A technical recruiter is in charge of finding, interviewing and selecting qualified candidates for technical roles like software engineering, data analysis and technical writing. They seek candidates who have the necessary skills to fill specialized positions in information technology, data science and engineering.
Technical recruiters work for either a company’s human resources department or a technical recruiting agency to fill open positions within a technology-focused company. Oftentimes, an expert technical recruiter who has experience across your industry can be the best way to find an exact-fit candidate, and fast.
“Any specialized recruiter is going to have a better network. They’ll also have a much better idea of ‘what good looks like’ and can help a hiring team calibrate the applicant pool more reliably,” says Houston Slatton, BluWave’s head of technology.
The digital revolution has emphasized the necessity for specialized roles within organizations, bringing to the fore the importance of technical recruiters. They possess an intricate knowledge of the necessary skills and experiences required for these roles and are adept at identifying candidates that align seamlessly with the organization’s unique needs.
Private equity portfolio companies have a unique set of challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. The stakes are high, as the success of a portfolio company can make or break a private equity firm’s investment.
That’s why it’s crucial to have the right resources and strategies in place to recruit effectively.
With so many portcos to manage, private equity firms can struggle to attract and retain the right talent.
Competition is fierce, especially if resources are limited and the portco isn’t a known entity. Additionally, not everyone is cut out for the fast-paced and high-pressure environment of private equity.
Let’s talk about what PE firms can do to hire standout performers for their portcos.
Every quarter we gather human capital professionals from private equity firms to discuss current industry topics and to offer peers the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss top trends in 2022 and top areas of focus for 2023.
These forums are for human capital professionals at private equity firms only and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are a human capital professional in private equity and interested in joining fellow human capital professionals at our next PE Human Capital Forum, RSVP here.
Top Trends in 2022
Human capital professionals in PE are playing a wide variety of roles within PE firms and for portfolio companies:
The dynamic economy and labor market resulted in constantly shifting priorities throughout the year which has led to human capital professionals having to lead varying initiatives from retention & recruiting to organizational design.
Recruiting and retention:
Certain sectors are experiencing higher turnover than others and HR leaders have been charged with identifying root causes for turnover and then offering solutions.
PE human capital professionals have been spending time helping portcos clearly portray their brands to help in recruiting efforts.
Leadership and talent upgrading:
In portcos where turnover stabilized, PE human capital leaders have been able to spend more time on leadership and talent assessment.
Proactive PE firms are using market conditions as an opportunity to upgrade talent for the long term, including bringing in wartime generals in place of peacetime ministers. Interim executives and specialized recruiters have been common tools to execute these initiatives.
2023 Top Areas of Focus
Quantifying and communicating human capital initiatives:
Human capital leaders are using data, key performance metrics, and tools like scorecards to illustrate the value they are adding and/or progress being made within the portfolio.
Upcoming pay transparency rules are expected to have a meaningful impact on how companies recruit employees across the country. PE human capital professionals are getting up to speed on these new rules and making sure their portfolio companies are ready to comply.
Leadership to navigate tough economic conditions:
PE firm human capital professionals are supporting the evaluation of organizations to make sure they have the right players in the right seats, particularly with senior executives and one level down. They are encouraging portco leaders to be prepared to upgrade talent where needed and/or equip teams with leadership coaching to enhance skills if possible.
We thoroughly enjoyed these thought-provoking conversations that occurred during this recent gathering of PE human capital professionals. If we can be of assistance, please let us know.
Additionally, you may be interested in checking out some of our human capital-specific resources, which can be found here:
Every quarter we gather operating executives in PE to discuss current industry topics and to offer peers the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss top lessons learned in 2022 and 2023 initiatives.
These forums are for operating executives at private equity firms only and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are an operating executive in private equity and interested in joining fellow operating executives during our next Operating Partners’ Forum, RSVP here.
Top Lessons Learned in 2022
Even the most resilient supply chains struggled in 2022. We continue to be in a global supply chain crisis.
Pricing strategy and related pricing strategy advisor usage was a major focus in 2022 to try and stay ahead of the inflation curve.
