Leveraging deep sector and country knowledge

"Help us find the top Risk people in three countries"

Background

A leading Brussels-based Bank was looking at opening offices in central Europe. Most of their clients had numerous flows of business into or out of the region, converging most heavily in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Although they had a successful Polish operation the bank was not familiar with these countries, so part of our role would be advise them on local markets from a labour and legal perspective.

SpenglerFox was asked to perform searches in each country to find their Head of Credit Risk.

Our approach

Consulting closely with the client, we agreed on the ideal profile of the candidate, as well as the best places to look for them. Working with both the direct line manager and HR person responsible gave us a thorough understanding of the best-fit candidate, from which we were able to construct a complete and accurate job description.

The bank already had one potential candidate in Czech Republic but no prospects in Austria or Hungary. With this in mind we focused our networking attention on the Czech Republic and our search attention on the Austrian and Hungarian markets.

After identifying the five most likely banks in which we could find the best-fit candidate for our client in each country, we began the deeper search. We combed through many of the largest corporate banking leaders in Hungary, and arranged selective meetings to get some up-to-date market knowledge. We also began our research in the crowded Austrian market, digging through the many regional banks to get to the sometimes elusive credit risk departments.

Certain personal and professional networks were activated across the Czech Republic to supplement the standard research. Every Friday we sent the client an update of how many candidates had been contacted and which banks had been screened. This was meant that the client knew where we were in our process and could plan accordingly. As agreed in our timeline beforehand, we introduced a benchmark candidate within three weeks. We received positive feedback that we were indeed looking for the right kind of people.

We then began interviewing Czech candidates. This started with telephone screening to determine if they satisfied the client’s key criteria. If so, the candidate was invited for interviews with SpenglerFox. Because our screening process was so effective we were able to save time for ourselves and our client, and interview only the best possible candidates.

This meant our interview-to-shortlist ratio was very high. Out of the 45 candidates screened, nine were interviewed and three were shortlisted. Representatives from the bank met all three of them and chose one for further rounds in Brussels. The formal testing was performed on their side in Brussels, as they requested. However, in order to determine their suitability we presented the candidates with a mini-case study on a credit application during the SpenglerFox interview. References were taken up at the stage when the responses could affect whether the candidate received an offer.

A similar process was carried out in Hungary. There was a slight delay in Austria, as the market was still very fragile.

The original candidate that had been identified for the Czech Republic was chosen; however, our screening of the market assured them that they had the best candidate for the role. In Hungary we identified an excellent Risk candidate, who was hired. Unfortunately, he left during the guarantee period to take a higher role at his previous employer, but we soon identified potential replacement candidates. In Austria we hunted through the market and identified numerous people, although in the end the client decided to oversee Risk from Germany. Later though, we were able to partner with them again and found a Regional Corporate Banking Director for Central & Eastern Europe based out of Austria.



Leveraging deep sector and country knowledge

"Help us find the top Risk people in three countries"

Background
A leading Brussels-based Bank was looking at opening offices in central Europe. Most of their clients had numerous flows of business into or out of the region, converging most heavily in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Although they had a successful Polish operation the bank was not familiar with these countries, so part of our role would be advise them on local markets from a labour and legal perspective.
SpenglerFox was asked to perform searches in each country to find their Head of Credit Risk.

Our approach
Consulting closely with the client, we agreed on the ideal profile of the candidate, as well as the best places to look for them. Working with both the direct line manager and HR person responsible gave us a thorough understanding of the best-fit candidate, from which we were able to construct a complete and accurate job description.

The bank already had one potential candidate in Czech Republic but no prospects in Austria or Hungary. With this in mind we focused our networking attention on the Czech Republic and our search attention on the Austrian and Hungarian markets.

After identifying the five most likely banks in which we could find the best-fit candidate for our client in each country, we began the deeper search. We combed through many of the largest corporate banking leaders in Hungary, and arranged selective meetings to get some up-to-date market knowledge. We also began our research in the crowded Austrian market, digging through the many regional banks to get to the sometimes elusive credit risk departments.

Certain personal and professional networks were activated across the Czech Republic to supplement the standard research. Every Friday we sent the client an update of how many candidates had been contacted and which banks had been screened. This was meant that the client knew where we were in our process and could plan accordingly. As agreed in our timeline beforehand, we introduced a benchmark candidate within three weeks. We received positive feedback that we were indeed looking for the right kind of people.

We then began interviewing Czech candidates. This started with telephone screening to determine if they satisfied the client’s key criteria. If so, the candidate was invited for interviews with SpenglerFox. Because our screening process was so effective we were able to save time for ourselves and our client, and interview only the best possible candidates.

