Looking for Help? Use Spiders

Monster’s Momma:

Boutique Recruiter:

Advice From A Pro: Be the Lead Dog

Corrections or additions?

This article by Kathleen MgGinn Spring and Barbara Fox was prepared for the April 2, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Still Hiring in Troubled Times

Decision making on new hires has slowed as the economy

has stalled and the state of the world has become more worrisome.

But Princeton-area employment specialists report pockets of strength.

Some industries continue to aggressively hunt fresh talent, and some

professions — sales, for example — appear to be largely recession


One of our experts not only recruits top level employees, mostly for

the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, but also runs an online

classified service, which is busy finding workers for employers looking

for a broad range of skills at all levels. For job hunters, the lesson

may be to catalog and draw upon all strengths, and to consider some

unusual opportunities. Anyone interested in becoming a harbormaster

in Massachussetts?

Top Of Page
Looking for Help? Use Spiders

Stephen Reuning, owner of multi-tentacled human resources

company Deidre Moire, began his entrepreneurial career by selling

fire extinguishers from the trunk of his car. His company’s name is

from Seventh Moon of Saturn, a science fiction book, and his story

is from Horatio Alger.

"Let’s see, I must have been 17 because I had a car," says

Reuning, speaking of his first business venture. Then he laughs as

he adds, "of course, I was driving before I was 17." Home

was the projects in Perth Amboy, where Reuning says his parents had

"300 jobs," but didn’t get very far with any of them.

After selling fire extinguishers, Reuning gave college a try, spending

a year or so at Rutgers before dropping out. His next stop was an

employment agency. "I was a 22-year-old kid out of a crap school,"

he recalls. "I had no college education." What he did have,

however, was a knack for selling clients on placement services. He

started working for the firm in 1978. "In 1979," he recounts,

"my W2 read $51,000 gross." All of it was commissions.

Reuning had found his niche. He became a partner in the firm, which

specialized in placing chemists and computer operators. In 1982 he

founded Deidre Moire and went out on his own. Uncertain what to name

his venture, he turned to a book. He says he is not a fan of science

fiction, especially. The book just happened to be lying around, and

he flipped through it, picking the first two names he came upon, and

combining them to form his company name.

"I lucked out, didn’t I?" he chuckles when he is complimented

on the upscale, vaguely European sound of the name his random page-flipping


Deidre Moire, with offices in the Horizon Center, is a holding company

for Reuning’s ventures. He has found that a way to win business is

to go into a highly specialized niche where the barrier of entry for

competitors is high. "It’s easy to position yourself," he

says of the strategy. "People know to call you."

Among his niche companies are Neurosearch, a search firm for neuroscientists

and neurosurgeons for life science companies; Biomed Quest, a search

firm for the biotech industry; Oncosearch, a search firm for cancer

researchers for life science companies; and FF&C, a search firm for

executives for the insurance industry.

"We had an IT division, but we closed it down almost a year ago,"

he says. "We had $500,000 in receivables. Everybody was going

bankrupt." He expects that IT will come back one day. "I’ve

been through a lot of recessions," he says. "You adjust."

He now has 20 employees, 14 of them recruiters, but has had as many

as 35 recruiters and a staff of 50. He is able to keep going, he says,

because he is debt free, and because he has developed and made use

of technology to boost productivity.

Meanwhile, Reuning, a serial entrepreneur who enjoys creating companies

more than running them, which he finds monotonous, is busy with new

ventures. One, Non-Profits Only Inc., he runs with a partner, Brock

Miller, who works from Irvine, California, and has connections with

programmers in Bulgaria. Reuning and his wife, Mary Coogan, attorney

for the Association for Children of New Jersey, met Miller while vacationing

in Tahiti. Reuning used Miller for a small project, and then a larger

project before joining with him on Non-Profits Only, an enterprise

inspired by his wife.

Coogan’s non-profit needed a knowledge database. Among her duties

is training judges on family law issues. "She’s training new judges

on issues of child permanent placement today," Reuning gives as

an example. "She found that attorneys were fielding the same questions

again and again." An easily-accessed database was the answer,

but the cost, which he puts at about $70,000 to $200,000, was too

high. A self-taught technologist with a 25′ by 30′ two-story library

in his home, Reuning put a knowledge database together for his wife

for $15,000. A member of a number of non-profit boards, he realized

that the need for affordable technology went beyond his wife’s organization.