Labor is still a big challenge and will continue to be. Turning to PE-grade recruiters as well as interim execs is a common solution.
PE firms and Portcos are doubling down on IT, data & analytics strategies, and implementation processes to be more agile, informed, and automated.
Debt has become less available and more expensivewithrising interest rates, which will make it tougher to complete platform deals in 2023.
Digitization efforts will accelerate in 2023.
Having the right org structure in place is top-of-mind for 2023 as labor markets will continue to be tight.
PE-grade, third-party resource usage will accelerate, offering force multiplication for PE Ops teams, bringing them specialized expertise, and enabling portcos to operate more variably.
The PE industry is largely prepared for 2023 and a recessionary environment due to the proactive actions taken in 2022.
We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with PE Operating Executives to discuss these current topics. We’d be happy to connect you to the PE-grade, exact-fit, third-party resources you need, just contact us here.
Learn more about how we can specifically help ops execs here.
As part of an ongoing series, we’re sharing real-time trending topics we are hearing from our 500+ PE firm clients. In our most recent installment, Wyatt Wiser, a BluWave Strategic Account Executive, shares the importance of interim CFOs and why they are a vital resource all PE firms should be taking advantage of. Learn more by watching the video below.
Interested in connecting with interim CFOs? Contact us here to quickly get connected to the exact-fit interim CFO you need.
The CFO role is one of the most critical seats in a business. The position plays a key role in ensuring that a business is strong and if PE-backed, that the investment is successful. Because this seat is vital to a company’s success, it is important that it is not left open, and is also filled by someone who possesses the right skillset to execute on the demands that come with being a CFO.
To ensure that both of these are always the case, PE firms often turn towards interim CFOs. At BluWave, we equip our private equity firm clients with interim CFOs for various due diligence, value creation, and prep-for-sale needs. Here are some of the most common use cases for bringing in interim CFOs:
Number one, unanticipated departures. When CFOs unexpectedly resign, it can leave a company’s finance function in chaos. We help PE firms combat this by providing them with exact-fit interim CFOs who can quickly step in, fill the shoes of the role, and keep the ship steady while the search for a permanent placement kicks off.
Number two, longer than normal hiring processes. Even when a CFO seat is expected to be vacant within a certain timeframe, sourcing a candidate to step in at the exact time you need them to can be challenging. With hiring processes taking longer than normal, interim CFOs can help bridge the gap, giving you extra time to ensure you hire the best-fit person for the job.
Number three, professionalizing new portcos’ finance functions. We are supporting many PE firms as soon as a deal closes, by supplying them with interim CFOs. These firms are bringing in these individuals to help new portcos’ finance functions understand what it means to be PE-grade, and help them get the right monthly performance packages in place to ensure that the PE firm is getting the info it needs.
And finally, number four, prep for sale processes. Our clients bring in interim CFOs to respond to diligence requests, assess data, and pull reports prior to a sale. By bringing in an extra set of hands to take care of the extra workload that comes with a sale process, FTEs are freed up to maintain focus on keeping the daily routines going, without causing a delay on the sale process. The modern-day M&A process is fast and furious, valuations decline the second you have to hit the pause button, making it crucial to keep the momentum.
Interim CFOs are one of the most versatile and useful resources available to private equity firms. More than 500 leading firms come to us with their interim CFOs because of our ability to know before they need, hone in on individuals that meet their specific, unique criteria, and quickly connect them to the select few that are exact-fit.
On October 19th and 20th, 2022, our team had the opportunity to attend and sponsor the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. It was PEI’s largest event to date with over 500 PE ops professionals in attendance, a testament to the growing ops function in private equity.
At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, hosted a panel titled, “Unlocking the Due Diligence Imperative to Rapidly Achieve the Value Creation Plan”. The panelists – Cici Zheng of ParkerGale Capital, Marc Jourlait of The Riverside Company, and Kalyan Mukherjee of Apollo Global Management – all shared insightful thoughts on this topic and we have captured some our key takeaways below:
Leveraging Diligence Streams to Inform Value Creation
Overall, value creation plans are being created and put into place earlier in the process than has been done historically.