This meant our interview-to-shortlist ratio was very high. Out of the 45 candidates screened, nine were interviewed and three were shortlisted. Representatives from the bank met all three of them and chose one for further rounds in Brussels. The formal testing was performed on their side in Brussels, as they requested. However, in order to determine their suitability we presented the candidates with a mini-case study on a credit application during the SpenglerFox interview. References were taken up at the stage when the responses could affect whether the candidate received an offer.

A similar process was carried out in Hungary. There was a slight delay in Austria, as the market was still very fragile.

The original candidate that had been identified for the Czech Republic was chosen; however, our screening of the market assured them that they had the best candidate for the role. In Hungary we identified an excellent Risk candidate, who was hired. Unfortunately, he left during the guarantee period to take a higher role at his previous employer, but we soon identified potential replacement candidates. In Austria we hunted through the market and identified numerous people, although in the end the client decided to oversee Risk from Germany. Later though, we were able to partner with them again and found a Regional Corporate Banking Director for Central & Eastern Europe based out of Austria.

Exceeding high expectations within a strict timeframe

"Installing this senior management team will take absolute confidentiality and sector expertise"

Background

One of the world’s leading banks, operating under their Private & Business Clients Division, decided to enter the Central European region with a mass-market consumer finance unit. The first country would be Poland.
SpenglerFox was tasked initially with finding the Chief Executive Officer. Of utmost importance was an in-depth market search combined with the networking of well-known and recognisable names – which meant we had to combine both methodologies of research and business development. We looked at Poles and non-Poles, across Poland and abroad – but only those who had experience from Poland.

Our approach

We began our full-on search in January 2006, identifying sourcing individuals as well as media informants and others to give us the most critical information. We also scoured the top international players and local leaders to find the number twos and threes with serious potential.

By late February we had identified numerous individuals who possessed enough market understanding, consumer finance knowledge and drive and energy to make it as the bank’s incoming CEO. Throughout the search process and initial approach and interview, we never revealed the name of our client. Even as close as the first meeting with the client, we were still able to motivate the candidates tactfully enough so as to get them to the meeting while not divulging the most pertinent information.

Simultaneously, for the special Committee set up to oversee the consumer finance expansion, we prepared numerous reports outlining a large number of potential candidates and a bit of background about each, including their career history, personality and salary expectations.

Throughout March and April we arranged meetings and interviews with numerous candidates with the Project Leader from Frankfurt. He had decided he wanted to meet a spectrum of candidates and together we would decide which to present to the Committee. By the end of April we introduced three very different candidates. One was chosen and immediately accepted the offer.

Meanwhile, we had begun the search for Head of Sales and Distribution. The search evolved in much the same way as that for the CEO, the main difference being that we were looking only in Poland and only for a Pole. Once we had found the top person for the role, an intense and drawn-out negotiation process ensued in which SpenglerFox played the pivotal role of deal maker. Before the Sales Head search was over we also began conducting research for Head of Operations and Head of Risk. In June we started a search for Head of Marketing. Candidates were found for all roles, including a small team move for Head of Sales, by the end of August 2006. In addition, due to our deep knowledge of the client and market, we were able to present one other candidate who was immediately hired by our client for a critical business IT role.

Competency and 'fit'

"Our different search requirements demand a flexible approach"


Background
This major electronic engineering firm has expanded rapidly through the CEE & CIS regions. We first met them at a major stage in their regional development: the organisation was dealing confidently with the challenge of moving from a collective of relatively small departments and daughter companies to become an integrated corporation.

As a result, there was a clear need to hire some senior regional staff from outside. We have now placed most of their top managers, some of whom have developed as rapidly as their employer. This has given our placed candidates the chance to stretch themselves and add to their experience in an exciting environment and on an international stage.


Our Task
One particular placement was for a senior international marketing role, to lead and coordinate local and regional marketing and product teams. Given our client’s strong technical focus, it was initially assumed by all involved that the winning candidate was likely to be found within a direct competitor, or within an organisation active in complementary or at least similar products.

We had already produced a shortlist of such candidates, when we were referred to a passive candidate with an interesting profile - albeit one from a completely different business and product background. At interview, the candidate demonstrated a strong background in all the major competencies we had been briefed to find. Perhaps even more importantly, he had a strong personal 'fit' with our client’s company culture. We immediately presented him as a late entrant to the shortlist.

The hiring managers were initially surprised, and somewhat skeptical about being presented with a profile so far outside their accustomed business area. But given our past record of success with them, they were eventually persuaded to meet the candidate for interview.

They were soon convinced of this candidate’s cultural fit with the organisation, and of his competency background. An offer was extended to him very quickly, which he was happy to accept. He is still a very successful, satisfied and effective employee of our client, and has grown with them to tackle ever larger challenges.