"What they need," he says of non-profits, "is a Model

T. Inexpensive and user friendly. Brock and I did a plan." The

two went to meetings of the American Society of Association Executives

to find out just what non-profits need a website to do, and set out

to create an easily-customizable template. The software they developed

lets a non-profit sign up members, take donations, register attendees

for meetings, host discussion groups, issue legislative calls to action,

and, yes, maintain knowledge databases. Bells and whistles are kept

to a minimum to keep costs in line with non-profit budgets.

The software was developed with the help of programmers in Bulgaria.

Why Bulgaria? For one thing, says Reuning, residents of Bulgaria work

for a much lower rate than do American programmers — "one-tenth

of the price." But there is another reason. "European programmers

tend to see the big picture," he says. "They are very good

from an architectural point of view."

The Bulgarians are also involved in another Deidre Moire

company, Candidateseeker.com (www.Candidateseeker.com). This venture

finds job candidates for employers by scouring the Internet for what

Reuning calls "passive job seekers." An employer places and

ad, for $159, and Candidateseeker goes to work. "It harvests resumes

from the Internet," Reuning explains. "It sorts them, extracts

E-mail addresses, and sends the help wanted ad through E-mail."

Candidateseeker’s spiders, running 24/7, find resumes on personal

web pages, association sites, and public websites, such as the one

that New Jersey maintains for job seekers. The spiders also check

resumes that job seekers post — at no charge — on the Candidateseeker

site. Large private job posting sites, such as Monster.com, are not

searched. Reuning says good candidates posting on these sites are

overwhelmed with offers immediately, which tends to result in bidding

wars. Better for employers, he says, to send their job posting to

candidates who are not actively looking, but rather may have put a

resume on a personal web page, or posted it to public site several

years ago.

He characterizes the passive job seeker’s thinking as "I’m not

looking consciously, but the job sounds great." That, he exclaims,

is what an employer wants to hear.

And while the employer will see that individual’s resume, no one else

gets a peek. "We never display the resumes to the public,"

says Reuning. This is an advantage to job seekers who may not want

their neighbors to know all about them — or may not want their

bosses to know they are out looking.

All job matches are made by computer. When the computer decides that

a candidate’s qualifications, experience, location, or other factors

important to an employer are a good fit, the employer’s classified

ad is sent to him. Candidates interested in pursuing the opportunity

reply to a job posting number at Candidateseeker rather than to the

employer, whose name they probably don’t know at that point. Individuals

who do not want to be informed of job offers will not be sent any

more E-mails from Candidateseeker.

Reuning applied for a patent on Candidateseeker’s technology in 1997,

but didn’t receive the patent until April, 2002. In the meantime a

number of companies began using the system. "They’re infringing

on my patent," he says. "I haven’t decided what to do."

Possibilities include licensing the technology.

With unemployment inching toward record highs, it’s a surprise to

hear that Candidateseeker is doing so well that Reuning is cutting

back on his marketing efforts. The service is receiving lots of requests

for workers in all sorts of positions.

"Let me look at my order screen," Reuning says when asked

about current openings. He says one of his more unusual recent searches

was for a harbor master for the Steamship Authority of Massachusetts,

which had been unable to find anyone despite an extensive advertising

campaign. This was a "weird" request, he says, and he didn’t

know if his spiders were up to the job. But they came through, delivering

20 qualified candidates. "That gave me super confidence,"

he says.

While he needed to find just one harbor master, Reuning is called

upon to find lots of salespeople. "That’s the hottest area,"

he says. His spiders are also busy tracking down bankers, loan officers,

mortgage processors, insurance underwriters and actuaries, and "lots

of pharmaceutical and biotech." In-demand life science positions

include molecular biologists, microbiologists, clinical managers,

validation specialists, quality assurance directors, and even public

relations specialists. The restaurant industry also is actively hiring,

and is especially looking for managers, but also for chefs.

Reading from current postings, Reuning rattles off help wanted ads

for a variety of positions, including apartment manager, building

coordinator, family physician, internist for a medical center, and

a manufacturing director for a printed circuit company.

Candidateseeker, only incorporated and operating apart from Deidre

Moire, its parent, since January accounts for only a small part of

the company’s revenue for now. But Reuning expects that to change.

"I put $1.5 million into it," says the Perth Amboy native

who started out in business selling fire extinguishers from the trunk

of his car. "I expect it to be a significant division."

Deidre Moire Corp., 510 Horizon Center, Robbinsville

08691. Stephen Reuning, CEO. 609-584-9000; fax, 609-584-9575.

Top Of Page
Monster’s Momma:

TMP Highland

TMP Worldwide’s most famous division is Monster.com,

the online job board with the dragon mascot. With Monster onboard,

TMP (Nasdaq:TMPW), with headquarters in New York City, took a wild

ride. Its stock traded at $94.68 three years ago this week, up more

than 300 percent in a year. Today, it trades at $8 and change.

