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At a recent HR Executive Lunch we hosted in San Francisco, a common point of discussion was finding and keeping the best talent in a highly competitive market. One Chief People Officer said it this way, “One of our biggest issues is competing against the behemoth companies for talent. We can’t compete on compensation anymore, and when the Google’s of the world are buying people, we have to offer something different.”

So, what do you offer? What is it besides more money or more equity that can help mid-market companies win the “war for talent?” First, you must have a culture and set of values that resonate with the people that you are trying to attract. See the article below on how LinkedIn won with culture.

We have also seen that what attracts most executives to new opportunities is the opportunity to be valued and seen as a contributing part of the CEO’s team. Whether we are recruiting for the Head of Sales & Marketing, Chief Supply Chain Officer, CFO, CIO, or the Head of HR, the first question that top candidates usually try to answer is, “What value will I be able to bring to this organization?” If there is not clarity on the type of value the company is seeking at the outset of a search, then it will be incredibly difficult to identify and attract “A” players.

Attracting great talent also requires having an organization that inspires confidence and mutual respect. The people with whom candidates interact throughout the hiring process, from the first touch by the recruiter to the final negotiations and onboarding by the company, must be impressive. We sometimes have to step in and reassure a top candidate that the poor interviewer they met with is not an indication of the type of employee the company treasures.

Jim Collins’ provided some thoughts on what can drive good people away from your company in the book, Good to Great… “Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people. Worse, it can drive away the best people. Strong performers are intrinsically motivated by performance, and when they see their efforts impeded by carrying extra weight, they eventually become frustrated.”

So what do you think? How can you make your organization more attractive to great people? We’d be interested in your feedback.

Fleming Jones
[email protected]

Martin “Marty” McMahon
[email protected]

Thought Provoking Articles

Client Snapshot – ActiveVideo®

Activevideo Logo

Which do you like more, a root canal or waiting at home for the cable guy?

Thanks to our client, ActiveVideo®, you may not have to worry about the cable guy much longer. Earlier this year, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and ARRIS Group (NASDAQ: ARRS) created a joint venture to acquire ActiveVideo®. Based in San Jose, CA, ActiveVideo® is the developer of CloudTV™, the only cloud-based software platform that enables service providers, content aggregators and consumer electronics manufacturers to virtualize set-top box functions in the cloud for the purposes of delivering next-generation user interfaces, online content, and interactive advertising for TV. Cable companies already use ActiveVideo’s technology to improve service and lower cost for millions of their customers worldwide.

ActiveVideo was named the 2015 Winner of the Leading Lights Best New Product (Cable) for its CloudTV StreamCast product and FlemingMartin is proud to have placed the Product Manager leading that product initiative.

ActiveVideo is headquartered in San Jose, CA, with offices in Los Angeles and Hilversum, the Netherlands. Earlier this year, we placed a Director of Product Development at ActiveVideo® and also conducted retained searches for the company’s EVP of Operations, Chief Marketing Officer, and Head of Sales. The searches were led by Marty McMahon.

Recent and Upcoming Events

We continue to remain fully engaged by new and repeat clients on some exciting searches (see below), and we are maintaining our commitment to bringing together outstanding leaders for personal and professional development and relationship-building. Along those lines, we’re hosting multiple Executive Leader Dinners and Lunches, as well as Marty’s C-Suite and HR Leader Breakfast Series events in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara.

Recently Completed Searches

Bell-Carter Foods

  • Head of Information Technology

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group

  • SVP Financial Planning & Analysis
  • VP Finance – Creative Services Group

Henry Wine Group

  • General Manager – Zephyr Express

j2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM)

  • Managing Director – FuseMail


  • Vice President, Finance

Pacific Steel Casting

  • Vice President, Finance


Current Searches

Private Real Estate Investment Firm

  • Vice President Information Technology

Private Software Company

  • Sr. Director of Product Management

Public Aerospace Business Unit

  • Business Unit Leader
  • Vice President, Sales
  • Vice President, Engineering

Public Aerospace Division

  • Chief Financial Officer

Public Biotechnology Company

  • Director of Talent Acquisition