Will You Make The Right Hire? 6 Ways to Determine Cultural Fit of an Executive Candidate

Determining cultural fit is one of the most important aspects of hiring, particularly at the executive level.

  • Executive team members set the standard for what is acceptable in the workplace from the moment they are hired.
  • They are the ones who hire and fire, potentially bringing in former employees they have worked with in the past to fill new roles or replace staff.
  • How they interact with direct reports, their peers and their bosses becomes the example for how others should work together.
  • Their values (or lack thereof) become the company’s values. Even if they only stay with the company for a short period, their impact may last long after they are gone.

Considering that employee turnover can cost a company up to 60% of that person’s salary, the tangible cost of hiring the wrong executive could be significant.

That said, determining the cultural fit of an executive candidate can be difficult. Often, it is only after you have made the hire and the candidate has spent a few months at the company before you (or they) can determine if the cultural fit is aligned.  Roughly 89% of new hire failures are due to an individual’s traits (think lack of coachability, low emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament) versus only 11% of new hire failures that are due to a lack of technical skill.

To gain better insights on cultural fit, here are 6 types of questions to ask before you make the offer:

1. Personal Values & Preferences

No matter what the position level, everyone has a unique type of workplace that works best for their lifestyle and values.  These personal values should be in line with the values that drive the (hiring) company.

What type of environment do they thrive in? Do they perform best in competitive environments? Are they more focused on collaboration or rewarding individual achievements? Do they value flexibility or structure? Do they appreciate a culture that “feels like family” or do they prefer a place where everyone simply does their job and goes home?

Walk through the candidate’s previous roles and have them provide examples of cultural similarities and differences, positives and negatives. Do all of the past companies fall under a certain ‘type’ of environment and does the culture at your company seem to be vastly different?

There are no right or wrong answers. It is simply an honest and open conversation to determine which type of environment the candidate will thrive in for the long-term, and whether your company provides that.

2. Influence

How have they been able to influence or improve culture?

This is a useful follow-up question when asking about the pros and cons of previous work environments.  Great or not so great — what did the person do to make it better?

For employers, it may not always be about finding people that fit perfectly within the current culture, but more about how the new employee can make positive changes. Effective leaders are those who have the ability to add diversity and improve upon the current culture.

3. Leadership Style

Ask for examples of how the type of work environment impacts their management style. What do they expect from employees they manage? How do they motivate employees? Do they believe in offering monetary incentives or other types of rewards?

Determining what a candidate believes makes an effective leader or manager will likely indicate the type of management style they work well with and perhaps aspire to emulate.

4. Adaptability

Have the candidate describe personality traits of people they have worked really well with, and those that they did not get along with as well.

Take this a step further by having them break down working with similar and different personalities at various levels:

  • Those they have managed
  • Former peers and colleagues
  • Previous supervisors and bosses

Having a candidate compare and contrast their personality types with others can be very insightful about them as a person, but most importantly, it can reveal how they work with different types of individuals.

As the one interviewing, try to identify any patterns. Do they seem to only work well with the same type of people, or do they collaborate effectively with various personality types. These types of questions can convey their level of self-awareness and ability to adapt their personality to others.

5. Approach to Conflict

How should conflict be handled at work?

For many individuals, conflict is a particularly sensitive issue. It can be equated to discussing failures, and candidates may be nervous to bring up examples where they have had to deal with conflict because they are concerned about how they will be perceived.

However, conflict is inevitable in the work environment. When managed well, conflict can be a good thing that is vital for promoting diversity and innovation, allowing for different ideas, perspectives, and critical thinking.

Furthermore, avoiding conflict can have negative effects to company culture. So the question really isn’t about whether they have faced conflict, but how they have dealt with it. Senior level candidates should have experience with effectively managing conflict and hopefully using it to move the company forward.

6. Cultural Assessment

Allow the candidate to experience your company. Have them go to lunch with the team, sit in on an informal meeting, or at the very least, have them meet with different people during the interview process.

Ask them for their insights and observations of the company culture (both positive and negative) and how they would potentially play a cultural role.

Meeting team members and experiencing the culture first-hand will not only provide them with a better idea of what it’s like to work for your company, it will provide you with interesting feedback, regardless of whether you hire the candidate.