Unlike many Internet companies, TMP was a big business before it went

out onto the web, and it remains a big business. Founded in 1967,

the company, which has 8,500 employees worldwide, began as a Yellow

Pages advertising firm. It then added executive recruitment. The company

opened an executive recruitment office at 2 Research Way in January.

The new office specializes in recruiting high level executives

for the healthcare industry. "This will be a boutique office,"

says Fallya Petrakopoulou, who heads up the office. There are three

recruiters now, and only a few more will join them.

Petrakopoulou had been living in Connecticut and working in New York

City before opening this office. "In this business, we are where

our clients are," she says. "This is where my clients are."

She works primarily with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical

device companies, finding executives for them at the level of vice

president or above.

Before becoming an executive recruiter, Petrakopoulou, a native of

Greece, worked in the pharmaceutical industry. The daughter of an

architect and a homemaker, she began studying ballet at age four,

but never seriously considered a career in dance. "In Greece the

mentality was if you’re good in school, you go into science. Art is

something you do on the side," she says.

Keeping ballet as an avocation, (She still spends half an hour a day

exercising at the bar.), Petrakopoulou began to study pharmacy in

Greece, and continued in France, where she earned two master’s degrees,

one in industrial pharmacy, and one in cosmetology. "What woman

isn’t interested in cosmetology?" she asks. She then returned

to Greece to earn her doctorate in pharmacy.

Starting her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Petrakopoulou

went to work for Bristol-Myers in France, working on marketing a new

product. After the company merged with Squibb, she told her bosses

she wanted an international career. She came to the United States,

and got an offer to take over as director of worldwide strategic business

planning, working for the company’s Lawrenceville offices.

"It was tough learning what an American corporation is," she

says. "It’s very different, higher politics, a much bigger environment.

There is an appearance of simple relationships with people, but in

reality, a lot of hierarchy."

Life in a big European company can be "stifling," she says,

but there is no ambiguity about who is who or what is going on. "There

are no first names," she says. "In Europe, what you see is

what you get."

Adapting was a challenge, and she enjoyed it. "I’m a very ebullient

personality," she says. "I’m out there. At Bristol-Myers I

was wearing pants when no one was."

From Bristol-Myers, Petrakopoulou went to pharmaceutical firm Wellcome,

working from its London office. When the firm merged with Glaxo, her

bosses asked her what she wanted to do. The only job she wanted was

that of general manager. She was told that the company was not ready

to have a woman in that position. "Instantly I missed the United

States!" she exclaims. "In the United States, they can’t even

tell you that."

Still, she stayed on for a while with Glaxo Wellcome, insisting that

she manage marketing for Zantac, the blockbuster indigestion and heartburn

remedy. "The only product I wanted was Zantac," she says.

"It was a $3.5 billion drug, and it was coming off patent."

Assigned to North Carolina, she assembled a multi-disciplinary team

to help the drug make the transition.

The work was "challenging and exciting," but North Carolina

was a let down. "I’m a city person," she says. "There

was nothing to do." When her work with Zantac was finished, she

found no reason to stay with Glaxo Wellcome.

"I thought I would check out other industries," she recounts.

"Biotech or investment banking for health care." As she was

looking around, an executive recruiter who had contacted her in the

past about openings at pharmaceuticals suggested she come to work

for his company.

"Why would I do that?" was her response. But she was interested

enough to ask a follow-up question: "What do you guys do?"

Looking for details on the answer, she began to research the profession.

"I spoke with a lot of people," she says. "I realized

that what I like about general management I would find here. I would

run a profit center and I would develop people. That’s why I wanted

to be a general manager. Not for the power trip. I thought `my God!

I’ve found another way to fulfill my dream!"

She started with recruiter Russell Reynolds, but soon moved on in

search of a more entrepreneurial atmosphere. She worked for two other

companies before joining TMP, and is an advocate of strategic job

hopping, especially in professions like hers. "I have to be a

chameleon with each client," she says. "I’m an ambassador

with each client. Flexibility is everything in my job." Moving

around is hard, she says. "It’s scary to go out, but you have

to do it."

She recommends the strategy, and sees it as a necessity for long-term

survival. "When I see people who are with a company 20, 25 years,

I am so happy for them. It’s wonderful. But in our industry the 20-year

career is like Utopia. You have higher flexibility when you have to

move. It creates better survivors."

