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Initial situation / Preliminary considerations

The company is a German producer of metal forming machines, with 800 employees and 10 international locations and they are looking for a General Manager (f/m) for their Czech subsidiary. The Czech branch office employs five people. Of these, three are responsible for sales in the Baltic States, Russia and Poland, one is responsible for the Czech Republic and one is an administrative assistant.

The headquarters in Germany are not satisfied with the revenue growth of this location. In the medium-term, the company wants to progress from only selling machinery in Eastern Europe to also providing maintenance services for their current and potential clientele.

As a result, on the one hand, our client is looking for candidates with extensive sales experience, while on the one hand, have experience in working within large corporate structures so as to be able to lead this expansion process. Also, the candidate needs to be able to speak English proficiently, as this is our client’s international operational language.

Procedure / Project realisation

The target list contains direct competitors as well as producers of CNC machines. We also add companies selling capital goods for the metal industry.

In the end, we have 244 companies on our target list, most of which are rooted within Germany or Western Europe in order to increase the likelihood that the successful candidate has had experience in dealing with German companies.

In the next phase, our team identifies the structures of the sales departments in the target companies and talks to the heads of the sales departments, their deputies and the key account managers. The interest in the position exceeded our normal expectations for this type of search, which made our selection process more complicated than we would normally expect.

Simultaneously to screening the candidates based on their professional qualifications, we were also able to assess their English-speaking competency by having a native English speaker do the first contacts. At this stage, we discover that there is a wide discrepancy within the candidates in regard to their English proficiency, which allows us narrow the large field further to ten people who are to be interviewed in Prague by our head consultants.

After conducting the interviews in Prague, we discover some additional issues with regard to the candidate’s corporate cultural practices that did not meet our client’s expectations or working environment. As a result, we eliminated six more candidates, leaving us with four to present to our client.

After meeting with our client for two presentations tot wo separate committees, they decide upon one candidate who will take over the responsibilities for the Eastern European market.