Employers who make cultural fit a major component of the hiring process can avoid significant costs that can come from making the wrong hire. Toft Group performs a thorough, multi-dimensional vetting process which evaluates the corporate cultural fit of each candidate, ensuring expectations of both client and candidate are met. To learn more about how we find the right candidate, contact us.

Toft Group Ranked ‘Top 50 Executive Recruiter’ for 2017 by Hunt Scanlon Media

Toft Group Executive Search, a global life sciences and healthcare executive recruiting firm, announced it has been ranked in the Top 50 Executive Recruiting Firms by Hunt Scanlon Media, the most widely referenced, single source for information in the human capital sector.

Toft Group was one of eleven new companies ranked in the Top 50 this year with Hunt Scanlon Media describing the group as the largest, fastest growing, and leading boutique specialty executive search firms in the Americas. The Top 50 List collectively generated $3.1 billion in revenue for 2016, a record and a significant comeback since the Great Recession a decade ago. The article highlighted that the record growth was due to a massive industry shift away from identifying and recruiting leaders, to providing sophisticated talent solutions that integrate leadership consulting with executive search capabilities.

“To be recognized by Hunt Scanlon as one of the largest recruiting firms in the Americas for the first time is an honor and major milestone for Toft Group Executive Search,” commented Robin Toft, President & CEO. “We have an incredible team and are proud of their ability to deepen relationships with clients, continually delivering highly specialized leadership in areas where there is a significant talent shortage.

Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman & CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media and editor-in-chief of this year’s rankings report, provided his insight on the booming industry, “…More companies are looking to search firms for a multitude of services – from succession planning and candidate assessments to onboarding and executive coaching.”

Toft Group has experienced significant revenue growth since it was established in 2010. Earlier this year, Toft Group was also ranked in Hunt Scanlon’s Top 50 Executive Search Firm in Life Sciences. For more information about Toft Group, visit www.thetoftgroup.com.

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. Named a Top 150 Fastest Growing Private Company and a Top 50 Executive Search Firm in Life Sciences, we are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

About Hunt Scanlon Media

Hunt Scanlon Media has been informing the senior talent management sector for over 25 years. Our global news and intelligence data comes in many forms, including daily newswires, talent leadership reports, newsletter briefings and social media alerts. The privately-held company is headquartered in Greenwich, Conn.

Toft Group Executive Search Named as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare & Life Sciences Search Firms” by Hunt Scanlon Media

Feb 22, 2017 – San Francisco, California: Toft Group, a global life sciences and healthcare executive recruiting firm, today announced it has been named a Top 50 Executive Search Firm in Healthcare and Life Sciences by Hunt Scanlon Media, the most widely referenced global news source in the human capital sector.

Hunt Scanlon has been ranking firms in various categories for nearly 30 years. This is the first year the news source has ranked firms in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors.

“Toft Group is honored to be recognized among the top executive search firms worldwide by an organization as prestigious as Hunt Scanlon,” commented Robin Toft, President & CEO of Toft Group. “Our success is attributed to our team of experienced search consultants, our commitment to delivering exceptional results and our collaborative network of partners, clients, and candidates who share the same passion for healthcare advancements and innovation.”

The complete list of search firms was published in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Recruiting Special Issue of the Hunt Scanlon Executive Search Review. Robin Toft is also highlighted as a sector expert in the feature article Life Sciences and Healthcare Search Firms Tap Outside Talent.

In the article, Toft discusses the shortage of executive talent available to effectively lead the industry through challenges and uncertainty, particularly in emerging companies that blend high-tech and biotech. This shortage is one of the reasons why companies, both inside and outside of life sciences, partner with Toft Group to fill C-level positions in a landscape where senior level executives who have leadership experience and a strong vision are critical.

“I am very proud of our search consultants’ ability to identify business leaders who create a competitive advantage and sustainable value for their companies,” added Toft.

