Executive Search Case Study – Manufacturing
In this case study, Kevin Donlin from the Minneapolis Star Tribune interviews Equipois’ CEO Eric Golden about working with Perry-Martel on their Vice President of Sales search assignment in Los Angeles California. Read the unedited interview below.
Kevin Donlin: I’m talking today with Eric Golden, President and CEO of Equipois, Inc., a >high tech manufacturing firm from Los Angeles, California. Eric, thanks for joining me today.
Eric Golden: A pleasure.
Kevin: Could you describe Equipois, who you are and what you do?
Eric: Sure. We’re about a five year old company that has developed and exo-skeletal arm technology. What it does it holds objects like tools and parts and allows workers maneuver them as if they are weightless, so the outcome is that it really decreases workplace injuries and boosts productivity.
Kevin: I would imagine the competition for talent in your sector is pretty intense.
Eric: It is. We hire a lot of folks who are either engineers or need to have a lot of experience in robotics and industrial technology areas.
Kevin: So the next obvious question. Your business is in Los Angeles. What made you decide to hire an executive search firm three time zones and nearly 3,000 miles away in Canada’s capitol city?
Eric: It really was a personal reference. One of our board members had worked with David Perry and had really an excellent experience with him. He actually described him as the best interviewer he had ever come across in his life. My board member is a very experienced aerospace executive, and somebody’s opinion I really value. But then I went to a couple of other folks whose opinions I trust and got a few other references and ended up interviewing three or four different firms. I really decided that for the sort of position we are hiring for, David was the top of the heap.
Kevin: So after doing your own due diligence, you chose David Perry who is the managing director, the head Head Hunter, at Perry Martel International. He came up as top of heap for you.
Kevin: So what was the role you were hiring for exactly.
Eric: We were hiring for the VP of Sales. We had really reached the stage of our development where we needed to segment off that role, and it was a critical role for us striving obviously for revenue growth of the entire company. So I involved the board of directors in the hire and we decided to make it recruited position.
Kevin: So what did David do to acquaint himself with your firm and the role that you were trying to fill.
Eric: The first thing he actually did was jump in a plane and come to Los Angeles and spend the better part of a day with me asking a lot of questions about our business, the position, the need, our trajectory, and really covering in a lot of depth, the reasons and requirements for this hire.
Kevin: And how well do you feel he understood the role he was recruiting for?
Eric: I will say that I have worked with a number of recruiters over the years. I have never come across a recruiter who took more time and effort to understand not just our need but the business. He really developed a familiarity with the entire business and our mission. As the process went on, he really seemed to understand a whole lot about who we are and what we are trying to accomplish.
Kevin: What do you feel was different about the Perry Martel approach compared to the other search firms you’ve either worked with or heard about?
Eric: I would say that the first thing that comes to mind is the intensity. David Perry brings to the assignment an intensity that really comes across in recruiting, or frankly anywhere else. He took an extreme personal interest in the success of the search. He did most of the work himself, maybe all of it. David dug in extremely deeply to the candidates, the industry, and everything else to make sure that the search went the way we hoped. Even to the extent of reaching into nearly every company that was relevant to our industry to try to find the right candidates.
Kevin: So you were dealing directly with the boss, basically, who is David Perry. He was taking a personal approach in this, digging deeply, and you found this unique and a fresh approach.
Eric: I did. He is a very talented recruiter and he knows more about his business than anybody I’ve come across. As I said, he took it personally. He made me feel like I was the only search that he was conducting at the time. He really approached it with this intensity that I think really contributed to it being successful.
Kevin: Talking about the search itself. How did he go about finding candidates for the VP of Sales role?
Eric: After he met with me for that day in the beginning, he ended up with an extremely detailed spec for the position. It got to the level of setting up the goals that we expected this person to accomplish years out. It was then paired with the questionnaire the candidates would fill out to provide us with information which was pages long. David did that I later learned to both get the information and see how the candidates reacted to a rigorous assignment like that. The next step was that he came up with a list of candidate companies that were relevant to our search which again really covered the vast majority of relevant companies for us which is robotics and industrial technology. One way or another he reached into nearly all of them to find out who would be a good candidate for us. He spent a huge amount of time talking with candidates, potential candidates, people who might refer experts in the industry. Then he came up with a short list that together we spent a lot of time meeting and interviewing.
Kevin: So it sounds like he was not only helping you fill a position for your immediate need, but he was looking several moves down the board and helping you find a candidate who could stay with you for the long haul.
Eric: He definitely did to the point of thinking through a candidate, who a candidate might hire below them and what order, the skills and resources they brought to that aspect. David just dug deeper than anybody I’ve come across in that role.
Kevin: So David is known for being hands-on with his projects. What role did he play after candidates were identified for this position?
Eric: He spoke to all of them personally. The ones that were decent candidates he spoke to at great lengths to the point that he really proved himself familiar with them. Then he and I in, and in some cases our board members, would interview the finalists extensively. Over the course of several hours, several times each, to get to a finalist. And the finalist was really put through a very rigorous interview with presentations that he had to give and really was given the opportunity to shine or not shine. That lead to our decision.
Kevin: Final question. Would you work with David again and Perry Martel International, and if so, why?
Eric: I would. When it comes to a high stakes hire, I don’t think you can do any better. Our board member was right, that he really is at the top of the pile. I think he is one of, if not the best talented recruiter I’ve ever come across. If there’s a lot on the line, I think David Perry is the man.
Kevin: Eric Golden, President and CEO of Equipois, Inc., thank you very much.
Eric: Thank you.