Attracting, selecting, and retaining top talent is a challenge for many businesses. Join long-time executive search professional Scott Peterson, alongside Steve Yakesh, President of Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search at one of the leading executive search firms, to discuss insights and techniques to assist companies to achieve their best results. If you’re an executive leader looking for advice on hiring the best talent for your company, you’ll want to hear this advice from these industry experts.
Steve Yakesh | President, Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search
As President of Direct Hire & Executive Search, Steve Yakesh leads Versique’s award-winning permanent placement division with more than 20 years of experience. Additionally, he guides strategy for Versique’s twelve practice areas, including IT, HR, Finance & Accounting, Engineering & Operations, Sales, CPG, Digital Marketing, Executive Retained Search, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Family Owned and Demand Generation.
Scott Peterson | Vice President, Executive Leadership Search
Scott Peterson leads the Retained Executive Search division at Versique as the Senior Practice Director. In his role, Scott fills critically-important senior level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO, COO. Scott has over 20 years of experience in executive recruiting. Additionally, Scott has also served on the Board of Directors the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, Medina Golf and Country Club, as well as several youth sports organizations.
|Get ready for your weekly dose of talent strategies and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
|Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh and this show is for business owners, board members and executives, exploring strategies and tactics to attract, select and retain the very best. If you’re not feeling 100% confident that you have a plan to attract the very best, keep listening, this podcast will help you get there. That said, I’d like to bring in the ever-accomplished Mr. Scott Peterson from Versique Search.
|I haven’t heard that one ever. I mean we’re on episode 19 now. We are very accomplished executive search professionals. When we hit twenty, I guess I can be considered accomplished.
|Then you would be a tenured. I like that too. Wildly old veteran. All right. So, this one is going to be a candidate edition, so it’s not necessarily specifically for business owners or board members but for executives that might be potentially exploring a new opportunity. So, we’re going to go through the ins and outs of evaluating a new opportunity and we’re going to break it down into two components. One is the intangibles and one is the tangible, which is kind of the compensation, offer, all those things. How do you properly vet that out, right?
|Yeah. How are you vet it out and how do you how do you vet it out and how do you weigh those pieces to it? There could be less base compensation, but the culture is amazing growth opportunities and so we’ll get dive into the more granular detail of what that might look like and there are things to just be aware of as you’re evaluating an opportunity.
|Perfect and then we’ll wrap up with if you do decide to accept a new offer, we will walk through the resignation process and what are some best practices and how to make it a less stressful situation, not only for you but your current organization, assuming you want to leave there on good terms and make a smooth transition. So we’ll come to that at the end. All right, so Scott, let’s look at the, the intangibles first, because the offer we’ve covered that in some other podcasts, but we will come at that from a different lens. I think personally all the intangibles like who you’re working with, the role itself, culture, values, pace, all those things we have talked about. But it had to be a personal choice and like you mentioned earlier you have to weight those. How does one person go about just started in this process? Although it might be because they got a call from an executive search professional like yourself and they weren’t even thinking, but now they got this opportunity. Righ
|Well, I think it’s important just to do some self-reflection on that and, and what I mean by that is if I’m interested in an opportunity or hearing about something new, there must be something about my current role, company, environment, where the company is going, where it’s not going, the size of it, the opportunity for growth, all those things. So why did I take the phone call to hear about a new opportunity? If you haven’t done that and you’re just trying to kick tires, I’d recommend don’t do that. I mean, if you really are serious about hearing about an opportunity to really list out those things that are important to you, and so you have something to evaluate this new opportunity. So, if I want to work at a company that is growing and doing acquisitions, the company I am currently at is not going there, what does the new opportunity have to offer in that way? What are those key things that I want in my next opportunity or new company?
|Sure. Well, and I think you must look at it in a couple of ways. Is your current situation kind of toxic or stale or just not helping you get to where you eventually want to be? Are you running away from something that’s not satisfactory or not ideal or are you running towards something that is that much better? Because they may be in a great job working for a great company that is growing but what about this new opportunity is that much better or that much more intriguing.
