How we filled an ultra-specific post in rural India for a medical device manufacturer
The client is a Japanese multinational with presence in over 150 countries and one of the largest manufacturers of blood bags in the world. They required a Vice President – Manufacturing for one of their Indian plants. The client approached us based on a positive reference they had received about our work.
The client had not to that point done business outside of North America. They were looking for both a regional head and further insight into how best to enter and grow their Japan business.
As part of an insular and highly niche market there would be only a very limited candidate pool. Additionally, as both a private company and startup, they did not have the brand recognition necessary to attract top talent as they had in their home markets of North America.
Therefore, our role was to map the entire market, not just for purposes of identifying talent pool but to assess relative strength of potential competitors.
The client had hired a new VP – Manufacturing who left within just 9 months of joining. The position was based in the state of Kerala which is a Communist stronghold and an area with frequent labor union issues. Our client had four such labor unions, which meant the role required a strong personality who could deal with local people and manage under political and operational pressure.
The client required a candidate was either local or could speak the local language fluently, had 3-5 years experience as a VP of Operations or Manufacturing dealing with latex or rubber medical products, and willing to relocate to the area where the factory is located, an area with very limited infrastructure and considered significantly less desirable than other manufacturing hubs.
This was a highly specific search and one that would be made more difficult by the location requirement. Of the small pool of candidates qualified for the role, virtually all would turn out to be interested in the challenge of the role but unwilling to relocate to Kerala.
Due to the location and requirements of the assignment we anticipated a long process. We dedicated a team of 4 researchers to identify not only candidates currently dealing with latex or rubber medical products, but those who were no longer working in this area but had in the past.
With this approach we were able to build a group of qualified candidates. For the exception of one, none would seriously consider the role due to its location. The interested candidate had a strong background for the exception of just having been on sabbatical for the previous year which is frequently viewed with skepticism by potential employers.
We conducted multiple informal reference checks with feedback further reinforcing his credentials as well experienced and well-respected by his former management and colleagues. The offer was issued and accepted with the caveat that he would first need to secure a slot for his son at a time when school admissions had already long passed.
Our team actively called on behalf of the candidate and his family and identified two schools who would be able to accommodate an additional student. The candidate selected his preference and in the end moved his family and took on the role.
After a year in the position both the candidate, his family, and the client expressed appreciation for helping to make the match happen.
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