Case Study: Talent Acquisition

Janitorial services firm had been through 5 SVPs in 8 years. Pursant found fundamental flaws in hiring and management; identified the right leader in 2 months.


A $250M janitorial services firm was seeking a senior vice president of sales and marketing, with little luck.  The company first tried to conduct the search on its own, then engaged several search firms.  Neither approach was fruitful.  The firm’s CEO called on Pursant to tackle the challenge.


Pursant’s team found an important clue while conducting its Deep Dive: in the past eight years, five different people had held this leadership role, and none was successful.  Pursuing this area of inquiry deeper—asking what happened to each person and why—helped the team to identify critical issues in the client’s hiring and people management processes. The position profile inaccurately defined the responsibilities and skills required. The reporting structure was awkward.  There was little organizational support for sales and marketing initiatives, but extremely high expectations.  And the hiring manager (in this case, the owner of the company) was, quite simply, not an effective people manager.  Collectively, these problems set up each hire to fail.


Pursant took steps to help the janitorial services firm address these flaws.  Because of the historical issues with retention in the SVP position, Pursant brought in its industrial psychologist to pursue the people management issues with the hiring manager.  These sessions, combined with leadership effectiveness exercises, gave the executive tools and skills to improve future people management experiences.  Because of the time devoted to its Deep Dive, Pursant’s team had extreme clarity around the competencies and behaviors needed in a successful hire, and was able to swiftly write an effective position profile and fill the position in just two months—30 days ahead of schedule.  The new executive has been a great fit and because of strong performance, Pursant has been engaged to conduct more executive search work for the client.

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