The Position:

A Fortune 500 big pharma client of mine was looking for a new Senior Director to join their team. The company has a great reputation and great products, as well as a good product pipeline. They also had a laundry list of must haves for this candidate. The ideal candidate would need to have experience with managing a large global team, be an expert in primary and secondary market research and be the subject matter expert for all things related to product launches. It was an exciting position with broad exposure and opportunity to shine. So far, so good.

The Challenge:

The salary they were offering was below market value for a Senior Director with this level of global responsibility. The industry, the global focus and the high cost of living location of this position warranted a higher base salary. After consulting with human resources and the line staff about salary, all parties were aware this could be a tough fill.

The Search:

Knowing salary would NOT be a selling point for this role, I had to figure out other aspects that would be compelling enough for a candidate to make a move from their current position. Trajectory, pipeline, and culture were all significant pluses for this position. I had to target candidates who were NOT looking for a 15% increase in their base but were looking for a change that would significantly impact their career long term. This ideal person would have a passion for the patient and product and would turn this launch into such a success that their career would be positively impacted. This candidate would recognize that this opportunity had more to offer than just a salary increase.

The Match:

Screening over 50 candidates for skills, salary expectations and motivation weeded out those who were only looking for a title bump or a salary increase. I forwarded 12 qualified candidates to my client for multiple rounds of phone interviews and in-person meetings. One candidate was identified and salary negotiations were straight-forward since all parties were aware of what the cap was. It was a great match! My client hired someone who is dedicated to the work, the product and the organization. While the candidate did get a slight increase in salary, they knew the real benefit to them in accepting this offer was the long term growth in an organization that would provide many options in the future.

Looking for an opportunity or a hire? I’d love to work with you. Smith Hanley Associates Market Research Practice Lead, Lindsey Bartlett, at or 312-589-7586.

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