Who are we & why might you care?
Bearhug Recruiting is a boutique executive search agency that works with the founders and investment teams of early & growth-stage VC/PE backed B2B SaaS companies who need help headhunting the top 10% of senior-level GTM talent from their larger competitors who can drive the business forward faster.
WHY EARLY & GROWTH-STAGE?
Our expertise and passion is in partnering with companies who are early or in high growth mode and are looking to cross the chasm from ~1m to 20m in ARR, ideally without further dilution, by adhering to strict A-Player talent acquisition standards.
WHY SENIOR GTM LEADERSHIP ROLES?
If you take a handful of competing SaaS companies similar in size, and stack them up side by side, you’ll often find that it’s not the company with the best product that wins in the market. It’s more often than not the company that has a superior marketing and sales engine that’ll blow everyone else out of the water (even if their product is sub-par). Marketing and sales is in our DNA, which is why we’ve chosen to build our entire practice around this specific area of specialization.
WHY B2B ENTERPRISE SAAS?
Our roots go deep in the world of B2B software. We love the team structure and SaaS revenue model and the often 10x multiples that go along with it. If we drill down even deeper, our sweet spot is partnering with founders and investors who are working in the realm of AgTech, CleanTech, EdTech, HRTech, and FinTech. This is the realm where our true passion lies, and where we can create true magic as long-term talent partners for our clients.
The Business Case for Bearhug
Consider the Following:
The #1 challenge for every company on earth is hiring outside talent*
1 out of every 2 new hires in the USA will churn within 18 months*
The true cost of a mis-hire is estimated at 5x to 15x their annual salary (100K salary = 1.5MM loss)*
Candidates lie on their résumé and to your face during a job interview 81% of the time*
50% is the average hiring accuracy (skip the interview, flip a coin, and you’ll wind up with the same hit-rate)*
84% of people said they’d leave their job if offered the chance to work for a company with a stronger reputation*
The #1 mistake made during the hiring process is the hiring authority not clearly defining what they want the new recruit to accomplish*
90% of hiring managers skip doing reference checks (or treat them as a joke) because they have zero interest in hearing bad news about a candidate they've fallen in love with!*
We know all about the bad rap some recruiting agencies have earned for themselves.
That’s not us.
SETTING THE SCENE
It’s Monday Morning
You’re digging your way out of your email inbox and your phone rings. It’s a recruiter on the other end of the line:
“Hey there! I’ve run across a superstar who might be a great fit for your organization! Can I send you their resume?”.
You hear them out, but you can’t help but roll your eyes. Very little, if any, research has been done beforehand to understand your company, your culture, or your needs.
They’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks hoping to earn a commission. But, you do need great people, so you clarify: “I’m NOT interested in that profile, but I could use a _______.”
24 hours later and BOOM! Your inbox gets flooded with the same ol’ resumes from the same ol’ locations that HR already has exposure to and that you’ve already passed on.
We get it. Your annoyance is justified.
However, that’s the complete opposite of what you’ll get working with us.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
The Benefits of Working with Bearhug
1. This happens to be our dream job.
We’ve chosen this niche because we want to back the specific work you’re doing in the world. We believe partnering with startups that build solutions that enable other businesses to be more efficient, make better data driven decisions, and connect with their customers on a more personal level is a game worth playing.
2. This rare breed of candidates is our specialty.
At Bearhug, we only recruit executive level candidates that are gainfully employed, yet have a legitimate reason to consider leaving for a better opportunity. Our candidates are required to demonstrate that they have the chops to navigate the shifting nature of a startup. Yes, this is a rare breed. And this our speciality.
3. We fish and we dish. And there’s a 90% chance they’ll match.
Each candidate we work with is put through an incredibly rigorous vetting process to ensure: A) they’re in the top 10% of their skill bracket, and B) they have a 90% chance of being a match for your organization.
4. We guarantee 3 qualified candidates within 30 days.
With each exclusive assignment we take on, you’re guaranteed 3 qualified candidates within 30 days regardless of the role. A job well done equates to you wanting to hire each and every candidate we present.
5. Our vendor network takes our service capabilities way beyond Search.
Through the unique combination of our internal services, paired with those of our vendor network, rest assured, whether you need help generating:
more top of funnel leads for sales,
collateral for marketing,
data science insight to help your product team prepare for an artificial intelligence initiative, or
Together we’ll work to ensure you get the right people plugged in, each with the emotional intelligence and intrinsic motivation to increase shareholder value and help you win.
The Partnership Journey
You need help. We can deliver. But first, let’s invest a few minutes getting acquainted to ensure we’ll be a good fit.
Intro sessions are 30-minutes in length and are typically conducted 1x1 with the Founder/CEO. Value will be exchanged and insights gained regardless of whether we choose to enter into a partnership.
Onboarding starts with a 2-hour workshop between all parties involved in the hiring decision.
