predictions for what will happen in the coming year instead. And, to demonstrate the degree of my misguided confidence, I promise to report back next January on my batting average.   Here we go.   The US stock market will go up, down and sideways. However, it will have almost no correlation to the health of our economy and will leave us with the impression that the people and institutions that make the markets move have all of the judgement, patience and emotional maturity of a spoiled 13-year-old. Approximately 50 percent of the country will awake on November 2nd completely panicked and appalled by the voter’s choice for our 45th President. The Republic will survive. I will meet with over 100 executives in transition as a favor to a client, friend or other member of my network. Every one of the 100 executives will tell me they are being completely ignored by the people they know in large global search firms and will express genuine gratitude that I took the time to meet with them. When those 100 executives eventually find employment and need a retained search firm to help build their team, 97...