Case Study

Quantum Growth
Plan Achieved

Position: Vice President of Sales
Industry: SAAS
Company: Halogen Software Solutions

Challenge

Back in 2005, Ottawa’s Halogen Software was looking for a Vice-President of sales to boost its fleet of employee performance management software products. After spending nine months advertising in expensive media outlets and conducting countless interviews with various candidates, the company realized it was doing it wrong. “Of course, we had some bites,” said HR Director Stanley Janus. “(But) the bites weren’t what we were looking for. 

“We finally got to the realization, ‘we have to go outside,’” he said. The amount of time and money they’d spent trying to find the perfect candidate were becoming a serious drain, and not just on the HR director. “This was a direct report to the president, so of course he wanted to see who potentially was coming on board. Every time I interviewed someone and passed him up the line, he then spent a bit of time with them.” 

It was all becoming a bit too much. So, after hearing about PerryMartel International’s David Perry at the local Human Resources Association, he looked him up.

strategy

Janus says he knew it was the right decision almost immediately. “The thing that struck us most,” he said, “and the predominant reason why we chose David is that David listened, but he also gave us ideas. He really seemed to get the grasp of what we were looking for. There was an interesting comfort feel.”

After undergoing an intensive, research-based search that matched not only the candidate’s skills to the opportunity’s technical requirements, but also personality to corporate culture, David presented the first candidate to the hiring authority. This was what David calls his “benchmark candidate.”

“The first candidate he brought in, after we interviewed him, David came back to us and said, ‘Okay. I’m going to use him as our benchmark. What does he not have that I need to get you guys, and what does he have that I have to make sure the other candidates have?’”

Two candidates later, Halogen had found its next VP of sales.

results

David accomplished in three months what Halogen hadn’t achieved internally in nine: Find the perfect candidate, one who translated into record-breaking quarter-over-quarter sales, and who in just one year helped grow the company’s client base from under 400 to close to 1,000. “The amount of time and money and effort that we had put forth (during the internal search) was unbelievable,” said Janus, adding that Halogen also hired David to find its next customer care director. 

“We got the VP of sales in, gave him what our mandate was, and told him to go for it. David picked the winner!”

“sales have been record- breaking, quarter after quarter. The number of new customers we’ve gotten has just been phenomenal. When he came on board, we were a little under 400 customers. We are now close to 1,000 one year later.”

-Stanley Janas, Director of HR

David Perry

Peter Clayton from TotalPicture.com interviews Halogen director of Human Resources a year following the hire of a new Vice President of Sales.

Hi. This is Peter Clayton. Joining me today is Stanley Janus, the Director of Human Resources for Halogen Software, based in beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Stan, thanks for talking with us today.       

You’re quite welcome.

Tell us a little bit about Halogen. What does your company do?

We are a software developer for employee performance management. We currently have a fleet of products for appraisals, compensation, and succession planning, as well as surveys.

Back in 2005, you were looking for a senior executive to join your team, a V.P. of Sales; a rather important position for most companies. How did you go about conducting this search?
 

We started off with the usual “Let’s advertise for it. Let’s put it out on Monster. Let’s see what’s available and go from there.” Of course, we had some bites. Then the bites weren’t what we were looking for, so we got into a more aggressive advertising mode. 

Over the period of about nine months, when we finally saw that there just wasn’t any way we were getting the results we wanted – yes, we were getting lots of candidates, but we weren’t getting the right candidate – we did an ad across Canada in the career section of all of the large papers that you would normally associate with executives reading. 

Again we got quite a few names and quite a few interviews, but they just weren’t what we were looking for.

Peter Clayton

I would imagine this was eating up quite a bit of your time.

Stanley Janus

Not just my time, but our president’s, as well. This was a direct report to the president, so of course he wanted to see who potentially was coming on board. Every time I interviewed someone and passed him up the line, then he spent a bit of time with them. Then, of course, you get into “Maybe this person, so let’s go to the next step. Let’s get references done.” 

We had a psychologist do a profile on the candidates, as well, so that took time and money. We finally got to the realization, “We have to go outside. We cannot do that efficiently and cost-effectively on our own.”

Peter Clayton

So, you went outside and you hired my friend, David Perry at Perry-Martel International. How did you learn about David, and how did you end up using his services for this search?

Stanley Janus

I had heard about David through the local Human Resources Association here. The feedback was quite positive, so I got a hold of him. I was comfortable with the way he was approaching our search. 

The next step was arranging a meeting with our president. The thing that struck us the most, and the predominant reason why we chose David was that David listened, but he also gave us ideas. He really seemed to get the grasp of what we were looking for. There was an interesting comfort feel. 

As it turned out, what we couldn’t do in nine months, David did in under three. We had a good range of candidates. David made sure that he presented candidates to us that met our requirements, not just from a technical point of view, but also on our corporate culture point of view, which is very important to us.

Peter Clayton

That is so important with so many companies; I think with every company. There has to be a cultural fit for something to work. Obviously, a Director of Sales is a very important position and, culturally, that individual really has to click with your organization.

Stanley Janus

When you think that back in 2005, when we were a third of the size we are now, bringing in someone as a V.P. of Sales and basically giving them the mandate to grow that area, the cultural fit was extremely important.

Peter Clayton

I guess, since your company is three times the size it was in 2005, the person you ultimately ended up hiring through Perry- Martel really has done an exceptional job.

Stanley Janus

Very much so. Our sales have been record-breaking, quarter after quarter. The number of new customers we’ve gotten has just been phenomenal. When he came on board, we were a little under 400 customers. We are now close to 1,000.

Peter Clayton

That’s terrific! How many candidates did David actually present to Halogen for this position?         

Stanley Janus

David presented three to us.

Peter Clayton

That saved you a tremendous amount of time itself: instead of having to wade through 600 résumés from Monster, to have three pre-qualified candidates presented to you.

Stanley Janus

Very much so. Here’s the other thing I liked about David. The first candidate he brought in, after we interviewed him, David came back to us and said, “Okay. I’m going to use him as our benchmark. What does he not have that I need to get for you guys, and what does he have that I have to make sure the other candidates have?”          

Peter Clayton

That’s a pretty unusual approach.       

Stanley Janus

It is. It’s very much so.

Peter Clayton

Then you really start getting into, “Here’s this one candidate that we liked. He certainly met the qualifications, but wasn’t quite right.”

Stanley Janus

Exactly. So, when the other candidates were brought forward, they were as close to a perfect match as we could have hoped for.          

Peter Clayton

This was all in a period of two or three months?

Stanley Janus

Correct.

Peter Clayton

After you had spent nine months.

Stanley Janus

Nine months, right; and the amount of money and effort that we had put forth was unbelievable.

Peter Clayton

Well, sure. Then, for nine months, you were without a Director of Sales to build your organization.          

Stanley Janus

Right. Also, our president was handling that role in the interim, but he had other things to do. We got the V.P. of Sales in, gave him what our mandate was, and told him to go for it. David picked the winner!

Peter Clayton

That’s great. So, I would guess that if you have a need for a senior executive in the future, you’d probably be calling David up instead of going through nine months of frustration.

Stanley Janus

We actually have already. He did another search for us, and now we have engaged him to find marketing individual that will be a second in command.

Peter Clayton

Stan, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us today. It’s been great having the chance to meet you over the phone.

Stanley Janus

Thank you, Peter.

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