Pandemic Crisis Leads Saenger Associates to Cut Recruiting Cycle Time to 30 Days

As the coronavirus continues to disrupt business and life in general, one executive search firm is offering a faster alternative to its typical search process. The new offering is designed to immediately fill vacancies for virtually any reason, from health issues to an unexpected resignation.

March 31, 2020 – As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation, executive search experts at Saenger Associates have created a special program for clients who have an immediate need to fill executive or senior management positions.

The firm’s new “Virtual Fast-Tracked 30-Day Retained Executive Search” offer, which is focused on the aerospace & defense and industrial products industries, essentially puts Saenger Associates’ well-known search strategies on steroids. The new plan is designed to immediately fill a vacancy in a critical position due to health issues, a resignation, or an incumbent who couldn’t perform to acceptable standards or the hiring away of a key executive by a competitor.

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“In conversations with our clients, all conducted virtually, several of them noted the urgency to speed up searches, and refine the process of handling all interviews, presentations, discussions and feedback virtually,” said search firm founder and president Gary Saenger, a corporate HR and business veteran who founded Saenger Associates in the Los Angeles area in 1999.

“Time and fit are the pain points our clients have asked us to relieve, so we understand the need for speed matched with quality,” he said. “In addition, with our reach to 90 cities in 45 countries as a key member of IRC Global Executive Search Partners for the past 10 years, we offer the most thorough personalized strategy to find the best fit on each and every search.”

How it Works

“Our time target for offer acceptance is usually 70 days, but for our Virtual Fast-Tracked clients, we cut it to 30,” Mr. Saenger said. “We do this by tripling down on research and recruiters as well as on the daily communication between all the stakeholders via phone, email and video conferencing,” he said. “The only corner we cut for the 30-day program is time. Of course, the 30-day timeframe is contingent on our client and candidates showing up and keeping up with our expedited priority schedule.”

Mr. Saenger said his team members are all-in to help their existing and new clients fast-track executive searches immediately. “In the past, I provided my team financial incentives for each search for a job offer acceptance at 70 days and resultant placement,” he said. “This plan moves that scoreboard to 30.”

Mr. Saenger offers a view of the timeline:

Days 1-2 – The Saenger Associates team drafts “the pitch” on the company’s value (its reason for being in business, history, financials, culture and unique appeal for employees to work and prosper) and on the position that needs to be filled (title, scope of duties and responsibilities, reporting structure and accountabilities).

“We also determine the quantitative and qualitative ‘musts’ as determined by our client (such as range of compensation and geographic location) and factor those into the search,” Mr. Saenger said. Then the team’s designated lead consultants on the search conduct a video launch call with the client to finalize that information.

Days 3-4 – Conference call to calibrate three candidates or more, found by searching the Saenger Associates’ databases and other outside sources.

Days 5-10 – The Saenger team vets candidates’ resumes and references, develops a short list and sets a conference call with the client.

Days 11-16 – The client conducts virtual interviews with the vetted candidates.

Days 17-24 – The client selects two or three candidate finalists to begin the final phase of the Virtual Fast-Tracked process. For finalists with a contingent verbal offer, Saenger Associates finalizes vetting of background, references, credit, academic degrees and professional associations, and, when required, drug-test results.

Day 25 – The client extends a verbal offer to the chosen final candidate.

Days 26-28 – The candidate weighs the offer, negotiates and makes a decision.

Days 29-30 – The candidate accepts the offer, the start date is determined, and logistics and contingencies are completed.

“That’s the outline, but of course we also know that no search ever goes exactly by the script,” Mr. Saenger said. “We will adapt, communicate and communicate some more, until the result is two winners – the mantra of my founding Saenger Associates – the client and the final candidate.”

Saenger Associates’ usual retained executive search fee is 30 percent of the position’s first-year cash compensation (including base salary, target annual performance bonus, commission and possible sign-on).

N2Growth Adjusts Search Fees to Help Clients During Pandemic Crisis
N2Growth will be deferring 50 percent of all search fees for new engagements until after the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained. “This is a rather unprecedented time, and it’s during times like this that we need to come together and find opportunities to serve each other,” said Mike Myatt, founder and chairman. “The spread of COVID-19 is causing suffering for thousands of families around the world; it is disrupting daily life, closing schools, and impacting markets. We feel an obligation to lead by example and do our part to help the marketplace get to the other side of this.

The Virtual Fast-Tracked plan normally carries a 25 percent premium, but Mr. Saenger said the firm will waive that premium subject to “fill-ability” of the role.

Motivation: Nation at War with Invisible Enemy

“We’re offering this new service because our nation is at war with an invisible enemy, and our lives, the economy and everything else is at stake, so no matter what our business is, we all have to step up and contribute,” Mr. Saenger said.

“We all know colleagues, clients and candidates who are going through very tough times right now, and we’re committed to do our very best to be there for them, both personally and professionally,” he said. “At the same time that we all face this huge challenge, we’re also presented with huge opportunities to reinvent and improve the way we do business.”

Several weeks ago, in advance of government directives, Mr. Saenger moved his colleagues out of the office and transitioned to working virtually from home offices. “Our virtual approach has protected our team, our candidates and our clients as we do our small part to help flatten the curve of the virus’ spread,” he said. “We’ve doubled and tripled our staff meetings and progress meetings with clients and candidates to make sure we’re performing as well if not better in these most trying times than before.”

“We, too, are making the Great Adaptation, as active participants in this battle against a deadly virus, and this quantum shift in how we live, work and play,” Mr. Saenger said. “And we will keep those improvements and better practices in play after the virus is stopped.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Saenger said, he and his colleagues are caring for their physical health and minding their mental health. “We’ll never give up,” he said. “But we’re also working hard to care for our clients’ immediate needs and on keeping our business healthy so we’re all ready for the post-pandemic Big Rebound ahead.”

For more info about Saenger Associates, visit the firm’s website []. To initiate a Virtual Fast-Tracked 30-Day Retained Executive Search, email Mr. Saenger at

“Or call me anytime my cell is 805-573-6255,” he said. “Wherever I am, I’m always in the office.”

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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