Acquisitions in action

July 28, 2016 Rob Sandall

Finding a specialist in an as-yet-unexplored field is no small task for any business. Rob Sandall discovers how those at the top of HR and talent departments find their ideal applicants.

Those professionals who care the most about a job done well are more often than not also responsible for ushering in change. As Suanne Nielsen, Chief Talent Officer & Corporate Secretary of Foresters Financial knows, finding the right specialist to spearhead that change can at times be a tall order:

“Our ten-year business strategy calls for tripling our revenue through both organic growth and through acquisitions across all three of our geographies – US, UK & Canada,” she says.

“Recognising that we didn’t have the time to develop competency in the merger and acquisition area, we decided to bring this capability into the organisation.

“The role is a new one for us , and while we had a general sense of what we needed, we were very open to the form it would come in – contract, full-time, etc – and where the incumbent could work.”

Getting the right mix of talent

Nielsen is no stranger to the nuances of sourcing talent, beginning her human resources career in Canada during the 80s before taking on the chief position at life insurance and financial services company Foresters Financial two decades ago.

“I learned very quickly that business success is directly linked to the talent you have in your organisation, and decided that talent management was my career path,” she says.

“The Chief Talent Officer title I’ve had for the past seven years was intended to signal to the organisation that talent matters; essentially, my role is to have strategies in place to ensure we have the right talent in the right places, at the right time to successfully achieve our business strategy.”

Casting a net

Searching for a mergers and acquisitions specialist is no small task, especially when your business has yet to debut within that world. Nielsen took a forward-thinking approach and decided to test the water with Talmix.

“The hiring executive asked my human resources team to retain an executive search firm to identify suitable candidates for this role,” she says.

“Having seen Talmix’s website and heard a bit about it from someone in my HR network, I thought I’d try it out.

“The caliber of candidates is what struck me first – within hours of working with the Talmix Client Development Manager, the role was posted, and within a week, we had more than a half-dozen excellent candidates from which to choose.

“The Client Development Manager was in constant contact with me to refine our requirements and to actively reach out to consultants to bring attention to our opportunity.

“I flagged two candidate applications within the first couple weeks and forwarded them on to the hiring executive, who called an immediate halt to the retained search and focused exclusively on the Talmix candidates.

“Our only problem was that we had to choose between two extremely qualified candidates – We did make the tough call, however, and our new AVP Corporate Development starts his role this week in our NYC office.”

Exactly as required

While Talmix largely provides project-based, on demand talent for businesses worldwide, it’s not unusual for that process to lead to outright hires. It’s the elasticity and malleability of the platform that Nielsen particularly covets, for both this and future talent searches.

“While we ended up hiring our candidate this time, I think the real advantage of a talent platform like Talmix is that we can bring in the necessary resources when we need it, for a short period or longer, as business requirements dictate,” she says.

“I’m thrilled with the success we’ve experienced with our first involvement with Talmix and now know that I can count on them to help me ensure we have the right talent, in the right places, at the right time to successfully achieve our business strategy.”

Ready to follow Suanne's lead? Post a project on the Talmix platform today.

About the Author

Rob Sandall

Rob has worked in marketing, journalism and SEO for over a decade, operating across b2b and b2c businesses in sectors as diverse as procurement, fine art, law, architecture, literature and financial services. His agency Blackledge & Sandall works with market leaders and award winning artists on anything from website redesigns to print advertising. Out of hours, you can find him wielding a guitar on stage, getting thumped in the boxing ring, or more often than not binge-watching television with his wife and cat.

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