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How to Manage Executive Transition Through Interim Leadership | S2:E7

  • Episode 7
  • 'Inside Executive Search' Podcast

    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.

    Podcast Transcription

    Intro: 00:02 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.
    Speaker_1: 00:30 Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name’s Steve Yakesh and this podcast is for business owners, board members and executives seeking 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 introduce the ever smart, loving and kind Scott Peterson.
    Speaker_2: 00:57 Wow. Every week you are getting more and more descriptive of me. So very nice.
    Speaker_1: 01:05 Well that’s good because I’m battling a cold today, so you’ve got to bear with me.
    Speaker_2: 01:09 Well this will be a good day because we get to do a little less talking because we do have a special guest today.
    Speaker_1: 01:12 The show must go on. Well, do you want to introduce our second guest to the podcast?
    Speaker_2: 01:15 I would love to do that. Our second guest is Chris Dardis. He leads the Human Resource practice for Versique. Chris is a veteran in that space of human resources and talent management and is going to bring a lot of insights today on how we can help bridge that gap to a great hire. And as we said,
    Speaker_1 01:37 And as we said, well welcome Chris, I stepped on your toes.
    Speaker_3: 01:40 No, thank you guys. I am excited to be here. I know that you guys have done a number of these and they’re well-received. So, I’m flattered that you asked.
    Speaker_1: 01:51 Awesome. Well last week, I’m sure you listened to the podcast, Chris, we introduced the concept which makes a lot of senses, you know, if you have that critical hire, let’s say your CFO, your Head of Human Resources, your Chief Marketing Officer, whatever it may be, surprises you and leaves your organization, we encouraged our listeners last week to make sure just to slow down, run a good process because that’s an impactful hire and don’t just settle and go out there and get great. And sometimes that takes a little bit longer as you know, Chris, but we wanted to bring the listeners to educate them all about how can you bring an interim solution in while you slow down and you do your recruiting process the right way to get that great hire. And you obviously have a tremendous amount of expertise on that. So we wanted to pick your brain.
    Speaker_3: 02:47 Yeah, that’s great. We do see a lot of our clients when the need does arise and they call us, it’s probably about 50% of the time because it’s a planned project, but the other 50% of the time clients will call us in a panic saying, I just lost a leader, I need an interim resource to help keep the wheels on the bus while we find somebody. So, this is a great topic.
    Speaker_2: 03:10 Yeah and as we discussed last week, you know, the cost of a bad hire, outweighs the speed of getting that person on board. So, we’ve talked a little bit about this interim solution. What does that mean? How does that work? So, we’re going to walk through just some details, some tips and tricks that Chris and his team here at Versique have help clients across the Twin Cities on.
    Speaker_1: 03:35 Well, and not only the cost of a miss hire, but what’s the cost of getting good versus great, right? So, we’ve always been encouraged, don’t settle for good. Go for great and so we need some time to do that. Help us understand, somebody does bring in an interim leader, what are the top three things that an interim leader is going to bring to an organization?
    Speaker_3: 04:00 I think number one is that interim leader who will come in will ease your mind a little bit simply because they are going to be stepping in with experience within the position, possibly even within the industry, but number one, they’re going to allow you to get a better look at what you need full time in the role when you make the hire. They’re going to come in and they’re going to assess the position and they’re probably going to assess the team that’s underneath that position. So, we have heard some of our consultants helping to craft a new job description for the leaders within the organization to make the position even that much better once you make the perm hire.
    Speaker_1: 04:43 Yeah and I’ve seen it where that leader that unexpectedly left your organization had been in the role for seven years while the job description they hired for seven years ago more than likely, assuming your company’s growing and scaling, becoming more sophisticated, they need a different type of individual. So you’re saying your consultants can help shape that.
    Speaker_3: 05:05 Yeah, absolutely and the consultants, number two what the consultants can bring is a level of expertise that you may or may not have had in the role. When clients reach out to us, our first question to them is, what were you missing in the role in your mind? What would you like to ramp up a little bit and from a skill set perspective? And we can generally find that pretty quickly within the Twin Cities area.
    Speaker_2: 05:30 How do you respond to a client that really has that need but pushes back and says, they’re not an employee of our company and they don’t know us, how are they going to be effective in this job when they had never been here? How can they come in and assess my company or my team?
    Speaker_3: 05:46 Sure and you know what, in true honesty, there are consultants who have varying degrees of expertise in that ability to influence without authority and that sort of thing, but what I would say is there going to be a fresh set of eyes more than anything. So, if you are walking side by side with that consultant, if the entire organization knows that you have faith in that consultant, then they’re going to have faith in the consultants as well. So that that’s a big key to if you are going to bring in an interim leader, is that there is executive buy in from the top to be able to set clear direction and expectations for what you want that person to accomplish for you.