Benefits include building trust with the management teams and having the time and information upfront to formulate a more fully baked value creation plan.
Ops teams find it critical to work with specialized groups for commercial due diligence that already know and understand the market.
Areas assessed upfront in diligence to help ops teams better understand risk include human capital, technology, operations, and ESG.
Working with Deal Teams & Managing the Diligence Chaos
Ops teams have discovered that working with deal teams from day 1 helps avoid any post-close surprises.
Early work with the deal team helps the ops teams better understand what the deal team is underwriting for, allowing the ops team to better prioritize and position value creation plans.
Many firms are leveraging technology to manage the many diligence processes that are happening at any given time.
We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. You can learn about specific ways we equip PE operating professionals with the exact-fit, specialized third parties they need here. If you have an immediate need we can support, contact us here and we will immediately get started.
Our team had the chance to attend and sponsor ACG M&A East 2022 in Philadelphia on October 17th and 18th. At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, had the opportunity to be one of seven speakers to speak on the topic of “Trends and Best Practices in Value Creation”.
In Sean’s presentation, he shared the most recent data in our Value Creation Index and the functional trends we have been seeing within that- specifically within HR, technology, and sales & marketing. The main points he shared from our data were:
PE firms and their portcos are focusing on data & analytics to help them become more agile and change with the times.
Organizations that traditionally had outside sales are now transitioning to inside sales due to the digital boom.
Marketing functions are becoming more crucial than ever.
PE firms are bringing in wartime generals in place of peacetime ministers for the new now.
In addition to Sean’s talk, we were able to listen to insights from Dave Helgerson of Hamilton Lane, Dan Kessler of Energage, Justin Kulla of TZP Group, Keith Scandone of O3, Christopher Simmons of LLR Partners, and Laura Queen of 29Bison. The main topics of their discussions were ESG, DEI, talent & culture, and digitization & customer experience. We have shared our key takeaways below:
The ESG mandate from LPs is growing.
The 3 key factors to ESG are framework, investment process, and organizational guide.
Implementing ESG can be a competitive advantage that allows you to unlock opportunities that no one else sees.
DEI is an ongoing journey, not a destination.
DEI is all about problem-solving.
Talent & culture
Capturing the voices of employees is soon to be the biggest trend in diligence – unhappy employees without a voice can become the biggest issue post-close.
Implementing frameworks to assess and drive culture initiatives is critical.
Digitization & customer experience
Customer experience is a journey, not a funnel.
Putting your customers at the center of your business model is a constant that will never change.
We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at ACG M&A East 2022. If you are in need of third-party resources for your ESG, DEI, talent, or digitization needs, give us a shout and we will be happy to quickly hop-to.
Our team had the chance to attend and sponsor the Hunt Scanlon September 2022 PE Conference in San Francisco – Driving Growth & Value Through Effective Leadership. Along with listening to thought leaders share their insights on a variety of panels, our Founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, also had the chance to sit on a panel hosted by Jennifer Perry of FMG Leading. The panel covered the topic of identifying and developing non-c-suite roles that have an outsized impact on value creation and included fellow thought leaders Raj Karanam of Sun Capital Partners, Kate Berkeley of Gryphon Investors, Darcy Casarella of New Enterprise Associates, Kevin Kernan of JM Search, and Valerie Frederickson of Frederickson Partners.
It was great to gather with so many thought leaders in the private equity human capital space at the Hunt Scanlon event. Here are some of the key takeaways we gleaned from Sean’s panel & the others:
Human capital continues to be a growing priority in private equity. A common theme from fellow attendees was recognition that talent-focused conversations weren’t prominent in PE as recent as 2 years ago, and many human capital leaders are either new to private equity, or to the human capital function. This was a topic we also discussed at our August 2022 PE Human Capital Forum (RSVP for our upcoming human capital event here).
A strong human capital function has 3 key components: people, processes, & technology.
People: Firms are taking a more proactive approach in getting the right people in place internally to assess and facilitate talent decisions.
