Category Archives: Blog

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September 8, 2016

Landing the First CEO Job

Ceo IconMany up and coming leaders aspire to become a CEO. Landing that first CEO job is tough, and I’m often asked for advice on how to do it.

It’s a tricky question. In my own work on CEO searches, it’s unusual to see companies willing take a risk on someone who’s never held the top job. Most boards of directors want a low risk candidate who has already been a CEO. Read More

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September 6, 2016

What Does It Take To Run A Subsidiary?

bigstock-World-globe-vector-illustratio-28933154In the last several years I’ve done a number of searches for presidents of the US subsidiaries of foreign companies. These jobs present several special challenges. In no particular order, here they are:

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September 1, 2016

Theranos Appeals Regulatory Sanctions. Good Luck With That.

NEW YORK-APR 21: CEO/founder of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes attendToday’s Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos, the formerly highflying diagnostic startup, plans to appeal the devastating sanctions that were recently imposed by CMS.

Their odds of success are so low that it’s difficult to understand why they bothered. Those who have followed the drama know the full story, and I won’t bother to recapitulate it here. Suffice it to say that the company has developed a reputation for viewing federal regulatory agencies with contempt. That’s the business equivalent of pouring gasoline over your head and lighting a match.

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August 30, 2016

The WSJ Says Employers Don’t Care Anymore About Job Hopping. They Are Wrong.

Business frogBack in the 1960s, when my father started as an HR executive at Pfizer, lifetime employment was still common. Hiring managers scrutinized a candidate’s every job change. People with a pattern of many short jobs were considered damaged goods and were automatically eliminated from contention.

50 years later things have changed, but not nearly as much as the Wall Street Journal’s Joanne Lublin claims in her article entitled Job-Hopping Executives No Longer Pay Penalty.

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August 29, 2016

Family Matters: Relocating Candidates

FamilyRelocating candidates is expensive and risky. As a general rule, it’s better avoided unless absolutely necessary.

That said, there are lots of circumstances where relocation is required. If the talent you need can’t be sourced in the local market, there is no choice but to look farther afield.

In my experience, the single biggest risk comes from a candidate’s family. Family dynamics are always complicated, and it’s an area where hiring managers and recruiters have limited insight. In fact, sometimes I think the candidates themselves have less insight into their own families than they would like to believe.

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August 26, 2016

Automated Video Interviews: Another Bad Recruiting Idea

bigstock--122207921Last week the Wall Street Journal reported on a new phenomenon, the automated video interview. Sadly, this terrible idea appears to be catching on.

In an automated video interview, candidates provide video responses to questions presented by a computer. Later, the responses are reviewed by humans, and the best candidates are passed on to hiring managers for further screening.

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January 12, 2016

Need Investors? Look East

Shanghai Skyline At Night, China.Last month I learned yet another prominent venture fund will be throwing medical devices overboard in its quest for higher returns in biotech. It’s more evidence that medical devices continues to be shunned by most American venture capital firms.

The exit of traditional investors from medical devices has created a vacuum, and recently I’ve seen a lot of evidence that Chinese investors are trying to fill it. I’ve crossed paths with three new venture firms in the last 60 days that are funded largely or entirely with Chinese money. The partners I met all struck me as smart, sophisticated, and refreshingly humble.

I asked one of them why his limited partners want to invest in US medical device companies.

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October 27, 2015

Ignore the Headlines

Bad Weather AheadLately the media is painting a particularly inaccurate portrait of the economy.

If one were to rely only on newspaper headlines and TV news, one could be forgiven for thinking the economy is on the verge of calamity. They report that China is collapsing, consumers aren’t spending money, and the outstanding employment numbers aren’t all that they seem. Viewed through the distorting prism of the media, we live in a glass half-empty world.

Fortunately, we can rely on our own eyes and ears to form opinions about what’s happening, and what I’m seeing doesn’t conform to any of the gloomy scenarios in the media. Read More

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August 26, 2015

5 Principles for Recruiting Success

MasteringTheArtofRecruitingOver those years, I’ve identified five principles that guide my recruiting work. I share them here for two reasons. First, they contain a hopeful message that should be encouraging to anyone who is going through the hard work of improving their hiring results, or is thinking about starting on that path. Second, keeping these principles in mind as you are recruiting will help you stay on track when it feels like you’re losing your way. Read More

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July 13, 2015

What Attracts Top Talent?

MasteringTheArtofRecruitingI am an enthusiastic (though not very skilled) fly fisherman. Anglers know fish are very selective when feeding, and the biggest fish are the pickiest of all. They’ve grown bigger by virtue of their superior judgment—they’re not easily fooled, and they won’t bite just anything. At any moment they will be feeding on a short list of items, usually a particular species of insect in a specific phase of its life cycle. If you don’t have what they want, presented to them in exactly the right way, you will work for hours with no result. You’ll have a nice day on the river or lake, but you won’t catch anything. Read More

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