As a group, we’ll create the candidate scorecard, clearly outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, personality, compensation, benefits, and most importantly, the key business outcomes that define success in the role.
On average, ~150 passive candidates go in the top of the funnel to result in 3 that pop out the bottom with a 90% chance of being the chosen one. We guarantee to deliver these final three within 30 days for retained engagements. (sample Candidate Brief here)
You’ll receive weekly progress reports and complete visibility into our search process from start to finish. A job well done looks like you wanting to hire each of the 3 candidates you’re presented with.
Now it’s your turn to meet these superstars! Being that we’ll provide you with such an in-depth view of who these candidates are via the candidate brief, these will prove to be some of the most enjoyable interviews you’ve conducted in your life.
Being that all sides will have been pre-closed ahead of time using hypothetical offers and acceptances, you can expect the negotiation and transition to be smooth as butter. No surprises!
Step 5: Celebration
By partnering exclusively with Bearhug, you can go ahead and start celebrating early. Why?
Because Steve Jobs was right:
Client Eligibility Criteria
THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA MUST BE MET TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CLIENT STATUS
Your company must be viewed by our network of industry peers as being in the top 20% of your designated market. We verify this through industry accepted documentation (not self-declaration).
Whatever it takes attitude
You must be so committed to securing the strongest talent available, that traditional HR protocol is secondary to acquiring the right talent. Exceptional candidates call for exceptions to the rules.
Decision team participation from the start
Your decision team must participate in our initial intake session to gain understanding of our Bearhug Partnership Process. This will allow them to remain in sync with our candidate evaluation efforts and will save time and minimize surprises. Training and guidance on this front is a core part of our value added service to you as our client.
Your word and signed fee agreement must be your bond of integrity. The clients we serve will be of the character that we would feel comfortable inviting into our homes for dinner with our families.
What You Can Expect as a Client
1. Search Intake & Culture Audit.
The experience you’ll have during this stage, will be unlike any you’ve had before. Our in-depth inquiries into the position scope, departmental objectives and culture fit are our secret sauce. The easiest part of running a search is matching technical skills with the job spec. The hardest part is matching a candidate’s soft skills to the correct style and flavor of your team in a way that’ll unlock and activate each candidate’s full capacity and creativity.
2. No Job Boards.
Engage with us after you’ve tried that and hit a dead end. With our exclusive retained executive leadership engagements, we have zero interest in finding people looking for a new job. You’re hiring us to find you a needle in a haystack. We hunt for talent that has their heads down, swimming in a pool of excellence. Bearhug candidates are selected based on being professionally vetted by their peers, NOT by their aggressive availability and personal advertisements. BE ADVISED: When we present one of these unique individuals (we lovingly call them “fish”) to you, you’ll need to deviate from protocol and clear your calendar.
3. We don’t pitch jobs. We don’t bait candidates.
There’ll be no exposing you to tire kicker candidates. Before we ever discuss a specific opportunity, candidates have fully divulged their future utopia. We don’t sell jobs. We are skilled matchmakers. We dig deep and listen for the truth before anything else happens. Bored opportunists never make it past us. If we can’t find a legitimate career wound that will motivate a top tier candidate, they are not eligible for a Bearhug.
4. Interview Preparation.
Important candidates require special attention. They are equally as bright as you are and will be turned off by the slightest hint of a “wing it” type interview. We’ll take no chances of you risking the candidate misjudging your company’s management style by being under-prepared. We’ll guide you every step of the way.
Our candidate assessments go beyond the typical résumé and biased reference checks you’re accustomed to. Our process includes preparing you for each phone or in-person interview in a way that’ll give you such an in-depth look at the candidate and such a clear picture of how, where, and why they align with you, you’ll go into the interviews 100% confident and in control.
5. Honest, clear-cut debriefing.
No games. No playing both sides. We work for you, not the candidate. If the candidate has any “gaps”, you’ll know about them right from the start. At the conclusion of us doing our backchannel reference checks, you’ll get a transcription of our calls.
If all parties do their jobs, meaning all sides have been pre-closed with hypothetical offers and acceptances, transitions will be smooth as butter. If we feel an offer won’t be accepted, it will not be extended.
To do our job well, you must give us your trust. We’ll do the same in return. Our effort will be long lasting and result in your company having an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Better talent equals greater innovation, efficiency, and productivity, which equals less headaches and more time for vacations. More time for vacations means more happiness. That’s the best form of a bearhug we can provide you. And we’ll prove it with each and every assignment.
Ready for your bearhug?
X marks the spot
115 Belle Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
Send us a message and we’ll be in touch to set up an exploratory discovery call to discuss:
Your strategic goals in the coming 6-12 months, and talent gaps you need to fill to get there with confidence.
Should we both determine we’re a good fit for a true talent partnership, we’ll book a 2nd call to better understand the immediate role(s) you’re looking to fill and we’ll discuss next steps.
Note: If you’ve yet to read our most recent case study, you can do so here.