Toft Group’s ranking as a Top 50 Executive Search Firm follows on the heels of the company being named a Top 150 Fastest Growing Private Company by the San Diego Business Journal. Toft Group has experienced double-digit revenue growth since it was established in 2010 and, to better support such growth, relocated their Northern California office to industry hotspot, the San Francisco Bay area and recently expanded its executive leadership team. These strategic decisions enhance Toft Group’s ability to support its entrepreneurial, rapidly growing client base in northern California, as well as improve access to outstanding talent for its executive search services worldwide.

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. Named a Top 150 Fastest Growing Private Company and a Top 50 Executive Search Firm in Life Sciences, we are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. For more information, visit www.thetoftgroup.com.

About Hunt Scanlon Media

Hunt Scanlon Media has been informing the senior talent management sector for over 25 years. Our global news and intelligence data comes in many forms, including daily newswires, talent leadership reports, newsletter briefings and social media alerts. The privately-held company is headquartered in Greenwich, Conn.

Toft Group Named one of the 150 Fastest Growing Private Companies in San Diego

Executive recruiting firm recognized by San Diego Business Journal for significant revenue and growth trajectory

San Diego, CA July 14, 2016 – Toft Group, an executive search firm focused exclusively on building leadership teams for life sciences and healthcare companies, today announces they have been named by the San Diego business Journal as one of the 150 Fastest Growing Private Companies in San Diego for 2016.

The 13th annual ranking by the San Diego Business Journal recognized 150 local businesses that have succeeded through innovation, sustainable business models, and inspiring their employees to attain high-performance goals.

Toft Group has experienced double-digit revenue growth since it was established in 2010 as a result of a high demand to find only the best and brightest talent in the life sciences and healthcare industries. These industries currently face a talent shortage due to high retirement rates of executive “baby boomers” coupled with the challenges presented by the less experienced millennial talent pool. Toft Group has repeatedly helped their valued customers within biotech, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical device, and digital health companies to attract and retain executive-level candidates, by focusing upon the often neglected although well-qualified female and millennial talent pools.

“We are honored to be recognized as a top private company alongside so many innovative, forward-thinking businesses within San Diego,” commented Robin Toft, President & CEO of Toft Group Executive Search. “This recognition is a reflection of strong relationships with our industry partners and hard work by our world class team who diligently fulfill highly specialized executive roles within the life sciences and healthcare industry to change the future of medicine.”

So far in 2016, the company has announced the opening of its new office location in industry hot-spot, San Francisco Bay Area, the implementation of a leading cloud-based platform, and a direct partnership with one of the largest global executive search networks to support its continued growth and customer demand.

To be considered for the award, organizations must be San Diego-based, independent and privately held. Each company’s financial information is extensively analyzed, and ranking is determined based on gross fiscal year revenue for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The finalists received their awards at a private reception on July 13th.

 

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries. Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Toft Group Executive Search Opens San Francisco Bay Area Office in Booming Biotech Hub

Exceptional growth prompts firm to open new Bay Area office
in life sciences industry hot-spot

Toft Group, an executive search firm exclusively dedicated to building leadership teams for life sciences and healthcare companies, today announces the opening of a new office in the San Francisco Bay Area to support continued growth and customer demand. The new office is strategically situated in South San Francisco, amongst neighboring biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, and digital health companies.

With their corporate headquarters in San Diego, CA, and satellite offices in South San Francisco, CA, San Ramon, CA, and Boston, MA, the company is well-positioned to support the top U.S. biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and digital health hubs, while also providing highly specialized executive search services worldwide.

“Our new location in the heart of one of the world’s top biotech communities aligns with our commitment to deliver higher quality candidates more quickly than other firms, thereby enabling our customers to commercialize their novel products faster for the benefit of patients worldwide,” commented Robin Toft, Founder, President & CEO of Toft Group.

This announcement follows recent news that the company has hired two new Vice Presidents to support the growing customer base of Toft Group’s West Coast pharmaceutical practice. The firm also just announced it has implemented a leading cloud-based platform that will provide the operational infrastructure to scale, while maintaining their timeline and milestone-driven process; an important differentiating factor within the executive search industry. Additionally, Toft Group recently entered into a direct partnership with the IESF Global Network, one of the largest retained executive search networks in the world to enhance their ability to deliver exceptional talent to its global customers. These carefully planned strategic initiatives further strengthen Toft Group’s positon in the executive search industry and enable the company to better serve its rapidly growing customer base within life sciences and healthcare companies.

