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Top recruiter Heather Porter shifts gears in pursuit of industrial sales leaders

Top recruiter Heather Porter shifts gears in pursuit of industrial sales leadersby Joe Metts
Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.

Executive recruitment is a sales-driven industry in which recruiters work to sell top talent on opportunities with client organizations. Some of the most successful performers in executive search have deep technical experience in the space where they now recruit. Other high achievers, equally successful, are masters of the art and science of executive recruiting.

Charles Aris senior associate practice leader Heather Porter is a dynamic mix of both. The former standout senior associate recruiter has a strong background in operations, digital marketing and sales, and is now using her interpersonal skills to further boost the business development side of Charles Aris Inc.’s Sales & Marketing functional recruiting practice.

“What I bring to the table is an understanding of how to help craft a successful business, aiding hiring authorities by identifying and landing the talent they need to achieve organizational goals,” she said. “I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with every practice leader at Charles Aris, and while the industries may be different, the sales and marketing functions stay the same.”

Heather pull quote

That acute knowledge of sales and marketing stems from a successful decade-long run with Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream parlor franchise with more than 1,000 locations across the United States. Heather played an influential role with Cold Stone, opening numerous locations across North and South Carolina as the region’s director of operations. There, she developed a detailed understanding and deep appreciation of the sales and marketing functions.

“There were a number of times when a location would be built and opened without a committed franchisee, so my team and I would come in, operate the store and create a successful business model for someone to ultimately buy,” Porter said. “You have to know how to connect with people, build relationships that will last and ultimately generate repeat business.”

That experience certainly serves her well in the world of executive recruitment, where the ability to develop meaningful, lasting professional relationships is critical to success.

During her tenure at Cold Stone Creamery, Porter married her husband, Ben, and together they started a family. This led her to reduce work travel and took her to the Greensboro News & Record, where she assisted with the multimedia outlet’s outside sales and digital advertising efforts. A self-taught Google AdWords specialist, Porter managed a variety of online advertising campaigns for clients around North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region.

Porter first learned of Charles Aris while providing digital advertising consultation to family friend Brian Styers, who as a vice president leads the executive search firm’s efforts in knowledge management and communications. Not long after, she accepted a role with the organization as a promising associate recruiter.

“The first year was really spent developing the tool kit,” Porter explained. “Having the opportunity to learn from everyone at Charles Aris, whether it was in the firm’s Strategy, Industrial or Private Equity practices, really helped me learn how to recruit and how to connect with people.”

Porter made an immediate connection with Charles Aris senior vice president Greg Harper, who leads the firm’s Engineering & Operations recruiting practice.

“Greg truly believed in me and my ability to learn this business,” Porter said. “He has always been a great mentor, and I am thankful to have been able to work on many of his searches over the past few years.”

Greg + Heather

Senior associate practice leader Heather Porter focuses on business development with SVP Greg Harper.

Though she served as a jill-of-all-trades during her time as an associate recruiter, Porter carved out a niche recruiting leaders for client organizations in the industrial space. As she continued to excel in the organization, the time soon came for Porter to consider what her own practice might look like.

“I was always fascinated by the conversations I had with industrial executives,” Porter said. “Every phone call and relationship you develop as a recruiter is impactful, but I distinctly remember always walking away from those phone calls having learned something.”

That inspiration led her to combine her two professional passions: sales and marketing with industrial recruitment.

“While I don’t have a technical background in industrial manufacturing, what I know how to do is recruit talented individuals for the organizations in that sector,” she said. “I have the ability to listen to a client’s needs, craft a plan to find the talent that’s needed in the role, and execute that plan to identify, connect and place those individuals in my client’s organization.”

One of Porter’s best skills is her natural cadence when engaging hiring authorities and candidates alike in compelling conversations. Her ability to build an easy rapport, guide discussions and ultimately close deals has helped her rise quickly at Charles Aris, and undoubtedly will continue to serve clients and candidates well moving forward.

“What it comes down to is that I understand and identify with salespeople as they work to provide value for customers,” Porter explained. “I also love speaking to experts in the industrial space, so it was a natural pairing that occurred when I began to design my practice here at Charles Aris.”

This pairing has become a driving force in Porter’s journey to success.

“I know the function, I speak it and I have lived it. I am paid to be an expert in executive search and provide the world’s best sales and marketing leaders for my clients,” Porter said. “In time, I hope to become the go-to person when an industrial organization has a sales or marketing need. They can come to me with confidence that I’ll find the perfect fit.”

To learn more about Heather Porter’s industrial sales and marketing recruiting practice at Charles Aris, call her at 336-378-1818, extension 9145, or email her at [email protected].

Original Source: USA - Charles Aris Inc.