Processes: Human capital leaders are ensuring they have effective processes in place for building/managing networks, talent pipelines, and interview processes.
Technology: In order to support their people and their processes, firms are leveraging technology to help them.
Talent to value is more important than ever. While getting the C-suite right remains the top & most critical priority, understanding what talent below the C-suite generates outsized value to their role, and then getting that talent right, is of growing importance in turbulent economic times. Identifying & assessing these roles is helpful immediately post-investment and if right sizing needs to occur.
Talent is becoming increasingly integrated with value creation plans. Leading firms are incorporating talent strategy into value creation plans from the get-go to ensure there is alignment.
An interim CHRO can be a great solution for businesses. If your business is going through a period of transition or an increased workload, a temporary CHRO can be a great way to maintain stability and continuity while bringing a dose of leadership to the team. Some of the most common situations we see these strategic resources deployed include:
The departure of the previous human resources leader.
The business needs have grown and they are looking to make their first executive-level hire in this function.
There is an influx of work. This could be caused by business seasonality, temporary team departures (think, maternity leave), or a project-specific need.
Specific expertise is needed to handle a particular situation. This could include going through a merger/acquisition, workforce reduction, or expansion into a new market.
Interim CHRO responsibilities
An interim CHRO can step in and help with many of the responsibilities that would fall onto a full-time CHRO’s plate. Those responsibilities include:
Talent acquisition: An interim CHRO can help with both the active and passive search for top talent. This includes sourcing, screening, and managing the process of interviewing candidates (we discussed hiring talent at one of our recent Human Capital Forums – check out the recap here).
New hire onboarding: A smooth onboarding experience is a key to retaining top talent. An interim CHRO can help develop an onboarding program that sets new hires up for success.
Talent retention: An interim CHRO can help develop strategies to keep your top talent engaged and reduce turnover. This can include employee training programs and fostering professional development.
Performance management: Performance management is a key part of any CHRO’s role. An interim CHRO can help develop and implement systems and processes to ensure your team is meeting its goals. Having these processes in place will empower your leadership team to objectively measure the performance of the team. Armed with this information, you can reward top performers and coach those that have the most room to grow.
Compensation and benefits: An interim HR leader can review your current compensation and benefits programs and make recommendations for improvements. They can also help with the implementation of new programs.
Management of the human resources team: An interim chief human resource officer can provide leadership and guidance to the HR team. They can help with goal setting, performance management, and career development for HR team members.
What to consider when hiring an interim HR leader
If you’re considering hiring an interim CHRO, it’s important to choose someone with the right skills, past experiences, and are a good cultural fit to be successful in the role. They should have a proven track record in human resources and be able to hit the ground running.
I get asked a lot of questions about how to build a business, and how to do it with as few headaches as possible. Not that I’ve totally figured it out, but I’ve certainly made my fair share of missteps and gratefully have learned something along the way. From investing, to hiring, to reducing headcount, to managing the ups and downs of an economic recovery period—one thing remains unchanged: leadership matters. And if you’re talking about key leadership positions, the one that companies most often get wrong is the CFO.
Why? Well, the answers are as varied as the reasons they fail, but it generally has to do with asking the right questions from the beginning. In other words, the interview process is often to blame.
I wrote an article for CFO Magazine about “hiring the right interim CFO” and how to ensure you set your company up for success when it comes to hiring one of the most important positions. Whether you are looking for an interim CFO (who can move into a full-time position) or looking for a full-time financial executive, here are some things you should know before you greenlight your new hire:
8 Things To Know Before Hiring An Interim CFO
If you are a PE-owned company and need to bring in a short-term finance chief, find someone who has worked for a PE-backed company before.
The interim executive needs to have a track record of wins. That generally means a significant tenure at multiple companies.
Find someone with industry experience, because it’s much easier to stand at the finance helm of a manufacturing, healthcare, IT, or services company if you’ve done it before.
Similarly, the interim CFO should have experience working for a company of similar size and scale.
It’s not enough to understand the numbers (sales, revenue, overhead) — you need someone who understands what the numbers mean.
