The Challenge

It is not unusual for companies in general to look for someone outside when there’s a lack of in-house talent. However, in companies with a pyramidal structure, this is comparatively rare. In these, often professional services companies, employees work their way up from the bottom with the aim of eventually becoming partners in the firm. It is the culture of the organization which fundamentally complicates the search.

They call them “signings” just like in football (though technically referred to as “lateral hirings”) where the professionals incorporated through this kind of contract, are watched closely within the organization. Just like in a football club, if they succeed and produce good results for the team, relationships flourish and all will be well.

In fact, this kind of search is closely related to what happens in a football league. The culture of the company intending to hire a talented professional is always the key to satisfaction, on both sides. When it comes to critical positions posts, this satisfaction can be measured in both in terms of the business and the costs of opportunity.

Our approach and success

Considering this kind of search, the legal sector is especially complex, and requires a detailed knowledge of the law firms who employ the professionals with the most potential. However, that is still not enough. Someone who is usually highly esteemed by his company and has not considered a career move must be convinced that a change presents a real opportunity for him. In many cases, whether he decides to change depends on the professional career possibilities in both situations.

If we also take into account the fact that the company making the offer is one of the Big Four, the search becomes even more complex. Integrating into a pyramidal culture can be very hard where lateral hiring is rare and where in-house professionals hope to climb the ladder to the top.

In this case, the local team itself may pose difficulties for anyone not following the same path as the rest.

The position in question implies responsibility for developing the company’s legal division, one of the business areas with highest growth potential and where the Big Four are fighting to position themselves and acquire as much of the market share as they can.

The legal wing of an auditing firm is divided into legal and fiscal. It requires a great deal of technical knowledge but, above all, a high level of professional prestige and an exemplary career path both regarding the external market and also in terms of internal integration. That was the focus of the search and the reason for its success.

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