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Toft Group Executive Search Announces Partnership with IESF to Further Growth of Specialized Search Capabilities Worldwide

Executive recruiting firm’s exceptional growth and increasing client demand for executive leaders fuels partnership with leading search network.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Jan. 19, 2016 — Toft Group, an executive search firm focusing exclusively on building leadership teams for Life Sciences and Healthcare companies, today announces its direct partnership with the International Executive Search Federation (IESF), one of the largest retained executive search network in the world, to continually deliver exceptional talent to its global clients.

Toft Group is known for completing highly-specialized searches for some of the industry’s top-performing companies in biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, and digital health. IESF serves as a key strategic partner for the Toft Group as it projects another year of significant growth and increasing demand for niche global talent.

“Our clients choose us because they know we’ll find the best talent for their leadership team, more quickly and efficiently than other executive search firms,” commented Robin Toft, CEO of Toft Group Executive Search. “Life sciences is becoming more of a global community, and we value our partnership with IESF because we can access the right technical qualifications, experience and cultural fit – no matter which country.”

IESF is a growing network that now operates in more than 20 countries covering over 80 cities across the world. IESF partners are business leaders with strong experience in the needs of corporations and growing businesses worldwide.

“We recruit our IESF members very carefully to ensure common business values, grass roots regional knowledge, and personal ownership for growing business globally,” commented Normand Lebeau, Global President IESF.  “Toft Group is one of our select few U.S. firms with the caliber of experience and insights, furthering our commitment to delivering exceptionally talented leadership as the preferred global executive search partner.”

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to Life Sciences & Healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

About IESF

The International Executive Search Federation was founded in 2002 to provide partner companies with local expertise for their clients in an increasingly global market place. IESF is comprised solely of independently owned partners and now operates in more than 20 countries covering over 80 cities across the world. By spread of global locations, it is one of the world’s largest executive search networks. The success of IESF is built on values and principles, a strategic roadmap and dedicated member firms.

IESF has the widest coverage of any international search firm in the Emerging Markets serving international companies operating or starting new operations in these markets. They see the Emerging Markets as a core part of their business model. As businesses continue to internationalize, it is in the Emerging Markets that they require most help and advice.

As multi specialists they run 14 sector practices that bring all the specific leadership and knowledge directly to the client. In addition, the newly set-up “Africa Centre of Excellence“ provides staffing services and solutions to their Global clients for the fast growing and very challenging African market.

Toft Group Executive Search Implements Invenias to Support Growth Trajectory

Invenias, the leading cloud-based platform for executive and strategic hiring, has announced today that California based Toft Group Executive Search, part of the IESF Global Network of executive search firms, has deployed its platform in order to support its impressive growth trajectory. Toft Group, which focuses exclusively on building leadership teams for Life Sciences and Healthcare companies, required a system that would provide it with the operational confidence to scale, whilst sticking to their milestone-focused process that gives clients committed timelines.

Robin Toft, President and CEO of Toft Group comments: “As a company we specialize in a very specific sector – that makes it all the more imperative that we’re a data-driven organization, continually speaking with candidates, monitoring opportunities and nurturing our pipeline. Invenias has equipped us with the ability to work as dynamically with data as our clients do.”

“The right insights and timely access to data is also imperative for providing a solid foundation on which our company can grow. The more efficiencies we can derive through better data, both in terms of access and quality, the more searches we can manage. We have experienced beyond market growth year-over-year since our inception, and needed a system that was up to the challenge. We found that in Invenias.”

Toft founded the company after working in Life Sciences for more than 20 years. While working within industry, she was often frustrated by the lack of statistical data or transparency into the process that executive search agencies provided. As a result, Toft Group uses a defined methodology that encompasses comprehensive and routine client statistical reporting, giving clients full insight into the status of each search. With their previous system, creating these reports required an inordinate amount of consultant and administrative time. Now with Invenias, the data can be retrieved and collated at a push of a button, giving consultants back their most precious commodity – time.

