How PE and VC Firms Can Develop a Go-to-Market Recruitment Strategy

May 23, 2023 – Private equity and venture capital firms are closing more and more deals particularly. As a result, competition for talent among start-ups, emerging technologies and portfolio companies has never been more competitive, according to a report from Chapel Hill Solutions’ Julian Rives“Typically, most PE and VC firms approach recruiting and talent acquisition reactively – or hiring when a new role or need arises,” the study said. “In order to beat competitors and hire the best athlete talent, HR leaders at PE and VC firms need to shift to a more proactive approach through talent mapping.”

Mr. Rives explains that talent mapping strategically and proactively tracks active and passive talent in the candidate marketplace months ahead of a hiring need. “Talent mapping uses traditional researching and sourcing methodologies to constantly track, engage with, and attract talent, leading up to a hiring need,” he said. “As a search firm, we’ve found that VC and PE firms in the Triad of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem here in North Carolina struggle with hiring for specific levels or key positions including: Senior executive or c-suite level leadership; heads of business units; and vice president or one level below at the director level.”

Mapping the above tiers of leadership provides insight into a candidate’s career trajectory, according to Mr. Rives. “VC and PE firms can accurately gauge when a candidate may be ready for a transition or a new challenge and pursue them accordingly,” he said. In addition to recruiting and tracking talent, Mr. Rives notes that VC and PE firms can also use talent mapping data points to strengthen their team and organization including:

• Uncovering any skills gaps in their organization.

• Building a more precise candidate profile or research criteria.

• Precisely identifying core competencies and leadership skills.

Hire Faster and Reduce Costs

In reactive recruitment, Mr. Rives explains that the cost of hiring grows as the length of a search extends, and in today’s hiring market it can potentially take months to close a search.

Julian Rives is managing partner of Chapel Hill Solutions. The firm has grown in the executive search marketplace for 25-plus years, recruiting leaders and top talented individuals in its network to enhance its clients’ workforce. Chapel Hill Solutions focuses on the healthcare and life sciences industry, including all phases and business areas within the pharmaceutical, biotech, clinical research, medical device, and healthcare disciplines.

“Talent mapping solves this in two ways,” he said. “First, the data and insights remain accurate for the next six months – meaning the research and long list are readily available when a hiring need arises over the next two quarters. This shaves off weeks of sourcing LinkedIn and producing a list of qualified candidates. Second, as part of the talent mapping process, VC or PE firms or their external talent partners can leverage this time to build a relationship with the top candidates. As a result, taking this time to build meaningful relationships with candidates creates a positive candidate experience. This deeper level of engagement builds trust and reduces the time needed to persuade a candidate to consider an opportunity.”

Identifying Emerging Leaders

Part of the biggest challenge PE and VC firms face when recruiting is hiring for the future, according to Mr. Rives. “Talent mapping not only tracks today’s senior leadership, but several levels underneath them in the workforce,” he says. “These candidates will eventually become the leaders of the future in the industry. For VC and PE firms, this is critical for recruiting and succession planning. In some cases, it is more effective to hire a candidate that is a few tiers below senior leadership level and allow them to grow into a role and with the organization. On the other hand, talent mapping can be strictly focused on succession planning. If a senior leader within a portfolio company unexpectedly leaves, talent mapping has already outlined and built a pipeline for those candidates best suited to step-in in the interim.”

Chapel Hill Solutions focuses on healthcare as well as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, clinical research, and medical devices. The firm provides executive search services to these primary areas: healthcare, acute care, ambulatory surgery centers, information technology, healthcare financial services, surgical services, emergency room, OR, EMR, HIM, and case management. Other services include research capabilities, technological support, and relocation assessment.

Related: A New Lever for Private Equity Value Creation: Talent Optimization

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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