Finding a strategic HR superstar for a global pharmaceutical despite remote office location
A global leader in the pharmaceutical space was looking for an HR Director who would be able to mediate between the local entity and the global headquarters as well as own all strategical HR projects and their implementation.
When the client reached out to us for help, they had already received several profiles from different agencies but weren’t satisfied with the candidates presented. One of the primary hurdles was simply the remote location of the office. High level HR professionals weren’t willing to leave their jobs in the biggest cities of the country to move to a small city with no further opportunities. The client was also “allergic” to any option that included temporary relocation of the candidate e.g. during weekdays. This meant we would need to find an HR executive with an international mindset, strong English capabilities and a strong track record in strategic HR in a large-scale organization. Most importantly he would need to be willing to relocate permanently to a remote office location. A tough ask in a country that is known for its shortage of strategic HR professionals in the first place.
After we kicked off the search at the client’s office, we created a dedicated research team of 4 people to immediately begin mapping the market and reaching out to our available network. This initial search produced a long list of more than 500 potential candidates. None of those who met the professional requirements was interested in this opportunity due to the need for relocation. We then focused on finding individuals already in the region or having strong ties a search that produced 2 promising profiles. One was a tremendously talented HR professional who had been working for the only other major employer in the region for almost her entire career. While not actively looking for a new opportunity, she understood the value in having a casual conversation with our client which then lead to a half-day on-site where the candidate was able to participate in a strategic HR planning session with other leaders and peers. Although the client was excited about the candidate, the candidate herself was hesitant since the position as originally advertised was below her current level of seniority. We consulted with the client on how to address this issue and made clear that our research showed that she was the very best in the market. The client agreed to upgrade both the role and the offer which the candidate accepted happily. In the end the candidate expressed gratitude for the transparency she received throughout the process which made her comfortable to continue through it. The client, who had already struggled to fill the role for several months prior to our involvement, expressed appreciation for the quality of the research and reporting as well as the short 3 months it took us to identify such an excellent HR leader.
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