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Executive Search
for Employers

You’re busy running a business. Trust your search to those who have the time and expertise to do the job right, the first time.
 
Our job is to make you look good. We know employers want to hire the very best and we know the cost, pressure and reputational damage that comes with a bad hire.
 
Pekarsky & Co. offers best-in-class executive search process, deep industry knowledge, and highly educated and professional search consultants and researchers to ensure your C-Suite positions and other senior roles are executed flawlessly.

 
Our executive search professionals:
 

red line  TRUSTED BY  red line


United Way
Deloitte
Shell
Enbridge
Encana
Agrium
University of Calgary
Juno
Tourism Calgary
Travel Alberta


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“Pekarsky & Co. are experts in the industry and market and have proven that they are knowledgeable not only about our company but just as importantly, about our company culture. The candidates they propose not only have the skills and background for the position but also fit seamlessly into our team.  The personal attention and attention to ‘fit’ within an organization sets Pekarsky & Co. apart from the others.”

- General Counsel, Oil and Gas
“They are boutique – not only in terms of how they cultivate relationships, but how they communication with their clients – the personalization, the whimsy, the open-dialogue – like you’re conversing over coffee. It’s not buttoned up and corporate”

- Director Human Resources, Oil & Gas
“They maintain that small, boutique feel; it’s high-touch, great communication, you always know they are on it. They are like an extension of your own team. It doesn’t have that big, artificial feel [of their competitors].”

- Human Resources Director, Environmental Services
“What sets Rick apart from other recruiters is the feeling of complete confidence that he instills in his clients. I know that Rick is committed to do whatever it takes to find the RIGHT candidate, and not just settle on the first person to apply for a position.”

- President, Services Company
The Pekarsky & Co. Team is highly professional, extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.  The client service that Pekarsky & Co. delivers is exceptional and far exceeds all of the other recruitment agencies I have dealt with in the past.

- Lawyer, Canadian University
"I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism that Ranju and the rest of the Pekarsky & Co. team demonstrated towards me when I was searching for a new opportunity.  During the interview and screening process she was very thorough; she asked detailed and appropriate questions, followed up with me when she promised she would, and kept me in the loop on where I stood in each step of the process so that I was never left hanging."

- Vice President Human Resources, Manufacturing
“They drive value through focus.”

- Vice President Corporate Services Human Resources, Environmental Services
“As an executive who has interacted with dozens of national and global recruiting agents and firms over the years, Pekarsky & Co. is simply the most respectful, collaborative and ultimately effective recruiting firm you will find. From a candidate perspective, I felt that I was truly understood and respected and from a client perspective, we are totally satisfied with the proactive approach to finding long-term, culturally-aligned candidates. Pekarsky & Co. re-humanizes recruiters.”

- Chief Marketing Officer, Law Firm
“There are firms out there that have a reputation for getting a sale, but not necessarily interested in the fit. I need more than a salesperson. I don’t want a salesperson. I get that they are selling services, but I want them to listen to our needs and what we are looking for, and bring forward a candidate that is in both parties’ best interest. That’s what Pekarsky & Co. does.”

- Vice President Human Resources, Oil & Gas
“It is important for our firm to work with recruiting professionals who are bright, responsive, conscientious and knowledgeable.  Everyone we have dealt with at Pekarsky & Co. has met those requirements and more.  We have also been extremely pleased with the candidates that they have brought to us, two of whom we successfully hired in recent months.”

- Director Recruitment, Global Law Firm
“In addition to what one might normally expect in the scope of an executive search, Rick also guided the leaders of our organization in creative brainstorming to discuss key positions and the skills and attributes we will require to advance our strategic direction. I can highly recommend and endorse Rick’s executive recruitment expertise and influence.”

- Executive Director, Corporate Services and Office Accountability, Office of the Auditor General of Alberta
“I go to Pekarsky & Co. because I know that they are connected and on the inside looking out, not on the outside looking in.”

- Partner, National Law Firm

EXECUTIVE SEARCH STRATEGY

Not only do we understand the industry in which our clients operate, but we also bring a unique outlook to every senior level mandate we undertake. That outlook is this: the difficult part of any search is not actually finding the people–search firms global and local have equal access to the tools of the trade–but rather engaging them in a compelling and credible story on our client’s behalf.
 
We are an extension of your credibility in the marketplace and so the professionalism, integrity and persuasiveness with which we take your story to market will be the difference between landing a good candidate and a great one.
 