Toft continues: “To ensure there is no redundancy across the company, we adopt a team-based approach. This means I am as likely to be running a report as anyone else who was previously facing the same frustrations. Now, I too am free from the burden of multiple entry points. Additionally, the Invenias team worked with me to create tailored reports with which I can now run my business. The ease with which I can now pull the information I need, and use my new found time to far better effect, is simply amazing.”

The experienced migrations team at Invenias was able to successfully move the data from their previous system. This allowed Toft Group to streamline and better leverage the history and relationships they have established and they are now more confident that the database is a more accurate and usable business asset.

David Grundy, CEO, Invenias, commented: “Invenias has been designed to make it as easy as possible for executive search companies to optimize their data and navigate it in a way that delivers tangible business value. If we can give a CEO their time back – as we have with Toft Group – that for me is the ultimate endorsement of our platform because it means we are helping to drive growth and success.”

About Invenias

Invenias® is a privately owned software company that enables executive search firms, specialist recruitment companies and enterprise recruitment organizations to effectively deliver better assignments, build stronger relationships with clients and candidates and transform the productivity of their operations with easy to use cloud-based desktop and mobile applications. Incorporated in 2005, Invenias serves thousands of users in over thirty countries across the globe. Invenias is headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom, with additional offices in the US and Malaysia. For more information, please visit www.invenias.com.

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to Life Sciences & Healthcare industries. Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Perception vs. Reality: The 4 Disconnects Preventing Gender Equality in Life Sciences

There is no question about it – diversity has a positive impact in the workplace. When we focus specifically on gender equality, reports from McKinsey & CompanyCatalyst, and Ernst & Young (EY) show a correlation between greater female representation and a company’s improved performance.

However, despite the extensive data supporting such improved performance, increased advocacy from public and private groups, and a greater commitment from companies nationwide to create a more balanced landscape, the latest data shows it will take over 117 years to close the gender gap – 38 years longer than what was reported in 2014.

Why, with so many efforts, is there still such a disparity? Research from EY highlights 4 main disconnects holding back gender equality in Life Sciences.

1. Reality Disconnect: Business leaders assume we are far closer to solving gender equality, although they have made little progress within their own companies

47% of EY survey respondents indicated they develop women and men equally in existing leadership programs, and have no intent to change them.

2. Data Disconnect: Companies are not accurately measuring how women are progressing to senior level roles

Only 39% of the life sciences companies surveyed measure their progress on improving gender equality in their leadership teams. This includes understanding how many women are on leadership teams, employee engagement, retention, number of applicants for senior positions, and pay.

3. Pipeline Disconnect: Companies are not creating pipelines that develop females into potential leaders

Although hiring and retention remain top of mind for senior leaders in Life Sciences, only 27% of women say their companies are very effective at identifying future female leaders. Only 19% of women believe their companies are effectively promoting women into leadership positions.

4. Perception & Perspective Disconnect: Men and women fundamentally see gender inequality in very different ways. When asked about the most common barriers that limit women, answers between men and women varied significantly.

Source: EY Think gender equality has nothing to do with performance in Life Sciences? Think again.

Companies seek executives with the ability to engage people and to create a collaborative Team environment. These leaders are able to identify and leverage unique strengths in others, and can align a Team to accomplish a common goal.

 

What can you do as a business leader to implement better gender equality?

1. Assess Your Company

Evaluate the potential gaps or areas for change within your own company: from initial hiring, to retention and development, to promotion of senior leaders.

Carefully and continually assess your company culture and environment. This means looking at day-to-day activities, such as how meetings are conducted, how men and women typically interact, etc. to understand the dynamics that are present within you company.

Survey both male and female employees for their candid perspective to understand where they feel your company may be falling short. Ask for tangible ways they would like to see the company evolve as a whole, and what they would benefit from individually.

2. Create an Action Plan

Assemble a team that involves senior leadership, Human Resources, employees from all levels and departments, and perhaps even outside consultants who are responsible for creating an action plan based on employee feedback. This plan may include, but is not limited to, revamping training programs, hiring processes, corporate policies, employee benefits, mentoring partnerships, and developmental opportunities.