|We use the word, what is so compelling about that new opportunity? Right. We this team in previous podcasts. So again, evaluate each of these opportunities for what it is. It allows me to get promoted into a position that I look at my current company and see the person above me has only been here for a couple of years. They’re new into their career in terms of that position. Probably not anywhere for me to go. So, you’re not running away from that company, you’re running towards a promotional opportunity.
|Yeah, absolutely. That is a great example. Let’s say a random recruiter like me or you or just someone in your network brings an opportunity forward, how do you unpack that opportunity? I mean, do you first look at what do I love about my current role? What do I wish was different? Start there or do you listen to what the other opportunity is?
|Personally it’s sort of a simultaneous equation, right? Because if I wasn’t actively looking and I got a call from a recruiter, I really haven’t analyzed my current situation until maybe after that phone call. So I’m going to listen to the recruiter and he’s going to list all of the things why this is a compelling opportunity for me to look at. Now I must evaluate that with what I currently think about where I am currently at. So if you’re actively looking, I think you’ve probably already done that in your current company. If you’re not, you’ll probably do it after you heard about this first one. So then you’re in a better position to evaluate if that opportunity does come all the way down to the interview process and you want that job, that company, assuming you get the compensation in the right spot or all those other things that you’re looking for there and you’ve validated that they are there and available for you.
|So what if you were talking to a potential candidate and they loved his or her job, but the only reason they were interested in your opportunity was because of the compensation, what would you recommendation or what guidance would you give them? Oh, that’s a tough one, because a lot of times leaving just for compensation is probably the wrong answer. I would say 99.99% of the time it’s the wrong answer. There’s something at their current opportunity or current job that, are they being compensated correctly? Well, maybe not, so we can help them. We help them evaluate where are they currently at? Is that market for the size company, the type of company, is it private versus public? All those things. So, we can help guide them to where they can level set their expectations and where compensation should or could be. And for sure there’s companies that underpay and in a base compensation, but there might be an ESOP component. There might be some of these other things that they’re not valui
|So if you had to kind of put maybe some large buckets of like, I don’t know whether it’s three or four or maybe six categories, what do you typically recommend to candidates that maybe are just evaluating their current situation at the time you call them because you do have an opportunity for them. I mean, is it as simple as the people you’re with, the culture, the current role and scope of responsibilities and compensation? Or is there more of that?
|I think it does come down to those basic four or five, six things. To me if your compensation rate in the right spot from a market perspective, then you’re down to the intangibles. And one of the biggest for me is who do I work with every day? Who do I report to? Who’s on the executive team because you’re going to be spending an awful lot of time with these individuals, right. And so you should enjoy working with them. And if you don’t, then when you evaluate a new opportunity, that’s probably one of your major evaluations is who are the people that I’ll work with and work for? I think that’s one of the biggest components. And then where’s the company going? Is it growing? Is it stagnant? Are they currently at a place that is stagnant, but I want to have some growth because that creates opportunity. It can also create some compensation when it comes down the road as well. Everybody has a personal choice in what is most important to them, but for me, my recommendation is who you work f
|Yeah, and I think it’s only fair to evaluate that every year, every couple of years, because let’s face it, our life situation changes, I mean, early in your career, and at least for me personally, when my kids were young, I specifically didn’t want to be in a role where I was traveling a lot. Whereas once my kids are gone in a way and are in their adult life, guess what, maybe travel might be exciting, so what I wanted 20 years ago versus what I’m going to want in seven, eight years from now is completely different, so there are all those intangibles too.
|Right I think you have to personally have to do that evaluation every three to five years. Most people don’t stay with one company in today’s world and the reasons why they move are just what we’re talking about, right. Things changed in their life or things changed with the company. All of a sudden now your executive team, you don’t believe in them because their ethics are in question or something along those lines. That’s an extreme example, but you have to self-reflect on a continuous basis and don’t do it when you need to find a job, do it when you’re in the job that you like.