The impact of bonus season on your hiring process

The impact of bonus season on your hiring processby Jillian Jitima
Senior Practice Leader at Charles Aris Inc.

Just last week, I had a conversation with a potential candidate who seemed a slam dunk for a Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy role we are working on here at Charles Aris.

He said that this is the exact type of position he would want when he leaves consulting. He had the requisite education, the experience, the industry focus – he was even local to our client and would not need to relocate. Though the role appeared to be the perfect fit for him, and he for it, he did not want to move forward in the hiring process.

He cited timing as the reason. As it turned out, the main driver of this timing dilemma was a big bonus that he would receive at the end of the year if he opted to stay with his current organization.

As we enter the year’s fourth quarter, this is something we will hear more and more often because bonus season is around the corner for many of the top consulting firms. Bonuses are often paid in December or January, and you must still be employed by the organization on the payout date to receive the bonus.

This dynamic can create challenges for organizations seeking strategy talent. Consultants who are beginning to think about next steps in their careers often are hesitant to leave a large amount of cash on the table before transitioning. They’ve worked so hard for it, after all.

Thankfully, there are a few potential solutions we’ve seen clients use successfully to combat this:

  • Provide a cash sign-on bonus to help offset what a candidate is leaving behind. If that isn’t in the budget, consider a sign-on bonus that is broken into multiple parts – for example, a portion paid now with the remainder in six or 12 months.
  • Provide a sign-on equity package. While it’s not cash in the candidate’s pocket now, some of our clients have found it easier to stomach an equity grant rather than a cash payout.
  • Delay the start date until the bonus has been paid out, enabling the candidate to collect her bonus before resigning to join your organization.

These are a just a few ideas on how to tackle the challenges associated with bonus season; don’t be afraid to get creative. Bonus season does create additional hurdles, but it shouldn’t be a showstopper when trying to land top talent. When a candidate really wants a role and an organization really wants that candidate, there’s usually a solution that can work for both sides.

Original Source: USA - Charles Aris Inc.

What to consider when selecting an executive search firm

What to consider when selecting an executive search firmby Mitch Oakley
Founder & Chairman at Charles Aris Inc.

Organizations justifiably take many criteria into account when considering an executive search firm. Which are most important?

Various studies have underscored the true cost of a bad hire (this Fast Company infographic is a good place to start). So it’s hardly surprising when any given company’s seemingly simple decision to hire the right talent for mission-critical roles influences and drives that organization’s ensuing success. And in the vast majority of searches conducted by retained search firms, both the quality and leadership of the firm significantly influence the quality of talent the client organization interviews and ultimately has the option to hire.

And yet it’s more complicated than that. While the best search firms have tested and proven recruitment systems and processes in place, the individual search professional who works directly with the client – and the ability of that professional to effectively utilize her firm’s talent identification / selection / attraction systems and processes – will truly determine the success of each search.

So if I had the responsibility of selecting a search firm on behalf of an organization, I would first seek answers to the following questions:

  • What are the search firm’s recruitment systems and processes?
  • Will I deal directly with an experienced search professional?
  • Am I personally comfortable working with this search professional? Am I comfortable with this person’s knowledge and communication style? Is this a person whom I would look forward to speaking with frequently? Does the search professional create legitimacy and demonstrate competence and confidence in her ability to deliver? Can she effectively describe the search firm’s systems and processes?
  • Does the search firm have a successful track record of working with organizations like mine?
  • What sets it apart from other search firms? Ultimately, why should I retain this firm when there are so many other options?

Still there? And still interested in hiring a search firm to help? Answers to these additional questions will provide insight and may help mightily in your selection process.

  • How long does the recruiting firm’s typical search take?
  • How does the search firm find talent? What does its team actually do?
  • How many candidates will I need to interview before I can make a hiring decision?
  • Who will perform the heavy lifting on my search project? Will it be the search professional who secures the search or someone else who is then assigned to the project?
  • How many similar searches has the search firm completed?
    • If it hasn’t done many, how will its team find talent in a marketplace where it has limited experience?
    • At which levels does the search firm normally recruit?
    • Does the search firm’s team have capacity for this search?
  • Does the search firm interview candidates face to face? Or via application software? If neither, how does the search firm accurately assess candidates’ skill sets?
  • What are the search firm’s fees? Where is the value?
  • How does the search firm find talent in faraway locations?
  • Does the search firm conduct reference checks? How do the firm’s team members get people to give them a reference when so many companies prohibit such calls?

Still with me? You just might be ready to kick off an executive search. Regardless of your recruiting partner of choice, do not hesitate to ask these sorts of questions to ensure that they are just as ready as you are!

To learn more, call Mitch Oakley at (336) 378-1818, extension 9119, or email him at [email protected].

Original Source: USA - Charles Aris Inc.

Industrial-strength Q&A with engineering recruiter Greg Harper

Industrial-strength Q&A with engineering recruiter Greg HarperGain insights into industrial manufacturing and the chemicals space from Charles Aris senior vice president Greg Harper, who recently discussed the state of engineering and operational opportunities with Charles Aris marketing associate Joe Metts:

Joe: Manufacturing job totals in the United States have seen a sharp decline in recent decades, but have actually increased over the past few years. What human capital trends are you seeing in today’s marketplace?

Greg: The biggest thing is probably the advancement of the skill sets required. In recent years, probably from the early 2000s to now, there’s been a lot more automation and a lot more sophistication in manufacturing – all of which requires sophisticated skill sets. Previously, I would say a lot of manufacturing minds could be high-school educated or could otherwise learn their craft and perform well on a manufacturing line, but that’s no longer the case today. You have a lot more automation that takes a mechanical, electrical or industrial engineer to operate some of that sophisticated machinery.

Joe:’s chief economist noted that manufacturing jobs, as a share of total employment, hit an all-time low in July 2017. Why are talented professionals choosing to work in industries outside manufacturing?

Greg: I think one, as a society, we aren’t pushing enough of our children into STEM programs. I don’t think people see the value of it yet. The younger generation going into the marketplace today often wants to work for the Googles, eBays and Amazons of the world instead of in manufacturing environments. People can make a great living in manufacturing industries. A local university, North Carolina State, just reported that the top 10 percent of their engineering graduates are graduating and starting their careers with salaries of $70,000-plus per year. As a society – and as business leaders and education leaders and recruiting leaders – we’re not promoting that enough. We aren’t emphasizing that with high schoolers who are going into college, especially females. I would love to see us steer more females into the engineering field; we’re just not broadcasting that message. It’s industry itself that’s more at fault than anything.

Joe: Automation has transformed many jobs in an increasingly high-tech manufacturing environment, creating a technical skills gap. How has this impacted your searches for top talent?

Greg: Significantly. For one, higher-skilled people require higher compensation. You have to make clients understand that to replace a skill set that’s previously been a job with X wage with one that requires a higher education and expertise, there can be a 15-20 percent delta. You have to educate them from that perspective. The other thing is a huge delta between younger employees getting into engineering and the number exiting. There’s an almost-sufficient number of younger employees but a severe deficiency in senior and middle management. As a result, companies have to go out and pilfer talent from competitors because that’s the only place they can reliably find it.

Joe: Where do you see the firm’s Engineering & Operations recruiting practice moving next?

Greg: I think you’re going to see – and we’re starting to see it already with a few of our clients – the analytics piece that’s been popular on the consumer side with regard to getting and analyzing and acting  on real-time data. What do consumers think about products? You’re now seeing the same need for data analytics and assimilation on the manufacturing side because of all the automation. There’s a big gap there, so we’re seeing a lot more cause for people with strong mathematics and analytical skills to come into manufacturing environments for both data assimilation and modeling, which in previous years hasn’t been a need. I think that’s going to be a huge uptick for us as we continue to identify and land the very best talent for our clients here at Charles Aris.

Joe: While continually focused on developing new business, you have a track record for building and sustaining lasting relationships with existing clientele. What’s the key to cultivating such meaningful and effective partnerships with hiring authorities?

Greg: You know, if I knew that, I’d do it better; maybe I’d even write a book about it! I think one is practicing our first, and I think the most important, of our 22 guiding principles: Be open, honest and candid with your clients, especially when it comes to relaying bad news. Most every search, at some point, hits a rough patch along the road, so trying not to gloss over that, recognizing that and talking it through with the client – all while making sure they understand that you have their best interests in mind. Anybody can deliver good news. The most effective search firms, and people who build good relationships in a business environment, are those willing to deliver bad news as well.

Joe: What’s one piece of advice you would give to those hiring authorities who need and seek A-level talent?

Greg: Hold onto it if you’ve already got it! You need a great onboarding program when you do bring someone in who’s an A-level talent. You need to continue to give them feedback; don’t ever have them guessing where they stand in the organization. You also have to do things which continue to promote their skills – especially from a soft skills perspective. Engineers learn the linear aspects and they have technical expertise. What engineers typically don’t learn when they are going through their training are the soft skills: how to coach, how to mentor, how to develop other people and get that knowledge out of their head and into practice. That’s the biggest thing that I see lacking in manufacturing today: We’re not doing enough to teach seasoned engineers how to relate to people better, to coach, mentor and develop that next person in line.

Have a mission-critical hiring need or simply want to learn more? Speak with Greg Harper today by calling 336-378-1818, extension 9123, or email him at [email protected].

Original Source: USA - Charles Aris Inc.

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