Up Your Executive Recruiting | Summer Anderson

 

About Summer Anderson

Summer Anderson is the Principal and founder of Human Capital Solutions (HCS). A firm dedicated to executive recruiting with specialization recruiting upper management for growth-oriented companies in the technology industry. Summer has over twenty years of experience in shaping retained executive level recruiting strategies. Prior to founding HCR, she worked at Allergan, Booz Allen Hamilton, Heidrick & Struggles, PWC – Coopers & Lybrand.

 

Interview Transcript:

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today with Summer Anderson. He is a principal in the firm’s human capital solutions. Welcome to today’s show. Thank you. So summer, your your human capital solutions is working in the executive recruiting space, which is, which is a very, very hot area right now this firm secret human capital. But I want to I want to roll back your background for the listeners. And once you bring us up to data, what inspired you to to launch this company?

Summer
Yeah. So I’ve spent a great deal of time and executive search. And over the years, what I’ve found that there was a big piece missing. Executive Search has become super transactional, meaning we’re looking just for the right person, rather than making sure that it’s transformational. And that’s really what I want to do is drive it in that direction. So that we have an opportunity to impact not only the executive team, but the holistic company, the way we’re going to grow it.

Alan
Yeah. So how did you how did you how did you start off to your early career? Did you graduate with an aspiration of I want to work in human resources or was, you know, your schooling your major, what was?

Summer
So the early years really was? I was in insurance, okay, I happened to cold call an executive search firm, that was upstairs. So I was riding the elevator because I got tired of getting in the car. And while I was riding the elevator, I happened onto one particular guy, an executive search firm, he offered me a job, and I couldn’t take it at the time. We stayed in touch, and later, he offered me a job. After I had been working for Coopers and Lybrand for about two years. I spent five years in hydric, working for him, and he was a tremendous mentor. After that, I took a little bit of a break, we had children, and then went back and worked for Booz Allen, which was a fantastic opportunity because it was in house executive recruiting. I help them find their CIO, I help them find a senior partner for their cybersecurity business. And I also helped with two campaigns, one was a nine month campaign where we found 24 VPS. The other we found 33 executives in a space of a year, all cybersecurity executives. And from there, I really figured out that I had a love for really building and growing something significant. I spent some time at Allergan leading their talent acquisition team for the US. And then later, went to frustated capitalists are VP of human capital. And all along in large company, small company, what I found was there is a serious disconnect with how we go about creating value through the process of search. Oftentimes, what we’re looking at is this highly transactional situation where we’re taking a need and putting a body on it. Rather, let’s first understand what the team is about, let’s understand the culture and the vision, the technology, how is that different? How is it optimal at best? And where is it going and making sure that that team is aligned. So when we bring in the superstar, this rock star, that they not only propel them to the highest heights that they’re dreaming of, but that person stays, because this this team is, is really operationalized at an optimal level.

Alan
So somewhere in today’s in today’s labor force, is really going transformation. A lot of companies are looking for labor, that isn’t really there. And you bring out an excellent point of making sure that when they’re hiring, you’re getting the right fit, and you’re saying the needs of the organization? Is there a certain process that before trying to place a person you work with the company and trying to identify what the right BID IS?

Summer
Part of what we do in the very front end is we spend a day, possibly two depending upon the organization, really understanding the executive level team, and all of the folks that are around that particular executive who will be reporting in to them? Who will they would be reporting into, so that we understand what the expectations are? And what is everybody thinking in the way of culture vision, value, and technology? If there’s a disconnect, then we have an opportunity to help get it right. And we’re also finding what are the strengths and the Achilles heel So, within that team, and everybody has them, right, we’ll have both, if we can identify with the Achilles heels are, and help bake that into the requirements, there’s hard requirements. And then there’s the soft requirements. And sometimes, if you don’t have both lined up, you absolutely will not have the success. Sometimes the soft requirements can trump the hard, they’re, they’re easier to find, you can find those on a background or a resume, or the softer stuff, you got to probe and spend some time. The other thing that we do after we’ve spent time kind of level setting what we know about the team, we also spend a lot of time understanding the technology and going deep there. What’s unique about this, so if we’re going after a CTO, for example, why is this unique? What is it about this particular technology that is outstanding? How do we tell that story? How do we make sure that that is a cut above the rest. And that gives us the vignettes to tell this this person that we’re looking for exactly why they want to come. But then we’re also making sure that we’re prepping him for the challenges that are ahead and making sure that that’s attractive.