While the executive search process among various search firms is generally the same and while the access to information and candidates is also virtually indistinguishable (the old days of “he who has the largest Rolodex wins” having long given way to equal access via social media tools), the differentiator is the people within our organization and the ability with which they will be representing you and your story to the broader marketplace.

 

EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT PROCESS

What you can expect from the Pekarsky & Co. team at each stage of the recruitment process from preliminary research through to hiring your great candidate.


Process

PLUS: Every Friday we’ll send you a weekly progress report.

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Understanding the Requirements of the Role and Profile of Ideal Candidate
The process begins with a thorough understanding of the requirements of the role as well as the cultural fit required to be successful within the organization. The best way to discern this is through a comprehensive, frank and detailed kick-off meeting with the decision makers and other relevant points of view.
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In order to take a compelling and credible story to the marketplace, we must have as complete a picture as possible for the role we are recruiting. We work through a detailed client questionnaire in the kick-off meeting, in addition to a physical tour of the space, and, where possible, an opportunity to speak with people who had served in the role previously.

We would also try to ascertain other “ideal” candidates known to the client (specific people at other similar institutions whom we could “clone” for purposes of this search). In short, there is a direct correlation between the success of the search at the end of the process and the thoroughness of the launch at the beginning of it.

We approach executive recruitment in the same manner you would approach building a house and just as you would never put hammer to nail before finalizing a detailed set of drawings and architectural plans, so too would the team at Pekarsky & Co. never consider undertaking a search without first understanding every possible nuance and factor associated with a successful outcome.

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Executive Sourcing/Search Strategy
Executive recruitment strategy has evolved significantly over the last 10 to 15 years. While the reach of one’s “Rolodex” used to be paramount, the Internet has greatly leveled the playing field and all but neutered the advantage once held by those who simply knew more people.
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In fact, finding the people, though time consuming and critical, is no longer the hardest part of the executive recruitment process. The “science” of executive search, if you will, is pretty similar at firms large and small, global and local. It is the “art” of the search where different firms can add different degrees of value.

Once engaged by you, we piggyback your credibility in the market and you are an extension of ours. The art of the search is our ability to articulately and compellingly tell your story with conviction and credibility.

A firm that simply “dials for dollars” and isn’t prepared to, or able to, respond to difficult questions, address recent events or capture the essence of the role and the people involved will lose the candidate within moments of finding them.

We do not believe that advertising is always an effective recruitment strategy. In our experience, traditional print advertising is an expensive way to attract a high volume of mediocre candidates.

However, in certain circumstances and at your request it is something we will undertake by working through our communications firm to develop the appropriate look and feel for any such advert.  

We do believe in utilizing social media and other online tools, however, it is our view that there is no substitute for picking up the phone and leveraging our network and candidate database, reputation and expertise to arrive at the best results for you.

Once we determine the geographical reach of the search, we would map the space by identifying—through our research team—all potential relevant candidate pools including a search of our proprietary candidate database.

In conjunction with this mapping process, we would create a detailed position description outlining your company as a place to work, the specifics of the role, the benefits of working at your company and the personal characteristics we seek in a successful candidate.  

An abbreviated version of this document would be uploaded to our website and posted on various industry websites, if relevant.

Our firm has the capability to source candidates at the local, provincial, national and international scope (link to Global Reach page).

In addition to direct sourcing or “head-hunting” of prospective targets, we constantly meet passive job seekers; those gainfully though perhaps not happily employed who would not feel comfortable responding to a corporate posting but who we have license to contact if and when the ‘perfect job’ crossed our radar. We have met these types of candidates from all regions and retain all candidate information in our proprietary and leading-edge search database.

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Presenting Candidates
Once we arrive at a short list, we provide a detailed written candidate summary for each candidate on the short list. The summary provides a high level overview of the candidate, career history, key profile characteristics, motivation for the opportunity, compensation details and expectations, and any gaps or concerns we have identified through our pre-screen interview.
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No candidate will make the short list that is not, in our view, exceptionally well qualified to do the job. We do, however, strive to bring a range of suitable candidates to every short-list from the “up and comer” experience level to the “been there done that” profile.

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References, Education Validation and Criminal Background Checks
We routinely out-source the education verification, credit and criminal background checks and conduct them at offer stage with the finalist candidate. We conduct thorough references in-house and pride ourselves on the in-depth nature of our approach to such references.
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Far from a “check the box” exercise, we are often met with the comment from a reference, “great question” or “I’ve not been asked that before” as part of our reference process. We endeavour to listen for subtle suggestions from the reference, digging deeper into areas of concern that may be flagged either before the reference call or even during it, not afraid to stray off the script to capture value for our client.

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Negotiating the Offer
Our clients tend to take vastly different approaches when it comes to negotiating the offer and we are nimble and flexible enough to work with each of our clients to take the most effective approach to a successful closing.
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Some prefer to simply have us make available to them the basic compensation information for the candidate leaving it to the client to run the entire negotiation process from there. Others rely upon us to be the primary go between throughout.

Our preference is to play the role of honest broker by ensuring that clients and candidates alike can advocate fairly and forcefully for themselves, through us, without concern that their efforts in the course of the negotiation to secure the best result might somehow damage the relationship once the negotiations conclude.

Our role as a filter and “middle-man” can ensure that the client is able to secure the best candidate possible within the budgetary requirements and internal equities presented. There are few things that frustrate a client more than bringing a finalist candidate forward whose compensation requirements are completely unachievable.

We specifically avoid this scenario by clearly laying out the candidate’s current compensation and expectations in their Candidate Summary prior to interview stage.

By the same token, we work with the candidates to ensure they are acting fairly and reasonably given the compensation parameters of the role. We encourage candidates to consider the entire compensation package including the value proposition associated with the position, for example, work/life balance availability, pension and benefit plans, and parking.

Our ultimate goal is to be in a position whereby the client could have paid more but didn’t have to, while the candidate would have accepted less but didn’t need to. A true win/win is always the goal, and while not always possible, it is something we strive to achieve.

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Post Placement
If there are immigration, relocation or other legal considerations that need to be reviewed, we will undertake the necessary steps to work with you and outside vendors to ensure a smooth process.
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Of course, we know how to use the Internet and the telephone. But we have cultivated a network across Western Canada that spans the generations. We and the people who work for our firm and the families from whence we came have been doing business in Western Canada for over 100 years. We have worked with clients from Victoria to Halifax and most points in between.

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Updates on Search Progress
Throughout the course of the search we provide weekly detailed updates as to where we’ve been in the market.
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Our report contains two elements: first is an email overview of the general trends we are seeing the market including feedback on the opportunity and client organization, the people we’ve spoken with who express interest in the role and the sources who may be able to provide tips or leads on potential candidates. This is an important distinction from other search firms.

We think while confidentiality of a search is critical, those people who help us identify suitable candidates ought to be known to you. To conceal information from a client is in our view both patronizing and not indicative of a true client/service provider partnership.

We pride ourselves on our regular communication and always err on the side of over-communicating (i.e., calling you mid-week if the situation warrants) versus under-communicating (i.e., not reporting weekly even if the report is simply to tell you that our week in the market did not yield results).

The second critical element of our reporting process is the Project Update Report we attach to each email update. That report is pulled directly from our client relationship management tool. A PDF of the report is provided to you each week so that you can see our progress on a cumulative basis which may also be retained as an archival record of the search list for future similar searches.

The customized report breaks down the prospective candidates into “High Priority,” “Medium Priority,” and “Low Priority” candidates and is a very easy tool for our clients to quickly view a snapshot of where the search is at.

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Control Provisions
Each member of the team can access all search details and communication on a shared database and document drive. Our executive search database has customized tasks with delegation to specific team members for each step or phase of the search, which ensures that steps are not missed, proper documentation is captured and all the required steps are taken in the search process.
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This ensures proper knowledge management of data, consistent client and candidate management and also allows for consistent auditing of searches from beginning to end.

Finally, as further evidence of our commitment to compliance, we are the only search firm to use a Candidate Acknowledgement Form for the specific situation which sometimes arises when a candidate initiates contact with us and we learn they are employed by a client company of Pekarsky & Co.

We have them sign a very clear form acknowledging that they were not, in any direct or indirect way, recruited or induced by a member of the firm to come and see us. This is in adherence to our policy to not recruit from clients and further distinguishes us from our competition in the tangible and transparent manner in which we deal with these situations.

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Candidate Identification
Upon settling on a list of names arising from the mapping process, we would begin the process of reaching out to these individuals via telephone, Skype, email, or LinkedIn.
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If an individual expressed interest in the role we would screen them in-person where possible, conducted in depth by one of our search professionals. If we deemed the person suitable to move forward in the process and the candidate wished to be put forward, we would provide you the resume and a detailed write-up of the candidate outlining their background, their motivation for seeking a change, their compensation expectations and any gaps they may possess that should form the basis for further inquiry by you in the interview process. 

While it would be our goal to work to a short-list of between four and six candidates, we will not let the search process prevent us from presenting you a great candidate without delay. 

We are a results-based firm and feel that you would receive greater value if we delivered one stellar candidate quickly than if we engineered a short list solely to show you how hard we’ve worked.

During this interviewing stage, we manage the candidates in terms of scheduling meetings, providing interview feedback to you as the client, and updating the candidates in either “keeping them warm” or “closing them off”.

Based on our team’s 50+ years of executive search experience, the team at Pekarsky & Co. has learned to expertly assess candidate motivation, fit and applicability to the role. It is important to note that our team is comprised of people who have worked at some of the leading national and global search firms (Korn/Ferry International, Robert Half International, Conroy Ross Partners and Davies Park) and our training on all matters related to the candidate screening and interview process exemplifies industry best practice.

Our firm is comprised of extremely well trained and highly educated executive search professionals. These are not young professionals working their first job. Rather, the average age of the members of our firm is approximately 40 meaning most of us have spent significant amounts of our professional lives in other vocations (law, accounting, finance, environmental consulting, higher education) as well as serving on various community Boards of Directors and belonging to relevant member associations.

As a consequence, we do not deploy an army of juniors who have little to no experience; rather, we all bring our previous life experience and professional training to bear on each search, in each interview and throughout every phase of the mandate. This is critical when working senior-level, C-Suite roles.

Your credibility is an extension of ours; and vice versa. That credibility is greatly diminished if not lost entirely the moment a prospective C-suite candidate sits down to be pre-screened by someone relatively junior or who clearly doesn’t possess the life experience or technical training to properly evaluate the individual.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What happens if you’re unsuccessful filling the role?
We get it. You pay us a lot of money to find you the perfect candidate and you are absolutely right to ask ‘what if we pay you all this money and you don’t find us anyone?” There are three answers to this question. First, it almost never happens. In fact, our fill ratio over the course of our nearly 600 searches during our firm’s history is close to 99%.

Second, our fee structure motivates us to run through the finish line, no matter how long it takes. Unlike most traditional search firms who send invoices throughout the process, fully 2/3 of our fees are at risk until we successfully fill the role. Add to that, the Principals, Associates and Researchers on the project team for your search don’t get paid their performance bonus unless and until the search closes. Suffice to say, they don’t give up easily.

Third, in that one in a hundred times it does happen, usually our client has moved the goal posts during the course of the search.  So long as the search we are asked to execute upon reflects the “must haves” and core competencies as spelled out at the kick off meeting when the search is initiated and so long as the client isn’t entirely focused on hiring a purple squirrel, we’ll be successful. Full stop.
What is your area of search specialization?
Though we are best known for our expertise in legal search, we do much more than that. If the executive job exists at the corporate head office and is a manager-level role or above, we can help. Basically, any senior role in the company in legal, marketing, HR, finance, accounting or other areas broadly under the corporate services umbrella is our wheelhouse.

When times are booming, our task is to find a needle in a hay stack.  When the market is soft, our challenge is even greater: to find a needle in a needle stack.  Regardless of market conditions, you want to ensure you are hiring the very best person possible and we have the researches, resources and resourcefulness to do just that.
I thought you only did legal search?
Although we are best known for our legal search capabilities, having worked with 17 of the 30 largest law firms in Canada and executed dozens of high-profile General Counsel and other in-house roles, the truth is that legal search accounts for less than half our total searches. We have deep expertise across all functions of Corporate Services as well as extensive experience in the not-for-profit, higher education and public sector arenas.
What are your fees?
Our fees are unique in the industry and haven’t changed since we opened our doors in 2009. We charge a percentage of first year compensation (base salary plus target STIP) with only 1/3 of that projected fee required up front and the balance of 2/3 required only when we are successful filling the role.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Our guarantee is one year, meaning if at any time during the year immediately following the start date of the hire, the individual leaves the organization we will redo the search at no cost. 

However, we guarantee our work, not our client’s work so if it turns out upon further review that the individual wasn’t on-boarded effectively or was sold a bill of goods, we invite our clients to take ownership for that.
What is your differentiator?
Our single biggest differentiator is our boutique offering. Like a boutique hotel or a corner bookstore or a local coffee shop, we can customize our offering to fit our client’s needs, timing, preferred mode of communication or anything else, really. 

We pride ourselves in turning clients into friends and fans and our boutique offering is our ‘secret sauce.’  Whether it’s our exposed brick and sandstone offices, our policy of only displaying Alberta artists on our walls, our cupcake delivery to every placed candidate, or our constant and quiet devotion to paying things forward and doing good deeds, we know we are unlike any other search firm in Alberta.
What are your values?
We believe that people involved in a people business shouldn’t be afraid to have a little fun. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.   

