Don’t let your competitors headhunt the best talent while you get crushed.

Fact: Most hiring is done “Ready, Fire, Aim”, which is why 1 out of every 2 hires in the US will churn within 18-months. You can do better than 50%.



Who are we & why might you care?

Bearhug Recruiting is a boutique executive search agency that partners with the founders and investment teams of high-growth AgTech, BioTech, FoodTech, CleanTech, and B2B SaaS companies focused on global sustainability solutions.

Click here to watch a short video on our approach to search

Click here to see a snapshot of our search process

Click here to read a recent Case Study

It’s not even fair to compare Kraig to other recruiters. He’s not even in the same playing field. A very high bar has been set.
— Kourosh Zamanizadeh, COO at Ping Inc.


Our expertise lies in partnering with companies who’ve put in the time and testing to achieve product/market fit and are ready to scale. This is the perfect time for a partnership with Bearhug, as our talent network can easily be plugged in and have an immediate impact. Our ideal client has between 10 and 500 employees, generating ~2m+ in annual revenue, and has raised a recent round of funding with a mandate to grow.



If you take a handful of competing 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. Instead, it’s the company with superior marketing and an optimized 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 placing senior level GTM leaders who are a profit center and can quickly move the needle.



Our passion lies in working with the founders & investment teams focused on global sustainability solutions that tie directly to the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Our sweet spot is working with companies that bring data science to the real world through applications up and down the value chain from the farmers who grow the food, on up to the enterprises that produce and package products sold to end consumers. This is the realm where our true passion lies, and where we can create magic as long-term talent partners for our clients. However, B2B SaaS companies have hired us with great success too. A successful talent partnership boils down to having good chemistry and shared values with 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.



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.

Ninety percent of executives think people leave their job for more money. That’s true for only 12%.

The real reason people leave is because they had a lousy manager who didn’t recognize or challenge them, or the role wasn’t a good fit in the first place.

The solution? Hire 5 A-players, pay them like 8, and get the result of having hired 10 to 20 B- or C-players.
— Kraig Ward, Founder & Managing Director


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 tech startups and growth companies focused on global sustainability solutions that are in some way tied to cleaning the air, cleaning the water, and protecting the environment and the earth’s resources 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 2 exceptional A-level candidates (or 1 that you hire) within 30 days.

With each exclusive assignment we take on, you’re guaranteed 2 exceptional A-level candidates (or 1 you hire) within 30 days regardless of the role. A job well done equates to you wanting to hire each person 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

  • executive search…

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.

Step 1


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.

Step 2


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.

Step 3


On average, ~100 passive candidates go in the top of the funnel to result in the best popping out the bottom with a 90% chance of being the chosen one. We guarantee to deliver 2 exceptional A-level candidates (or 1 you hire) within 30 days for retained assignments.

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 candidates you’re presented with.

Step 4


Now it’s your turn to meet the talent! Being that we’ll provide you with such an in-depth view of who these candidates are ahead of time, these conversations 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:

I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.
— Steve Jobs

Client Eligibility Criteria



Top 20%

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.

6. Negotiating.

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.

7. Trust.

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
United States


Let’s Talk

Before you fill out the form on the right, please take a few minutes and watch this short introductory video.

Once you’ve completed that, we’ll be in touch to set up an exploratory discovery call to discuss:

  • Your strategic goals over the next 12 months, and talent gaps you’ll need to fill to get there with absolute confidence.

  • On that call should we both determine we’d be good potential partners, we’ll set up a 2nd call to discuss the specifics of your most pressing role(s) and sort out how we can create value together.

Note: If you’ve yet to review our most recent case study, you can do so here.

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