Essentially, treat this action plan as any other company initiative by dedicating time, resources and a budget. Establish deadlines with measurable benchmarks and clear goals. Evaluate success regularly, and continuously evolve your action plan to include employee feedback.

3. Replace the Disconnect with Transparency & Communication

Moving forward as a company requires top-down transparency about where things stand, and a priority to shift. Leaders are responsible for creating an open dialogue with employees about workplace equality, communicating equality as a priority, setting expectations, and soliciting their ideas and suggestions for improving.

These actions are key eliminating the gender disconnects that will continuously hold companies back. They are what differentiate the companies who claim to value gender equality, from those who actually evolve and benefit from attracting more impressive talent, increased retention, and higher performance.

 

What can women do to overcome the gender gap?

Robin Toft, Founder & CEO of Toft Group Executive Search, says the best advice is for women to take control of their careers. Per Robin, “Until gender equality is the norm, women must step out of their comfort zone, raise their voice, and take charge of their career path.”

She adds there are 3 critical ways women can own their career path, starting now:

1. Actively Network

“There are a growing number of network groups, in Life Sciences and High Tech, focused on connecting women in a variety of different ways. I highly encourage women to seek out these groups for events and resources to help women build relationships that will advance their careers.”

2. Find a Mentor

Whether it is through these networking groups or your personal network, Robin says it is critical to seek mentorship. This could be from one person or ideally multiple people whom you respect, have a good relationship with, and who are open to providing guidance.

“I actively sought out both male and female mentors who supported me on a path to success. I certainly would not have been able to overcome hurdles without their mentorship,” comments Robin. “As a result, Toft Group is deeply committed to paying it forward by helping women, business leaders and companies benefit from greater gender equality. We believe that the more people who are empowered without limitation, the more we will accelerate the Life Sciences community toward equality.”

3. Know your Value

Robin believes it is the candidate’s responsibility to understand their ideal career progression and where they would like to be in 10 years. Once fully aware, a female employee needs to ask for career development opportunities, rather than waiting to be recognized.

“When in doubt of how to build your resume and accomplishments to earn the next level, I advise female candidates consult one or more executive search professionals placing candidates at your level in your field. At Toft Group, we continually spend time with candidates and provide this guidance to everyone who asks, but we have observed over 10+ years that those requesting career planning assistance are typically male.”

Robin is considered a trailblazer for gender equality in the executive ranks of the Life Science industry. Prior to establishing Toft Group, Robin held senior executive positions in Life Science organizations at a time when such roles were largely male dominated. She attributes her success and career development to setting personal goals, knowing and leveraging her value, and building her network of relationships throughout her career.

Toft Group is working aggressively to launch new programs and resources that will be designed to propel the Life Sciences sector as an industry leader in gender equality. For more information about these exciting initiatives and how you can get involved, contact us.

What Executive Recruiters Look for When Filling Top Leadership Positions in Life Sciences

Candidates want to know what will help them stand out from the crowd, and ultimately land a top C-level position.  Similarly, clients want to understand what qualities they should look for to ensure the candidate will not only be successful, but the right fit for their organization as it grows over time.

When we conduct an executive level search for our Life Sciences or Digital Health customers, we use a comprehensive process and all candidates are evaluated based on multiple dimensions: Technical Expertise, Specific Experience, Cultural Fit, and Career Track Record.

Toft Group Executive Search has identified several critical key traits that are common among the most sought after VP and CEO-level candidates.  These are often the “soft skills”, or cognitive and personality characteristics, which employers are consistently looking for in their executives:

1. Ability to Build Trusted Partnerships

In an increasingly complicated and uncertain world, it is critical for executive leaders to know how to build trust. Trust is the leading component driving every relationship both internally and externally.

Recruiters will need to fully and clearly understand an executive’s track record for building and maintaining trusted relationships throughout his/ her career. These relationships extend from the top down, and are ideally maintained across the industry as they progress their career. The relationship a candidate has with her/his manager (and past managers) is just as important as peer relationships and the relationships with employee’s s/he has managed.

There will always be personality differences to consider, however a strong candidate will be able to demonstrate the ability to work well with diverse executive teams and organizations. Building trusted partnerships with a spectrum of different types of people is also a sign of high emotional intelligence – a key leadership quality.