Alan
So Summer, I need to take a quick break and visiting here today with summer Anderson fee is the principal of HCS human capital services. And we’ll be right back after these messages. I love fishing with my family. I think it’d be easier to use a net, it was so much fun. The times when we are together, it makes it all all the more worth it. Having dad teach them how to like cast a fly rod. And as long as we’re doing stuff together, we’re having fun. Some people see a father and his son fishing together, while others see a succession plan. Welcome back and visit me here today with summer Anderson. P is the festival of ACS human capital services firm focused on executive search and and so in the first segment, we’re talking about the the scarcity of labor right now. But if I’m a C level executive are looking to hire people, and why would I want to go with an executive recruiter?

Summer
It’s a great question. So I’d say the top reason is that you don’t want to settle. If you’re going to go through the conventional model of putting out you know ticklers and talking to your network, you may come up with somebody that you know, really well, you may come up with somebody who’s pretty qualified, but what you don’t know is what you don’t know. What we what we do is we will really dig deep. We dig deep not only into the WHO ARE YOU? Why are you important? Or what what is it that you’re doing differently in the marketplace? But we’re also finding out what is the DNA of this person? What did what does that need to be? What was or wasn’t working before? We’re asking deeper questions. And let’s go to the the CTO of we’re looking for a Chief Technology Officer. In that example. I’m also going to be asking questions, what should I be asking? And what should I be listening for? So I might put together questions alongside that CEO or alongside the VP of engineering, because we’re helping him hire his his boss.

Alan
So Summer, when, when we’re looking at the executive search in the process of identifying the right fit and the right need. Who do you like to talk to? First?

Summer
It’s a great question. I usually like to talk with if there is an incumbent, for example, if we have a CTO who’s getting edged out or and he’s not feeling great about it, that’s the first person, I want to spend a significant amount of time with that person and really understand how are they feeling? If we need them to stay? What does that look like? What did they need to feel comfortable to stay, and make sure we bake that into the how we’re going to market and add that into the soft skills of this person. So if this person needs a mentor, if the incumbent needs a mentor, we look for what kind of mentor there’s a lot of them out there, so that we really match them up at the DNA level. After I’ve spent a significant amount of time with him, I’m going to cross reference with the CEO in that in that scenario, and then all of the other peers on the executive level. What are they saying? How comfortable are you with or with that team is with the CTO and what are they hoping to accomplish? Once we get to that? Where’s the Delta? We can start to color that in. We can start to create the questions around what do we need to be probing? We can look at the hard skills on paper, but then when we’ve got them on the phone, what are they talking about? up, when you throw a question out, that’s an experiential question. Are they aiming strategic? Are they going after execution? And which is more important to the team right now? Are they in a stage where they’ve got to just get it done? Or does this person need to be more visionary to get them to the next level, it’s really dependent upon the age and stage of the company, the kind of technology and the market that they’re in. So triangulating all of that together, and also looking at the white papers that might exist out there, who’s thinking about this in the right way, who’s cutting edge, who’s the best of the best, and maybe has been at it for a while. And where’d they land, that’s usually how we get to the folks you really want to be talking to. If you just go out and sort of sprinkle out in your network, you might get someone who’s okay, but you’re not going to get someone’s who’s off, who’s off the charts and can take you there. That’s what I want to.

Alan
I’m visiting here today with Summer Anderson, she is the principal of ATS. Human Capital solutions are firm focused on the executive search space. And some I need to take a quick break. And we’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back and visit you today with Summer Anderson she is the principal of HCS. In the capital solutions, a firm focused in the human executive search and summer, we’re talking about the need to properly screen and profile the right fits for the organization. But in the last segment, you made a comment about mentoring. And how do you distinguish a mentor from a coach?

Summer
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that there is there are folks who look at really being able to create the plays, and then run the plays, let’s just call it that. So somebody who’s really focusing on execution, then there are mentors who who are the visionaries who’ve been through this, they’ve seen the movie several times. They know how it turns out, and they can guide. So both are very important. But it really depends upon who we’re talking about. Are we talking about a startup that’s going from zero to 5 million? Are we talking about a company that’s headed towards an IPO and beyond? Are we talking about a multi billion dollar company, sometimes the executive is on overload in the amount of information that they’re getting, they need to be able to really crystallize, the coach or the mentor needs to be able to crystallize for them what’s most important, and that’s why I think you need to discern, which is most important in that process, wasn’t just in referring back to the conversation before, what I found. In that particular situation, the CTO needed somebody who would put their arm around him and say, here’s the methodology. He wanted to know, how can I replicate this, this process of driving a company from single x millions to triple X millions. And that’s exactly what he’s doing right now. He’s giving him that methodology so that they can execute that now today. And then do it again. And again. And again, he’s giving you the formula, essentially, for lifelong success. So that’s the that’s what he picks up in the process. On the other side, this incumbent who now has a CTO over him, has two days a week where he gets to go and innovate and think big thoughts. What he’s doing is he’s bringing that back. And this coach mentor, is really what he is, is helping to fold those big thoughts back into the technology they have rolling, because really the IP came from this original guy. So there’s a huge amount of respect there. But there’s also guidance and I think that’s that’s really what was required for that particular name.