    Speaker_1: 06:28 Yeah and my guess is when you explained to the, in this case on HR team that we’re bringing in an interim leader so that we can take the time to find your best next leader. So that again, you have time to find that person that fits well with the company, with the team. I think that goes a long way with the team. Yeah, and I think too, like when we come in and we’re executing on the search for the permanent leader, we’re coming in with a fresh set of eyes. We’re curious, we’re just asking questions and with that fresh set of eyes and the consultants are doing the same thing. They’re probing. They’re asking why do you do this? Why have you always done it this way, right? What if we did it this way and just asking a lot of questions and then can shape that role.
    Speaker_2: 07:00 There’s probably at certain points too, where’s the company going? Right. Where the former leader could have been great when the company was in its early stages, but now it’s a much more robust company. Multi location requires a different skill set so that’s another way to look at it.
    Speaker_3: 07:33 Right. I agree. And the third thing we were just talking about it, I think that interim leaders can do for you when they come in is they can keep that team on track. They can keep the day to day moving so you don’t have to worry about it. As a leader, you can focus on hiring the best person. But if you have a partner that can help you keep the team on track and build a better a job description for your next hire, I think that’s something that would really have a pretty good return on investment.
    Speaker_1: 08:03 Yeah. So, Chris, I want to come back to the statement you made earlier as well, bringing that expertise and I know you’ve done this for a lot of clients. It’s not finding an interim leader because they still have their leader, but there’s a project that requires a certain expertise, whether it’s a technical skillset or just an ability to manage a project because it’s outside of what is typical day to day business, so people bring in consultants or interim employees to help them on a project basis. Is that work about the same?
    Speaker_3: 08:36 It does work about the same. The best metaphor that I can offer up to the leaders out there is if there’s a leader who is listening to this podcast right now, stressing out about a project that’s on the corner of their desk that they can’t get to, imagine delegating that to an expert who could get that done six weeks and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore. So yes, like I said earlier in the podcast, that’s about 50% of our business right now is clients reaching out to us in a project basis because they’re looking for a technical expert in some sort of human resources project, be it from talent management to total rewards. It’s a really good way to be effective in your role and move initiatives forward.
    Speaker_1: 09:23 Perfect. So, whether it’s in a project basis or it’s an interim leader, what can the listeners expect from an investment or what is it going to cost somebody, a business to bring in an interim leader and, or a consultant for that six week project?
    Speaker_3: 09:39 That’s a really good question. A lot of it is based on what the consultant wants from a pay perspective, but as a rule of thumb, if you’re going to take a look at a specific level of position, whether it be a director type consultant or a VP type consultant, you take a look at their annual salary and do a little easy math to turn that into an hourly rate and then typically you can multiply it by two and that would be your hourly rate for any of our interim consultants or interim project people.
    Speaker_1: 10:13 So I’ll do the math based on your formula. I’m going to do easy math because that’s more in line with Scott and I, so if somebody is making $100,000 annual salary, you pretty much divide that by 2,000 hours, which is about 50 weeks’ worth of work. So simple math, that’s $50 an hour and then I need to times that by two.
    Speaker_2: 10:30 Is that one hundred?
    Speaker_1: 10:32 Did you use Pythagorean theorem for that?
    Speaker_2: 10:35 It’s that new math that my kids are teaching me. So, in that case, it’s about a hundred dollars an hour for what you are going to pay for this interim.
    Speaker_3: 10:51 That is great math and sound logic.
    Speaker_2: 10:57 And I’d encourage the listeners to, when you think about total costs of hiring somebody, if you’re using a search firm, those costs are included, but take it total salary. I’m bringing interim solution and I’ve got a search fee involved. Don’t think of it as individual components and saying, that’s a lot of Monday. You have to look at it in total and then what are you still getting done? So it’s an investment and you have to look at it that way. It’s not just a cost to your company.
    Speaker_1: 11:29 Yeah, no, absolutely. Well also I appreciate you hopping on our podcast, Chris, it was great to have you part of it and as always, if you want to get ahold of Scott Peterson, and in this case also Chris Dardis, if you have an interim need, you can find both their information on or look them up on LinkedIn. And if you like the podcast, as always, feel free to go out to your favorite podcast channel and subscribe to the Inside Executive Search podcast.
    Speaker_3: 11:55 I know I’m a subscriber.
    Speaker_2: 11:58 You are?
    Speaker_1: 12:00 Yes, I am.
    Speaker_2: 12:03 Wow. I am too funny enough.
    Speaker_1: 12:07 Very good. Well thanks everybody for listening and we will talk to you next week.

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