Spotlight: An Inside Look at One Canadian Boutique Firm’s Approach to Today’s Market

March 21, 2023 – Winnipeg-headquartered executive search firm Waterford Global specializes in recruiting mid-to-senior professional and executive level talent domestically and internationally. Since its founding in 2006, the firm has found and placed candidates in business sectors including: healthcare, construction, financial and professional services, agribusiness, retail, communications, energy, manufacturing and real-estate.

With more than 25 years of experience in executive search and recruitment, Karen Swystun is the CEO of Waterford Global. She has concluded search engagements for all levels of technical, managerial, executive, physician, and board positions. She works domestically and internationally in the private and public sectors.

Ms. Swystun recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss her firm’s approach to today’s market conditions and what she is currently seeing in the Canadian search market.

Karen, how does a boutique firm like yours use its unique expertise to compete on a global scale?
Our firm’s unique service delivery model is tailored to every search engagement and is focused on identifying, assessing, and attracting passive candidates, wherever they may be located, using a synergistic, client-focused process. Our firm has several clients that have continued engaging with us as a preferred search services provider. Many of these clients have been with our firm for a number of years (some since our inception in 2006). Ours is a seamless and client-tailored search process distinguished by professionalism, exceptional client and candidate care, a record of success with difficult-to-attract candidates, objectivity, and confidentiality. In addition, as a trusted advisor in executive and mid-to-senior level talent acquisition and physician recruitment, Waterford Global’s process is highly customized and confidential. Clients repose their trust on our knowledge and expertise, and on our ability to engage with and attract the best leadership and specialized talent – locally and globally, as needed.

Can you explain the firm’s coverage and approach?
Waterford Global is structured in such a manner that geography is not, in any sense, a restriction. We are well-equipped to conduct local, regional, national, and international searches as part of our full range of recruitment services. Waterford Global’s approach to candidate identification, assessment, and attraction is purposefully designed to incorporate both the “art” and “science” of search. We use advanced research tools to conduct detailed talent-mapping exercises used in defining the appropriate scope of the search and in identifying where we are most likely to find suitable candidates, thus enabling us to focus attention on the most appropriate candidates for the search. Our team is also proficient in the application of various competency assessment frameworks, competitive intelligence methodologies, and artificial intelligence tools.

How has focusing on your retained search practice contributed to your success?
As trusted advisors to our client organizations, we are honored to have contributed to the growth of their businesses through the talent we have recruited and the value we have added. Purpose-driven, our firm’s growth to date has been deliberate and intentional, aligning with clients and industry sectors that are growth oriented and national/international in scope. By focusing on providing retained search services, our firm has created bespoke processes to support clients at all stages of the organization life cycle, from search services oriented to the requirements of start-ups (including recruitment assignments to staff the entire leadership team in the client organization) to the search services required of growth-oriented companies expanding locally, nationally, and internationally.

Any other services that the firm provides that you’d like to share?
Waterford Global also provides talent advisory and search services for other clients engaged in organizational events such as acquisitions, capital raises, private equity investment, etc. Our firm has also developed customized delivery models to work with organizations with unique contexts that impact the searches they undertake, including:

  • Undertakings with multi-company ownership/stakeholders.
  • Family-owned and owner-operated organizations transitioning to non-family leadership.
  • Organizations undertaking succession planning .
  • Organizations working in conjunction with advisory boards and subject matter expert boards.
  • Firms undertaking structural and geographic redesign.

We benchmark ourselves against organizations from various industry sectors from whom we can learn and adopt best practices, thus creating an environment of continuous growth. Taking owner- ship of our clients’ challenges has added to the depth and strength of our team.

What is the current market for recruiting healthcare/agriculture professionals in Canada?
The agriculture sector is a large, integrated industry sector and a significant contributor to the Canadian economy. Currently, we see brisk demand for strategic talent in all major subsectors of the agriculture sector, including input and service providers, producers, food and beverage processors (including animal and plant protein processors), food retailers and wholesalers, foodservice providers, and ag equipment manufacturers. The ag-tech sector is particularly focused on building a talent pipeline with diverse skill-sets, to address its specific needs pertaining to innovation, operational excellence, and the technological aspects of smart and precision agriculture.

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