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Treating You Right
DRH - Talent Search, Brazil / Herbalife, Brazil IRC Global Executive Search Partners
‘Treating You Right’ Case Study
How Herbalife (South & Central America) found high-quality executive recruitment support – with superb communication, detailed project management and a hands-on partner in DRH-Talent Search (IRC-Brazil), a member firm with IRC Global Executive Search Partners
The Company Herbalife is a global nutrition company that has helped people pursue healthy, active lives since 1980. Herbalife products are available exclusively through approximately 2.3 million independent Distributors in 79 countries. The HR Professional Eliana Molina joined Herbalife Brazil in 1997, initially as the right-hand person to the General Manager. As the company was establishing in South and Central America, she gained experience across many business sectors, including legal, licensing, administration – and Human Resources (HR). Eliana has more than 30 years’ experience in recruitment and selection. “I like to work, even with raising a family,” she explains. “Fortunately, I have the ability to work in many areas, including managing the legal side, such as protecting the company’s products, but I feel happiest in HR. I’ve concentrated on developing company-wide concepts, best practices, and policies always with an eye on HR.” Her executive MBA (2009) thesis was also in HR. “When most people feel comfortable that they may have studied enough, that’s when I usually decide to learn something new,” she laughs. “I’m travelling a lot now, so I’m investing in more specific education, such as seminars or short HR courses. I also read a lot, on leadership, HR, people, new initiatives. I’m always learning new things, better techniques.” Eliana is now Herbalife South & Central America’s Senior Director, Human Resources, based in São Paulo, Brazil. Her busy travel schedule takes her throughout South and Central America, and to Herbalife’s head office in Los Angeles, USA. Searching For a New Firm To fill Herbalife’s management and executive vacancies, Eliana previously worked only with large, multinational recruitment companies: “I wanted to make sure there was high-quality support for internal clients, to provide the best possible experience.” However, she was also aware of the need to expand her network of companies (as she usually worked with just three of the largest ones), and she wanted to give an opportunity to different companies, and experience their way of working. So, she met with a manager in the company, who previously reported to her, and whose judgement she trusted. “I told him that I wanted to try working with some different companies, and that I would use a new company on one of my own recruitment challenges, before using that firm for internal clients.” Her contact suggested a number of companies, including DRH - Talent Search (DHR), IRC Brazil, a São Paulo-based executive search firm, and a member of IRC Global Executive Search Partners, a global network of retained executive search firms. However, he remarked that it might be inappropriate to use such a relatively small, boutique-style firm.
Eliana Molina Herbalife South & Central America’s Senior Director, Human Resources
Eliana disagreed, as she felt that a boutique company might offer her the customized attention she wanted from a search firm. “So, I called the company,” she says. “Hamilton Teixeira, DRH’s managing partner, came out to see me. We discussed his company’s approach to the search business, including the detailed project management process and attention to detail. I liked what I heard, but I was concerned about price. The larger firms I had worked with could offer me a volume discount, but I couldn’t expect that from DRH. However, they offered a competitive price – not the cheapest, nor the most expensive – and so I could work with them.” [Hamilton confirms that he is passionate about providing the kind of personal ‘boutique’ service that he feels is often missing from executive search agencies. He has comprehensive experience in the search industry: he hired headhunters for 20 years, he has been a candidate many times, and is now a headhunter himself (for the last 10 years) – “so you know the feeling, and we understand what the client needs, and we also treat the candidate in the way we would have liked to have been treated.”] For her initial experience with DRH, Eliana decided they would work together on a managerial position that reported to her, so that she could be more confident in then having the firm work with Herbalife’s internal clients.
Hamilton Teixeira DRH Managing Partner
Communication is the key “The first search was amazing!” says Eliana. “I had a complicated business agenda, and DRH adapted itself to the needs of me and the project. Even when I was not available in my office, they found a way of keeping the project on track.” That effective time management included sending candidate profiles to her home address when she was in between business trips, and not in the office, and being available almost anytime, including late at night. “DRH worked with me as if I was here and available. There were no difficulties at all – and there are usually difficulties! Communication is key. Often, you call the person in the company leading the search process, and they’re simply not available, in a meeting, with a client – and call backs take a long time to happen. Just trying to keep in touch usually takes up a lot of time in a project, but with DRH that simply wasn’t a problem, because they were always available.” DRH carefully structured the project, and organized timelines that were closely monitored and adhered to. [Hamilton says DRH always provides a detailed schedule of each step, from the moment the position specification is approved, through the next 30 to 40 days to the final reports with candidate selection. In this case, it was four candidates – a good problem of choice!] Eliana found that the attention to detail helped her to prioritize, too. “I felt that DRH was really a partner with me, and I was confident the project was never in jeopardy.” Superb Quality Eliana found the candidate quality was superb, with the entire process being carefully handled. She firmly believes that senior people should always be involved in the process, which doesn’t happen all the time. “I get very tired of seeing candidates who are simply not prepared. Time is precious – both my time and the candidates’ time. I respect them a lot – and when a candidate is unprepared, I feel the search firm is inconsiderate of everyone’s time.” [One of the biggest challenges with this position was the language requirement of fluency in Spanish, Portuguese and English, confirms Hamilton. “It is not common for some of the executive categories in
Brazil to have fluent English language skills. We are now more integrated and young people will speak many languages. Besides the technical skills, we also pay a great deal of attention to attitude, to personality and to the ‘fit’ for the specific business culture/environment. That’s why I like to visit the company’s office and location before starting the search process.”] The vacant position was a strategic one, as Training and Development Regional Manager. It required a senior manager who was trilingually fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. DRH sent four different candidates to Eliana, although she admits that any one of them was perfectly suited to the position. “I selected A and B, but if they didn’t work out I wasn’t worried, because I knew that the other candidates also had the right profile. It was obvious a senior person had been involved in the initial selection and subsequent short listing.” Conclusion Eliana selected the final, successful candidate, who has worked in the position for almost four months. “It’s worked out really well,” she says, adding that DRH also goes one step further by offering coaching/ mentoring to the new employee. [DRH offers coaching/mentoring for the successful candidate. “We provide three one-hour meetings, providing practical and innovative support. We explain the critical need to understand the environment, and the people, before making any changes.” Meetings are prior to the position take up, then at 30 and 60-day intervals.] “It can be a difficult time for a new employee, facing a new culture, new building, new people, new everything!” says Eliana. “The coaching helps him be successful in his new job, which means Herbalife is successful, too.” Eliana says: “DRH opened a different perspective of executive search for me – and I haven’t even visited their offices, yet!”
ABOUT DRH-Talent Search IRC Global Executive Search Partners - Brazil At DRH - Talent Search (DHR) we offer a personal touch where clients and candidates can talk to the partners, not just to consultants. We concentrate on a single objective: finding the outstanding candidates that fit the professional and cultural needs of your organization, and will contribute significant value over the long-term. ABOUT IRC Global Executive Search Partners With a growing roster of leading executive search firms across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia, IRC Global Executive Search Partners has more than 250 accomplished executive search professionals. Ranked among the world’s 15 largest retained search firms, IRC Global Executive Search Partners has been providing consistent and high-performance executive search solutions to its clients for the past eighteen years.
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