The role of finding a great candidate for a client is part art, part science. We believe in intuition over psychometrics; constant communication over radio silence; and brutal honesty over strict adherence to the “client is always right” mantra. We believe our clients hire advisors to advise and we are not afraid to do just that.
What’s your national reach?
Of course, we know how to use the Internet and the telephone. But we have cultivated a network across Western Canada that spans the generations. We and the people who work for our firm and the families from whence we came have been doing business in Western Canada for over 100 years. We have worked with clients from Victoria to Halifax and most points in between.
Are you able to search globally?
Yes, absolutely, through our proud affiliation with Panorama, a global network of partners that together form an exclusive alliance of leading independent executive search firms, active over the world’s major time zones.

Panorama has over 30 offices and over 70 partners across Europe, Australasia, The Americas, Africa and Asia. Panorama was founded with a like-minded approach to quality work and shared values and ethics.

We operate beyond geographical constraints which means each of our partners offer clients both global capability and local sensitivity. We have a long track record of advising clients at the most senior level in our own markets and through Panorama share a strategic commitment to excellence.
Why should we hire you when we can just post on our website and rely on LinkedIn?
Any time you are adding talent to your team, you have to ask yourself the following question:  Do you want to hire the best person who applies for the job or the best person, period?

We believe there is often a significant delta between the calibre of candidate who is actively seeking a job by applying to postings online and utilizing social networks such as LinkedIn and the candidate who is not actively looking for a job and, in many instances, doesn’t even have a resume or LinkedIn profile.  

When times are booming, our task is to find a needle in a hay stack.  When the market is soft, our challenge is even greater: to find a needle in a needle stack. Regardless of market conditions, you want to ensure you are hiring the very best person possible and we have the researches, resources and resourcefulness to do just that.
Are you involved in your community?
Extensively so. Our team members volunteer hundreds of hours every year, sit on volunteer Boards and donate significant sums of money and time to a broad cross-section of important causes.

red line  IN THE KNOW  red line

We have completed hundreds of executive job searches, leveraging our cross-industry experience. We find the perfect fit for every search, from specialists to managers to the C-Suite.


INDUSTRIES SERVED
  • Energy
  • Professional Services
  • Manufacturing, Construction & Real Estate
  • Communications & High-tech
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Healthcare & Pharmacy
  • Not-for-profit
  • Government
  • Municipal
FUNCTIONAL EXPERTISE
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Health & Safety
  • Legal
  • Board
  • Marketing, Communications & Board Development
  • Operations
  • Supply Chain
SAMPLING OF SEARCHES COMPLETED
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • General Counsel
  • Vice President, Human Resources
  • Corporate legal Counsel
  • Executive Director
  • Law Firm Partners & Associates
  • Accounting Firm Partners & Associates
  • Director, Healthy & Safety
  • Director, Supply Chain
  • Director, Taxation
  • Director, Client Relations & Communications
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Government
  • Manager, Training & Development
  • Manager, Information & Records Management
  • Post-Secondary Roles
INDUSTRIES SERVED
  • Energy
  • Professional Services
  • Manufacturing, Construction & Real Estate
  • Communications & High-tech
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Healthcare & Pharmacy
  • Not-for-profit
  • Government
  • Municipal
FUNCTIONAL EXPERTISE
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Health & Safety
  • Legal
  • Board
  • Marketing, Communications & Board Development
  • Operations
  • Supply Chain
SAMPLING OF SEARCHES COMPLETED
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • General Counsel
  • Vice President, Human Resources
  • Corporate legal Counsel
  • Executive Director
  • Law Firm Partners & Associates
  • Accounting Firm Partners & Associates
  • Director, Healthy & Safety
  • Director, Supply Chain
  • Director, Taxation
  • Director, Client Relations & Communications
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Government
  • Manager, Training & Development
  • Manager, Information & Records Management
  • Post-Secondary Roles

KNOWING WHAT’S WHAT

We believe that a personal touch makes the difference between experience and expertise. In the industry for over 50 years, our partners bring unparalleled field experience in law, accounting and human resources, and our team brings a unique combination of backgrounds and superior academic credentials to the table.
 
We also enjoy a strategic partnership with like-minded boutique search firms around the globe through enabling us to compete against the big guys and deliver for our clients without the cost that typically accompanies the global brand.
 
Being boutique brings a more effective and personalized approach to search—it allows us to use a non-traditional fee structure that puts the client first. Moreover, we can customize to the needs of our clients for individual search assignments or larger scale recruitment projects. Simple. Practical. Effective.

 
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