The Challenge

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Our client faces a significant challenge in integrating its longstanding employees, some of whom have been with the company for approximately 25 years, with the newer staff recruited to support recent growth. This merging of veteran and new employees has catalyzed a cultural shift, fostering innovation and moving away from the traditional “we’ve always done it this way” mindset.

The VP of Sales EMEA role, crucial in this transformation, sought a leader skilled in managing other senior managers. This position required fluency in both German and English and was designated as a hybrid role based in either Munich or Frankfurt. The ideal candidate was expected to undertake considerable travel, about 50% of their time, to effectively lead and connect with their team and clients.

The search for this VP was specific; the candidate needed to have expertise in the power electronics or semiconductors sector, with experience in selling to the industrial or automotive sectors, or even one step ahead in the chain with system providers. This industry-specific expertise was essential for understanding the nuanced needs of the client’s target market and leading the company’s strategic direction in these markets.

Under this role, the team comprised 50 members, including five direct reports. This team not only covered the sales domain but also included field application engineers. The position played a pivotal role in shifting from traditional in-office technical support to a dynamic, customer-facing approach. This strategic pivot was aimed at deepening the understanding of customer needs and enhancing field presentations and support, reflecting a broader move toward more customer-oriented operations.

Moreover, the new Vice President would report directly to the Senior Vice President for Europe and Americas, overseeing the entire commercial spectrum, including sales, marketing, and product management. This reporting structure underscored the role’s vast scope and critical importance within the company’s overall organizational strategy.

The Solution

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Initially, the recruitment efforts focused on reviewing competitors and conducting a thorough search and talent mapping in central to southern Germany, supplemented by consulting our network for referrals. Each suitable candidate underwent an hour-long screening, followed by in-depth discussions to gauge culture compatibility, managed consistently by the same recruiter for accurate comparisons. The extensive interview process involved initial pre-screens, a first video interview with the CHRO and the SVP, followed by interviews with the VP of Product Management and a face-to-face meeting in the company’s HQ with the CEO rounded up by a full-day assessment involving role plays conducted by an external agency.

In the end, out of over 400 candidates who were considered for the role, we focused on three candidates, each engaged in other recruitment processes. Pacific’s team worked closely with our client to expedite the process to align with these timelines, adapting interview stages and pre-emptively scheduling assessment days with the external assessment agency.

The Results

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The process identified the preferred candidate whom the client was very excited about. Securing him required skillful negotiations and close and transparent communications. Ultimately, the candidate chose to accept our client’s offer over another company thanks to their clear communication regarding the role and organizational challenges, which aligned better with his career expectations and desired work environment. He was looking forward to the opportunity to shape his new team and strategy without micromanagement.

The time between accepting the offer and joining the client company is often lengthy and fraught with risks. Pacific’s team stays close to candidates to ensure their seamless transition to the new role and often goes the extra mile to assist with anything from relocation advice to counter-offer management and staying abreast with client developments.