Alan
You know, is I think about organizations and growth of course, we have different stages, a large organization, substantial revenue, the processes are more important than the people, smaller organizations, people more steps are more important than processes. I want to go back to the smaller organizations who are looking to do the holistic type of growth, but sometimes they they get people that just don’t want to follow a process and and they keep hiring and people be frustrated and then they want Believe and so you’re you’re filling same positions over and over. How important is it to you, as you begin the executive search that you really identify issues that are causing turnover?

Summer
Yeah, I’d say that’s job one. If we really identify what, what’s going well, and where the disconnects might be happening, we’re identifying the strengths to build the story. And then we’re also identifying where are the areas that we could optimize this company, so that everybody’s ready to be supercharged to this next level. If we don’t take care of what may not be stellar right now, we’re not going to be able to get this rock star that we’re bringing in, to stay within 18 to 24 months is the statistic that’s out there right now. They’ll fly, they’ll want to get out. And then you’re doing the search again. So then you’ve lost two fees, because you’ve had to redo the search, and you’ve lost time, you may have also lost your market opportunity. So it’s really hard to calculate, what are you giving up in the process? So that is why it’s top one. That’s why I’m passionate about it.

Alan
Step over to we’ve addressed organizational now. We’re moving to candidates. And that’s where you really, you know, your work is not cut out for you. Because you got to figure out how do I how do I reach the people that I’m seeking? Cold calling, does it work?

Summer
No. I mean, it can, but I would much rather be referred. And part of that starts with a search strategy. If I know what we’re looking for, what we’re going to create is a bullseye. So that center of the Bullseye has a lot of extra bells and whistles, it’s the super person. And what I like to say to my clients at the beginning of that conversation is if we can get 80% of what’s inside the bullseye, we’re doing really well. But let’s aim for it because we could get to 100. The cool thing about that is it it makes it really finite. And I’m not going to spend any time bringing you the wrong rock. It’s very targeted. The exciting thing about that is when you see that person or that panel of folks come in, who are as close to the bullseye as possible, is that everybody gets really excited. There’s a certain amount of WoW, not only is this person going to fill in my Achilles heel, but they’re culturally aware of what we’ve got going on. And how do we make it better? And what’s more is they’re up for the challenge. They’ve done it before they can do it again. And this is really going to help us get to where we need to be.

Alan
So with that answer laid out, you’re going after people that are in jobs, positions happily employed sometimes, yes. How do you convince them that this is a better opportunity?

Summer
That’s a great question, I think probably the most important thing is getting the story right. From the get go. If I understand what their background is, I’ll give you for example, because that’s that’s a good, a good way to do this. I was working on a C E O search for a semantic technology that used data analytics to take all of this IoT data and dump it onto a page. So you got a scatter chart, or a pie chart that illustrates what the data saying. So in a heartbeat, you’ve got a snapshot, I knew that we had to have a semantic expert who had been in data science for a long time that had the vision, and could support the CTO that was on board. In order to do that. You start to triangulate back. What makes this person get out of bed in the morning? And how does the story map to who they are. And if you start with that messaging, and then you listen to them, and start to really innovate that story around who they are. They’re all in fairly quickly. Now. If I figure out in the process, that they’re not the right fit, you get off the phone as quickly as possible, gracefully. But you don’t waste time where you shouldn’t. When you’ve got the right person on the phone, you know, you absolutely know.

Alan
So some we’re running out of time today but a person who wants to reach you, how would they go about that?

Summer
You can reach me via email and that’s s Anderson at h cap solutions.com where you can also get us at h cap solutions.com is our website. We’d love to talk with you about your needs at the senior executive level

Alan
somewhere. Thanks for being on today’s show. We’ll be right back after these messages.

 

 

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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.

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Summer Anderson on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Summer Anderson

Summer Anderson is the Principal and founder of Human Capital Solutions (HCS). A firm dedicated to executive recruiting with specialization recruiting upper management for growth-oriented companies in the technology industry. Summer has over twenty years of experience in shaping retained executive level recruiting strategies. Prior to founding HCR, she worked at Allergan, Booz Allen Hamilton, Heidrick & Struggles, PWC – Coopers & Lybrand.

Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Alan Olsen

Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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