I have been in general management of small medical device companies since the late 1980's. During that time, I have been CEO of three public companies and four private equity/venture capital backed businesses. I have raised more than $500M in equity and debt capital during my career.

I have been the hiring manager for countless senior executives and c-suite colleagues over the years and I have engaged many different search firms in that role. I have also worked with executive recruiters as a candidate for most of my positions.

I first met Roger Brooks in the mid 1990's and I have engaged his firm on several searches over the years. Between companies during 2017, I tried my hand at executive recruiting and helped Roger conduct a confidential, retained search for a CEO of a VC backed medical device company.

Given my experience as a hiring manager, I thought I knew everything there was to know about executive search. I soon discovered that Roger's unique, hands on approach is far more effective than the recruiters I had worked with over the last few years.

First and foremost, Roger adheres to the highest possible ethics and confidentiality in dealing with his clients and candidates. That was very refreshing to observe in the hyper competitive world we live in today.

There are several other keys to Roger's approach:

  1. The right candidate is probably not looking for a job. He/she is probably fully engaged in a current project and needs to be pried out of that position.
  2. The recruiter should provide coaching and guidance to the hiring manager in preparing the search and specification. Roger uses proprietary analytical tools as well as superb judgment in this portion of the process
  3. The hiring manager needs to see a field of candidates with diverse skills and background to choose from and to fine tune the search criteria
  4. The recruiter must meet the candidates face to face to assess not just the technical skills fit but the personality and culture fit with the employer
  5. Back up candidates are crucial to the process, because the first choice is often fully employed and/or in a competitive process

In my experience as a hiring manager, recruiters pass along a pile of resumes from candidates that are already looking for a next position and provide little review or assesment. I was shocked and impressed at how much more effort and process Roger puts into every stage of the search.

In the case of a CEO search, the hiring manager is a Board of Directors and/or search committee and the recruiter must first synthesize the position description thru interviews with all members of that committee. The company culture is often aspirational at this point and Roger acted as a coach for the committee helping them figure out what the company really needs as opposed to what the outgoing CEO has told them it needs. I was very impressed at how much time and effort Roger put into this up front activity, which paid dividends when the selection was ultimately narrowed to a few highly competitive candidates. I was further impressed by Roger's unique ability to get busy board members to speak freely about what they wanted the Company to become and what they ultimately wanted in a leader to achieve those goals.

Once the position description and goals where set, Roger cast a very wide net interviewing candidates from large and small players with a diversity of experience. Recruiters always have a rolodex of executives that are looking for a promotion to a new position. Roger ignores that rolodex and engages with high performance candidates who are not even aware that they are interested in making a change. He leverages his unmatched network to get executives to return his calls even though they are adamant that they are not looking. Once he has that initial contact, Roger is relentless in turning executives into candidates. He is also tireless at making sure he meets every candidate in person and thoroughly vets those candidates through personal reference checks.

Building a field of candidates and making sure that backup candidates are ready and willing became vitally important in this particular search when the lead candidate turned down the offer at the 11th hour. Roger demonstrated superior diplomacy skills to keep the search moving in a positive direction and insure that the next man up was engaged smoothly.

In summary, I have been thoroughly re educated in how the right executive recruiter can bring so much value to building a successful enterprise. Roger Brooks offers a far more sophisticated and efficient search function than anyone else in the industry.