|All right, well let’s transition to the more tangible part of evaluating an opportunity, which is the compensation, right? Not one compensation plan is created equal, right? There’s a million different versions. So what advice do you give people as they’re evaluating aspects? I know in other podcast we’ve talked about, you got your base, you got your bonus and you’ve got a long term. I mean are those still the major three and how do you compare one versus a potential?
|Yeah, I mean you must look at all the components and if you’re working with a recruiter, they’re going to be able to guide you to what is going to be the opportunity at the new company. But once you get the offer, how do you evaluate what I currently have and what they are currently offering? The simple side of me says put it on a piece of paper. What’s my base, what’s my annual bonus, what is my typical payout on that annual bonus? Not what I could get paid, but what has it been paying? And same thing with the new offers, right? So it just put them side by side, look at your components and go, okay, what am I giving up from where I’m at to leave, and I will tell you you’re probably giving up something and that typically could be the long term incentive because those are typically tied with staying. So, you have to be look in a lens where you say, I’m giving up years three, four and five of my long-term incentive plan, but remember why you are looking at this new opportunity, why are
|Yup. And again, it comes back to where you are in your personal life as well, because I might be taking a step back in base compensation, which is stability, but there might be high upside. So, there’s always going to be a risk and reward. I haven’t seen a, a compensation plan that 100% guaranteed for anything. Right? So, there’s risk and reward and where are you in your life in that spectrum to take on more risk, to potentially get more reward, or do you need more stability? Right. Yeah. Okay. Well great. Well, let’s assume that all that’s aligned. You’re running towards something that’s better than what you have and the compensation aligns and the risk/reward, all that stuff we just talked about and you’ve mentally, spiritually, emotionally made the decision, I’m moving on and now you have to walk into your boss’s office and resigned. Knowing that you want to make a smooth transition, we don’t want to burn the proverbial bridge, right? So, what recommendations do you have for peop
|Yeah. Well, I’m old school on this one and what that means is you do it professionally and in person. You don’t send an email. Again, in-person followed up with a letter thanking them for the opportunity to work there. Whatever makes sense to say in that letter. And that letter can be an email too. It doesn’t need to be a handwritten letter dropped on the guy’s desk in blue ink. But again, in person with a proper notice that could be anywhere from two weeks to longer. If you’re an executive, you may have an executive agreement that says you have to give a 30-day notice or a 60-day notice because of the critical nature of your position and that allows for a better transition. So, there is some variance there. If the company does not take you two weeks, that is fine, but it is professional to offer it. And the other piece to this that we have touched on in other episodes, counter offers. It is not recommended to accept counter offers. There are a lot of studies and evidence that counter
|Yeah, absolutely and I think if you are going to resign, don’t make that time about why you’re leaving, what is maybe negatively going on in the organization or the flaws that you know all of our companies have. I have yet to work for or hear about a perfect company. We all have out imperfections. It’s about how can I make this a good transition not here is why you’re leaving. You want that meeting to be about how can I make the next two weeks, four weeks, whatever you think is the proper notice, the smoothest transition, there’s always time for that in a potential exit interview if you choose to disclose that information.
|Yeah, that’s a fantastic way to do it because I think it doesn’t create a defensive position of the person you’re resigning to. They don’t try to make excuses of why or Hey, we’ll make all these changes for you, that way the counteroffer sort of doesn’t happen then because they don’t know what to counteroffer you too. So, that’s a really good way to do it.
|Perfect. Well, awesome. This is going to wrap up episode 19. As always, Scott, if any of the want to get ahold of Scott, feel free to look him up on LinkedIn and you can find his contact information on Versique.com and if you liked the podcast and you want to listen to more, feel free to find us on your favorite podcast channel, whether that’s Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google play, iHeart Radio, etc. So, um, again, and a lot of fun, appreciate the insight and we will talk to the listens next week.
|Sounds great. We’ll talk then.
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