For the best results, find a pro who has a high IQ and a high EQ (emotional intelligence), because the interim CFO needs to quickly gain favor from others in the organization to gather information and build a story around the numbers.
Be sure to have conversations with key stakeholders in a candidate’s prior roles. Choose the references; do not use the references the candidate gives.
While enthusiasm is a wonderful aspect of a new leader, a short-term executive should have a stabilizing effect, not a disruptive one.
For more details and to read the full article in CFO Magazine, click here.
As part of an ongoing series, we’re sharing real-time trending topics we are hearing from our 500+ PE firm clients. In our most recent installment, Private Equity Consultant, Ryan Perkins, shares why the inflation-driven recession has caused firms to prioritize bringing in organizational design & effectiveness resources, and what types of those resources are being utilized the most.
Learn more by watching the video below.
Interested in connecting with interim CHROs, HR-focused consulting firms, or org design consultants? Contact us now to get quickly connected to the exact-fit, PE-grade resources you need.
The inflation-driven economic downturn has created a complex environment, causing private equity firms to take unique action, balancing right-sizing before the storm with retaining and recruiting key personnel. With human capital being a strong input for ensuring success through this downturn, PE firms are bringing in specialized third-party resources to resolve organizational design and effectiveness needs. Here are a few specific resources that we’ve seen our clients engaging on.
Number one, Interim CHROs. Bringing in experienced interim CHROs with deep industry knowledge is a great way to ensure the human capital needs of your portcos are in steady, expert hands. An effective interim CHRO can steer the HR ship during a recession, ensuring your portco will have the right people in place to get through the downturn and position your portco for growth moving forward.
Number two, HR-focused consulting firms. Specialty firms are a great tool that private equity firms utilize to gain expertise on corporate structure and talent output, without adding personnel directly into a portco. Consulting firms that have experience working with private equity-backed companies can be extremely advantageous when making decisions around comp and benefits, staffing needs, restructuring projects, and expansion requirements during an economic slump.
And number three, organizational effectiveness consultants. Process optimization is essential to keeping up with the pace needed to thrive in times of uncertainty. Organizational effectiveness consultants ensure that processes within your portcos will help them run towards the storm by evaluating them as they currently exist, and suggest any required changes according to their industry expertise.
For private equity firms, uncertain economic times should be treated as times of opportunity. Ensuring the organizational design and effectiveness of your portfolio companies can be the difference between generating momentum versus treading water in a recession. At BluWave, we have the private equity-grade resources to position your portcos for growth, no matter the economic landscape. For information on how to get connected with best-in-class, organizational design and effectiveness groups, or any other third parties you may need, contact us today at info@BluWave.net.
Every quarter we bring together top PE human capital and talent executives to discuss current industry topics and to offer talent leaders in private equity the chance to discuss critical topics of the day. The PE human capital role is rapidly evolving as the private equity industry increasingly invests time and cash flows into human resources.
The BluWave Human Capital Forums follow Chatham House Rule, so our takeaways herein are kept at a high level. Are you in private equity and interested learning the details by joining fellow leading PE professionals during our next Human Capital Forum? RSVP for our next event on November 2nd.
In our most recent Forum, we discussed many topics including:
The private equity industry is seeing the ongoing downturn as a unique talent hiring opportunity.
Human capital leaders are working closely with their portfolio company leaders to accumulate best practices and share them across their portfolio for the good of all.
The private equity industry is actively polling its portfolio companies to understand the voice of their employees and improve engagement and retention.
Human capital leaders are spending significant time bringing additional skills and talent to new portfolio companies and supporting the development of their teams.
The PE industry is using data and objective assessment tools to improve portfolio company performance.
In the days ahead, human capital leaders are looking to spend more time enhancing culture, supporting leadership development, and sharing best practices during rapidly changing times.
We thoroughly enjoyed these thought-provoking conversations that occurred during this recent gathering of PE human capital professionals. If we can be of assistance, please let us know.
Additionally, you may be interested in checking out some of our human capital specific resources, which can be found here: