C-Level Recruitment


Romanian managers are more oriented towards respecting the rules than on communication and creativity, a recent study shows, and they tend to be promoted based on technical skills and specialisation. In order to choose the right person for a leadership position, especially in the context of working in a pandemic, a candidate must also demonstrate coaching and mentorship skills, explained the guests of the show Gandul Financiar.

What are the selection criteria for a top manager? 

The recruitment of the right person for a manager role is based not only on the professional and technical competencies, explained for Gandul Financiar Alexandra Ene, consultant at Signium – Stein & Partner, a consulting company specialised in executive search.

“Customers often come to us with a few written lines – we want someone who knows this and this. And it’s never just about that. It is about understanding the business as a whole, about aligning the stakeholders- with whom the respective person will work, what the teams look like, what are the directions of the business itself “, explained Alexandra Ene. Thus, executive search specialists take into account the skills, abilities, personality, motivation, energy but also the coaching and mentoring skills of the potential future managers.

Last year especially, the need for team guidance, communication and coaching skills was noticed. “Suddenly, managers found themselves unable to stop by employees computers to see what people were doing, therefore they had to be coaches and mentors and keep their teams close and motivate them and find other ways to engage them,” Alexandra Ene explained.

An example of a wake-up call for the need to change the management approach given by Alexandra Ene is an online team building, organized at the beginning of the pandemic, in which the employees were just looking at each other and at the clock, waiting for the allotted time to end.

“That’s why, when we look at a recruitment, we look at a very complex picture of how that person should be, in order to be able to give the right direction to the business she/he will manage, to fit in, to have these essential leadership skills, not only strategic and not only technical abilities”, Alexandra Ene underlined.

The recruitment grid for top managers is constantly adapted, and specialists work with various tools to help them complete the ideal profile. “Things change from day to day, from year to year. We do not have a competency matrix for a marketing role that we use in 2000, in 2020, and in 2040. We work customized on each project. We are very optimistic about the labour market and future managers and the collaboration between young managers and senior managers, because they have a lot to learn from each other “, says Alexandra Ene.

Trends in the recruitment market 

“What we can observe, when referring to the new generation of managers, is that they are prepared, our experience with them is favourable, we see more and more young managers, who study abroad, at top universities, MBAs, EMBAs, who invest in education, either personally or the companies that they work for, they are very competitive and very determined “, says Alexandra Ene. 

Regarding foreign companies, beyond the professional competencies, nationality plays a role in deciding to choose the managers. There are still several multinationals that are very keen on bringing managers of the company’s nationality, as Alexandra Ene explains, with the aim of ​​probably instilling in local employees a certain type of culture that is also in the parent company, and not because they are better prepared. “But indeed, we see this trend of looking for international experience, but local understanding, and we do have customers, both in services, as well as production, who are looking for local people who understand very well the local culture and who are able to bring together the teams “, the consultant specified.

In addition, choosing an outsider or, on the contrary, promoting one’s own employee is a decision directly correlated with the company’s objectives and typology. “Of course, people from the inside aspire, but if that company is at a time when it needs a fresh approach, then they can choose to bring in a manager from outside the company. Maybe when the manager withdraws due to retirement and the company wants to maintain the status-quo, they may think of promoting someone from the inside. Depending on the objectives, they can think of promoting someone from finance, sales or marketing, because, in general, the top manager obviously sets the tone for everything that happens in the rest of the company “, detailed Alexandra Ene. 

If you would like to read more and watch the filmed interview (in Romanian), please click here.

Recruiting CEOs during the pandemic

Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant, interviewed by Wall-Street.ro


Recruiting CEOs during the pandemic. What a head-hunter is paying attention to

The external context generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged leaders around the world. The pressure on their shoulders has increased because they have had to deal with a myriad of situations, some of them new, that require quick fixes. They must not forget to be close to people, to show empathy, to communicate transparently and to be flexible both with their teams, as well as with their partners and collaborators.

Although they are accustomed to the lack of predictability characteristic of the business environment, this situation was different, starting as a health crisis which subsequently affected society and the global economy. Among the things leaders should not lack can be named clarity, a permanent and specific communication, as well as a long-term vision, even when we are referring to online collaborations. For this reason, the approach to an executive search process is extremely important for a company that is looking for a suitable head for the organisation’s profile. Managers, through their role, are also the ones who must prove their responsibility, both for themselves and for the teams they lead. Therefore, a recruitment process for a CEO is essential for a company.

What does a recruitment process mean for a CEO? 

We discussed with Stela Ciupercea, Consultant at Signium – Stein & Partner, a German company with over 25 years of experience in Executive Search and Human Capital Advisory to see what a recruitment process means for a CEO in Romania and in Central and South-Eastern Europe, what is taken into account, what criteria does the company have in achieving the profiling of a good candidate.

 The recruitment process for a top management position (executive search) is a complex one, because we are talking about roles that have a direct impact on the long-term performance of their employees and companies. Regardless of the country, the approach for an executive search process is more or less similar, says the representative of Signium – Stein & Partner for Wall-street.ro.

“To begin with, we need to understand very well the client’s need, to sketch together the most suitable profile. This depends a lot not only on their expectations, but also on the internal strategic challenges, the external context, the entrepreneurial or corporate environment of the company and what stage the organization is in when hiring a new CEO – maybe it’s a mature company, which is strengthening its market position or one going through a transformation process, and the examples can continue (…) There is no pre-established “recipe”. – Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant 

How recruitment processes have changed during the pandemic 

Recruiting a CEO can be a real challenge, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic commenced and all the selection processes moved online. However, adjusting to the remote working and continuing the activity in the digital environment was not foreign to the specialists with experience in the labour market. In an executive search process, Signium – Stein & Partner’s experts rely both on directly contacting candidates considered suitable for a management role, and on a solid database, built over the years, which they can access from anywhere, as well as on their personal network, aspects that have not suffered since the beginning of the pandemic.

“On the other hand, the interview stage was different, as well as the presentation of the candidates to the decision-makers within the employing company. These were organized almost entirely online, compared to previous years, when direct interaction and face-to-face meetings were indispensable. – Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant

Stela Ciupercea says that although these processes were easily facilitated by technology, she noticed a greater reluctance from the candidates regarding the positions that involved travel or even relocation.

How should a CEO’s resume look like? 

Regardless of the position for which one applies, the CV represents the candidate’s photo, which ends up in the hands of a recruiter, to be read and evaluated. The situation is the same for a CEO. She/He must carefully write her/his CV, note down the information related to the experience gained, professional skills, qualifications, and studies, to create an image that is authentic and as clear as possible for the person reading and evaluating it.

“The focus should be on the responsibilities, but especially on the achievements she/he had at each stage of her/his professional career and show the direct contribution to the performance of the teams and companies which she/he worked with or for. If a CEO wants to take a step towards another industry, it is important to list details about previous companies, for example the business model, number of employees, level of responsibility, direct reporting, the evolution of the organisation during the period in which she/he was in charge of the company “, notes Stela Ciupercea.

As for the appendix of a CV, it does not have to be a long one because the large number of pages will not make the CV more interesting, the relevance of the content being what matters.

The domains in Romania with the most applications on top management positions

From the application perspective for top management positions, in Romania, the most dynamic industries are currently IT&C, FMCG, Retail and Logistics. At the same time, the Real Estate and Construction sectors were attractive from this point of view, especially because the local market created more opportunities for transactions during this period.

“Most executive search projects have been conducted in areas such as FMCG, Production, Private Equity and Technology, and at the level of positions, there has been a significant increase in recruitment projects for CFO (Chief Financial Officer) roles, compared with previous years”, explained Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant

The specialist also says that although 2020 was an unpredictable year, the demand for executive search services in Romania remained at a similar level compared to previous years. Last year, about 20 companies appointed new executives to lead companies in sectors such as FMCG, Pharma and IT&C.

If you would like to read the full version from Wall-Street, click here.