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In an uber competitive environment for the best recruiting assignments, I continually look for ways to stand out vs. the “executive” search firms. This newsletter, writing career advice columns for Corporate Counsel and moderating panels at conferences have been my main “go to” activities for maintaining a presence within the in-house community.

But when it comes to landing a plum opening, nothing is more important than word-of-mouth and testimonials.

Asking for a client testimonial can be uncomfortable. It feels egocentric, some companies have policies against giving them (even if the individual client contact wants to do it), and timing is tricky. Do you ask for the testimonial right after you make a placement, while the goodwill of the process is fresh and you have everyone’s attention? Or do you wait until the new placement is no longer new, so that success can be defined by the track record of the hire?

We just completed a website update project, and as part of that process I realized that many of our client testimonials have aged. I am grateful for every testimonial and view their value as ongoing. Hopefully they speak to the consistency of our work. But this project prompted me to go out and ask for new ones, something I haven’t done in a few years.

I really do feel humbled by the response. I am particularly proud of one from Alex Green, the first general counsel for Primient (food products company spun out from Tate & Lyle last year). If your company is considering search engagement, here it is:

“As the first General Counsel of Primient, hiring the right Assistant General Counsel was a high priority. Mike earned the search opportunity based on past success helping me fill out my legal team at a prior company, and he came through again. The person he found for the role at Primient has been a great addition to our team. Mike is easy to work with, very responsive and someone I would highly recommend.”

Thank you Alex, and thank you to all of our wonderful clients!

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