 

2. Solid Character

One of the most complicated components to a candidate assessment is the character portion of the evaluation. Our process goes well beyond simply evaluating the candidate’s detailed career progression and proven track record of accomplishments. We strive to understand how a candidate performs under stress and during challenging situations. The ability to display unwavering leadership in the face of adversity, make strategic and difficult decisions, and maintain core values in the face of uncertainty are key characteristics one must have to land any leadership role.

 

3. Humility and Self-Awareness

No candidate or individual is perfect. Executives who are capable of admitting their weaknesses tend to rely more on the strengths of others, and value different perspectives and opinions. The ability to recognize one’s weaknesses not only allows leaders to be more open to new ideas and ways of doing things, but they see other people as invaluable and an important key to their own success.

It is our experience that most early stage companies view humility as one of their core values and most important qualities, and consistently seek this attribute in their executive level hires.

 

4. Ability to Create a Collaborative and Engaging Culture

While recruiting executives, it is not simply about seeking candidates that fit with the current culture. We more frequently look for leaders who have the ability to improve upon the current culture.

Companies seek executives with the ability to engage people and to create a collaborative Team environment. These leaders are able to identify and leverage unique strengths in others, and can align a Team to accomplish a common goal.

 

5. A Greater Purpose

Consumers and employees are consistently demanding more from companies. Companies, in turn, are becoming less interested in the employees who just want a “9 to 5” job. They are seeking out employees and leaders who approach their jobs as entrepreneurs, who are personally invested in the company and have a sense of ownership in the company’s mission.

Today’s executive leaders must be able to see how the company can serve a purpose greater than simply focusing on corporate profit. Leaders who “see a bigger picture” are typically more likely to be innovative, able to lead and influence others with their vision, and form stronger relationships with their employees.

In summary, executive recruiters all seek candidates who meet a checklist of technical skills and experience based on specific job requirements. However, Toft Group “finalists” – those candidates who stand out and ultimately land the job – are always those who also possess “soft skills” related to emotional intelligence, collaboration, thinking beyond the bottom line, and have the ability to lead and persevere through challenging times.

For more information on our process, or to start your next search, contact Toft Group.

Toft Group Recap: 35th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2017

The 2017 JP Morgan Conference in San Francisco, California was once again full of exciting new product reveals, industry deals, discussions on the impact of a new presidential administration, and an increasingly stronger movement toward value-based care. Here’s a recap of our top 3 takeaways:

1. 100 Life Sciences and Healthcare Companies Sign Open Letter for Gender Diversity

Over one hundred prominent Life Science and Healthcare executives signed an open letter to increase efforts for greater gender diversity in the workplace. The letter is a commitment by leading executives to make gender diversity and inclusion a top priority, recognizing its importance in creating businesses that thrive. It is also an effort to be conscious of the “unconscious biases” that hinder equality in the workplace, and includes specific action initiatives companies can implement.

As an executive search firm committed to gender equality in the Life Sciences and Digital Health workplace, Toft Group is operating the forefront of this initiative.  Most all of our customers are making this a top priority when hiring at the executive level.

2. National Healthcare Policy

The future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain. But what is almost guaranteed is that the shift from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare will continue. It is clear that 2017 will be a year where healthcare executives prioritize clearly defining a strong value-proposition for existing products and those in the pipeline. This will require industry leaders to evaluate and think differently about their product strategy, development processes, talent pool, organizational structure, and partnerships.


3. Drug Pricing

Drug pricing remained a major focus of the meeting. The topic was further polarized when President Donald Trump criticized drug companies for manufacturing the vast majority of drugs offshore. President Trump also indicated that new bidding procedures may be on the horizon.

Industry executives continued to defend drug pricing as a risk of return given the length of time, uncertainty, and level of innovation required to develop breakthrough drugs. The issue, of course, is confounded when new drugs must compete with low-cost generic therapies.

Just after the conference, the pharmaceutical industry launched a new multi-million dollar campaign, #GoBoldly. The campaign aims to refine the drug industry’s reputation by highlighting the significant advancements in research which develop breakthrough medications that save lives.

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