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The Challenge of Hiring Anti-Bribery Compliance Leaders

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Maurice Gilbert, Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search in Dallas. I have been a contributor to his other organization, Corporate Compliance Insights (link here) for quite some time, but wanted to know more about his search business. Accordingly, here is a guest post where Maurice shares his thoughts about the issues which executives face when trying to hire anti-bribery compliance leaders. Here is his post: 

As stated in a recent article (link here) in Bloomberg Magazine, The Rise of the Compliance Guru—and Banker Ire “To hear Jamie Dimon tell it, regulation and the cost of compliance are becoming a threat to the American dream.” But if you are in the C-Suite or a compliance executive tasked with hiring someone on your compliance team, legal, audit or otherwise, the costs of failure could not be higher in these times of increased enforcement and regulation.

While my discussion here is somewhat philosophical, I’m also a recruiter. Now that I’ve told you that, go ahead and ask me why you should use a search professional when hiring anti-bribery compliance leader. Believe me, I get asked this all the time, and I’m used to the protests: “We’ve always done it internally.” And, “We want to do this cheaply” and, my personal favorite, “We’re going to put it on the job boards and see what we get, then maybe we’ll call you if we need you.”

Go ahead and protest, but I’ve spent 20 years reading resumes, representing thousands of multinationals and placing anti-bribery compliance professionals in top posts around the globe, so I know why using a recruiter is always easier, cheaper, faster and – most important – results in the best hires, reducing the risk to your company by a wrong hire. Here’s why:

Recruiters Find the Best

Do you think you can land a top candidate by posting your job online? I’m sorry, you can’t. The top performers are busy working at their current jobs – they’re not cruising job boards. You’ll post your job, and you’ll get 300 resumes from unemployed, unqualified candidates. In contrast, use a recruiter and you’ll get immediate access to a “hidden network” of qualified candidates who are open to change but aren’t actively looking. These are the people you want, they’re also in my database and they will take my call. Your HR department might be the best at what they do – but high-level search and maintaining networks are not HR’s primary focus.



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Recruiters Really Know People

If I don’t personally know a candidate, my network does. The leaders that I liaise with on a regular basis have insights into the “good, bad and ugly” among the multitudes of candidates “looking for a change.” That is where a recruiter takes the risk out of the onboarding process. Hiring the wrong anti-bribery compliance executive cascades that bad decision down the org chart, as lower level personnel are taking misdirected cues from the new executive. That’s a mistake that can cost you dearly in terms of financial and reputational risk.

Also, interviewing is a complex process, and I have even seen HR leaders get it wrong. Candidates will tell me things they won’t tell you in an interview: like why they’re really looking to either change professions or employer, and what it would take to get them to make a move. Recruiters gather intelligence and act as a negotiator to bring the parties together in a way which is highly nuanced.

You Don’t Have Time for This

Often by the time a company brings in a recruiter their own attempts to fill the post have failed, and they’re months behind in the process. Meanwhile, either part of the whole of your compliance program goes rudderless. Is that a risk you can afford to take in today’s environment? Really, how well are you sleeping at night when you know you have a vacancy in anti-bribery compliance? Do you want your organization focused on ethical business development or on distractions like recruiting and interviewing.

We Save You Money

When you use a recruiter, you know what your hiring costs are up front, and you save money by getting it right the first time. If you hire the wrong person on your own and they leave in less than a year, you’re right back where you started with a full year of loaded salary and benefits not to mention a potential severance package. Like many recruiters, I provide a guarantee to my clients, which gives you time to evaluate your hiring decision. Hiring is risky; a guarantee protects your investment.

We Know Your Competition

Recruiters have their finger on the pulse of industry in terms of compensation and incentive packages: By geography, size of company and industry. We know who’s doing what, who’s going where and what they’re getting paid. We help you put together the right package to convince a high-performer to come to work for you.

We Can Help You Even After the Job is Filled

Why stop recruiting after you fill the job? If you and your staff focus on the core business but have a recruiter who is always looking to fill gaps in your team, you will be on a path to continuous improvement. Don’t hire one at a time, hire always. Recruiters allow you this potential.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing the perfect “marriage” of employer and candidate, particularly in anti-bribery compliance. Watching companies put resources in this valuable area and seeing professionals succeed in their careers is such a satisfying aspect of my work. I hope to hear from you soon – and yes, I’ll be happy to answer all of these questions again.

Maurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at maurice@conselium.com.


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