Posted by Joe Alonzo, Director of eDiscovery/Computer Forensics at Glenmont Group
This Saturday , ten friends and I will undergo one of the toughest physical challenges we have ever faced, a 12.3 mile competition with 35 different obstacles consisting mainly of mud, ice cold water, fire…and electricity; otherwise known as Tough Mudder. Think “Survivor” meets US Marine Corp Basic Training.
For the past six months, we all have been in various training regiments. A few of the guys trained with P90X, some were doing CrossFit, some were endurance/strength training, and a few were working out their thumbs on the TV remote with some hardcore channel surfing.
This is my first event like this, and I have been frightened to death about the prospect of failure and not finishing. I cannot speak for the rest of my team, but I am relatively confident with the amount of training I’ve done since the spring. I believe I stand a good chance of crossing the finish line on two legs and not a stretcher.
Training for this event reminded me of one of the most inspirational placements I have done in my career. Very recently, an east coast based eDiscovery & forensic technology company approached Glenmont Group for assistance on finding a new CEO. Through a (long) series of calls and referrals, I was introduced to the “the candidate”, let’s call him John. After hearing my best recruiting pitch, John was intrigued at what I had to say and decided to take a chance as a candidate for the CEO position.
Because this was a C-level position the road ahead for John meant a series of lengthy interviews, typically by board members and other high level executives at the organization.
Aside from normal interview preparations, there were some areas I felt that were important to research, i.e. market trends, industry growth, competition, current revenues, etc. Since John was interviewing for the position of CEO, I thought that we shouldn’t leave a stone unturned.
One of the first things John and I did together was identify the top ten competing organizations in the industry and survey the market on their offerings.
I also helped John find as much information as I could about all of board members with whom he would interview, backgrounds on founders of the company, backgrounds of past key hires, past M&A deals, growth history, and position in the marketplace. Let’s call it a “DNA Analysis” of the perfect hire.
The initial set of interviews was a Skype call by an overseas board member, followed by an in person meeting inNew York, both of which went extremely well. John felt capable during both meetings and mentioned to me early on he had a good feeling about this one. (read: happy recruiter)
For the next round of interviews, John was flown to the company headquarters to meet with the company founders, CTO, COO and their EVP of Sales. It was a panel style interview where John was presented with very difficult questions, both situational and theoretical. Because of the amount of research John and I did as a team, specifically on market trends, and top competitors, he won confidence of the board during this round and was asked to come back for the third and final round.
I am sure I don’t have to spell it out, but John is now the new CEO of this profitable and growing company and is very happy that he made the move. Had John just done the “required reading” and did not go above and beyond the normal preparation, chances are he wouldn’t have come out on top.
More importantly, if John did not have the fear of failure and an almost obsessive drive to succeed, he likely would not have been chosen as the final candidate.
I welcome you to contact me on Monday to see if I finished the Tough Mudder, or ask how many times I fell on my face.