This week I am presenting a series on hiring in the compliance industry based on interviews I did with Maurice Gilbert, the Managing Partner at Conselium Partners LP. These interviews will be broadcasted on my podcast site, fcpacompliancereport.com, my YouTube channel – FCPA Compliance and Ethics and on iTunes. The first of three podcasts goes up September 1 with the remaining two going up over the next consecutive Tuesdays. Yesterday, I began with Gilbert’s thoughts on working with a company to create a Job Profile and Criteria for hiring a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner. Today, I want look at the sourcing of candidates.
After Gilbert meets with the client, develops the Job Profile and has the client sign off on it; he is almost ready to begin the next step. It is incumbent for Gilbert and his team at Conselium to develop a sourcing strategy to come up with potential candidates. This is where Gilbert’s 12-year plus experience in executive and compliance searches comes into play to make a determination as to where Conselium can find the candidate that meets the professional profile that Gilbert has developed through his meetings with the client.
When discussing a recent CCO search for a pharmaceutical company located in Ohio Gilbert provided an example of how he can take the data points developed with the client and use them to create candidate-sourcing parameters. One of the important criteria for the client was that the candidate needed to be from a company located within Ohio. Gilbert indicated this was a problem because most of the large pharmaceutical companies from which such talent could be sourced are in the north-east corridor: New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. There is also a small cadre of pharmaceutical companies in Chicago.
Parameters defined by clients can make candidate souring difficult. Gilbert noted, “It’s very problematic to recruit an east coast person to Ohio, or anywhere else, for that matter. They’re usually entrenched in the east coast.” To do so, he was required to think creatively by looking beyond the simple requirement for another pharmaceutical CCO or compliance practitioner from Ohio. As Gilbert explained, ““Okay, we have to find somebody who has some roots in the mid-west.” The way we went about this is we thought, “Okay, well we’re going to be very aggressive in our marketing to people presently in Chicago, because that was the closest vicinity, and people that already understand the mid-west culture, and are probably happy to be there. We were very aggressive in trying to recruit people out of Chicago.”
But Gilbert did a deep dive into Conselium’s considerable talent pool. Conselium went back to its entire network of professionals with which it was familiar and “looked at people that may be on the east coast or the west coast, but maybe they went to university in the mid-west, or maybe they have family, that’s where they started, and grew up in the mid-west. We looked for professionals who had some touch point with the mid-west also. Even if they may have been on either coast, let’s say. That was very, very strategic.” Through this process Gilbert and his team were able to recruit another pharmaceutical compliance professional out of Chicago. Moreover, he was able to “visit with and have some very good dialogues with people, let’s say, in New Jersey who went to school in Chicago, or something like that, who were receptive to looking at this opportunity.” Through this strategic use of and planning around the candidate sourcing issue, Gilbert was able to not only find a candidate but also have ongoing dialogues with some other high level and high-ranking pharmaceutical CCOs and compliance practitioners.
I was interested in how Gilbert assesses the area of technical competence in a compliance practitioner. Here is another area where his experience in the area of CCO/executive searches brings a direct benefit to a client. He takes information from the client and pairs it to Conselium’s very large talent pool of candidates, which have usually been prescreened for technical competence. Because of this prescreening, Gilbert can look at candidates who have the appropriate ‘soft skills’ for the position. Gilbert explained further, “As much as 80% of the hiring decision is not based on technical proficiency, but based on these soft skills. Because we represent and are filling very senior level positions, these include, basically, the ability to connect, the executive presence, these type of things. The ability, also, to recruit, and to manage a staff. A great component of our screening of professionals relates to these things. Do they have an executive presence, both physically and when they open their mouth? Do they have the ability to shape and influence others? Because that’s what compliance officers do: they educate, they shape, they influence, then, of course, they have to supervise the staff. We ask questions about how do they go about recruiting staff, and developing staff, things of this nature.”
I was somewhat surprised that once Gilbert and his team at Conselium develop the sourcing strategy, they do not need to articulate that back to the client. At that point, the client has signed off on the Job Profile and, as Gilbert noted, “They just want us to go out and get the right people to review.”
Once Gilbert and his team have developed the strategy their next step is to develop selling points about the position and to refine and articulate what the presentation to a compliance professional will be. Gilbert said that this step is one often not considered by a company but it can take hours of research, to develop attractive talking points to articulate the value proposition of an opportunity. Gilbert explained that “Those selling points will include, among other things, we have to talk about the attractiveness of the location, the city. We have to talk about the attractive features of the company, of the opportunity, of the hiring authority, etc.”
After the development in the presentation points, Gilbert and his team are ready to go to market and start it’s messaging for potential candidates. This step leads to the development of two categories which include a target list of compliance professionals that Conselium believes are potential candidates and the pool of resources they will reach out to for referrals. At this point Gilbert and his team are not certain because, as he noted, “every opportunity is different, and we don’t know even if an individual is interested. We develop what we believe to be a pool of professionals that we know cannot be a possible candidate, but they could be a referral source for us. These are people who may not be actively looking but often know of folks who might know of other CCOs or compliance professionals who are in the market to consider a move.”
With these two pools developed, Gilbert and his team are ready to begin their presentation of the opportunity to the potential candidates, which I will discuss in tomorrow’s post.
Maurice Gilbert may be reached via email at email@example.com.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2015