Most of the executives she finds for her clients are working for competitors

when she calls. But some are victims of downsizings in a rapidly consolidating

industry. "People who lost jobs through downsizings are not penalized,"

she says. "This is not at all an indication of value. There has

been a change in mentality."

Hiring continues in the healthcare industry, but with caution. Companies

are to some degree reluctant to take on new people right now. "Where

there is danger of war, instability in the stock market, companies

become more internal," says Petrakopoulou. "They think `maybe

we can find someone inside. Maybe we find someone through our own

contacts. Maybe we can wait a little bit.’ They’re gun shy. They think

every penny they can save is good."

This bunker mentality is not good for the executive recruitment industry,

nor is it good for Petrakopoulou’s business. But she says her long-time

relationships within the industry are a help, giving corporate clients

a measure of the security they now crave.

Petrakopoulou, intent on building her office, is settling in the Princeton

area once again. During her years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, she lived

in Titusville, and looked there again upon her return. Discovering

that a friend might be selling her home — a magnificent house

with a glass conservatory and a dock on the Delaware river — she

made inquires and was able to buy the house. Her mother, dividing

her time between Greece and United States, is with her for half of

the year. Her younger brother, whom she helped to raise after their

father died, lives around the corner.

She has her dream job, and her dream house, and even a touch of her

homeland. A neighbor parks a boat at her dock, while she is content

to paddle the river in her canoe. "I’m a Mediterranean girl,"

she says, "I love being on the water."

TMP/Highland Partners (HHGP), 2 Research Way, Princeton

08540. Fallya Petrakopoulou, global sector co-leader. 609-514-9401;

fax, 609-514-0628.

Top Of Page
Boutique Recruiter:

Chem & Life Science

It is no secret, says Sundeep Shankwalkar, that the

big executive recruiting companies are cutting back. Head counts are

down significantly — 30 percent, even 50 percent. Yet, sitting

in the offices of his new executive recruiting firm, Shankwalkar exudes

calm — and confidence. He founded Global Leadership Solutions,

which specializes in executive recruiting for the chemical and life

science industries, only 15 months ago. Already, he has grown from

two to eight employees, and is talking of expanding.

Yes, he says, hiring continues, at least at the level at which

he recruits — vice president and above. He believes that "boutique"

firms like his have the edge in this economy, growing while the big

players contract. "You have to have a niche," he says. "Clients

want a small, focused firm. They don’t want to talk to five people

for five candidates. They prefer that the person who sells projects,

executes projects."

Sitting comfortably in a stylish rattan chair in his spare, modern

offices, Shankwalkar says, "anybody can be successful if the niche

is right." Trying to stretch the niche, however, is a bad idea

in his view. "I do not dabble in IT or telecom," he says.

His main focus is on pharmaceuticals and on biotechs, which account

for about 70 percent of his business, and on chemicals, which account

for about 30 percent.

Clients come to him, he says, when they have exhausted every other

avenue. They have searched their own personnel rosters, looked on

the Internet, and placed advertisements, and have still not come up

with the ideal candidate. And "ideal" is exactly what a hire

must be at the level at which Shankwalker works. When salaries go

north of $150,000, compromise is not an option. It is his job to deliver

individuals with skills, experience, and chemistry that are a perfect

match for the position.

There is a constant demand for what Shankwalker terms "A

players" in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Start-up

biotechs, he points out, want a pedigree. When they approach funders,

they will be asked where their top executives came from. Every company

wants to rattle off top names in reply, so the start-up biotechs draw

talent from the big guys, the Mercks and the Johnson & Johnsons. These

companies, in turn, need to replace the departing executives.

The big companies also live by developing and marketing new products,

each of which creates a demand for top-level managers. All of this

activity creates business for Shankwalkar’s firm, which charges between

$50,000 and $150,000 for a search.

Shankwalker and his associates generally present five candidates

to a client before one is hired. When the client is hiring for an

office in the United States, the candidates are presented one at a

time. But Shankwalkar, who also has an office in Singapore, does a

great deal of work in Japan and China. When the hire is to work from

Asia, he presents a slate of four or five candidates all at once,

and the client typically flies in to meet with them in quick succession.

Using networking and proprietary databases, Shankwalkar typically

contacts 100 potential candidates, and then narrow the field to 10

or 15, whom they interview, often flying around the country to do

so. Some candidates turn down the opportunity, and others are not

just right. It generally takes the firm six to eight weeks to come

up with five candidates, all of whom, says Shankwalkar, are absolutely

qualified to step into the position.

The wild card, he says, is chemistry. While it is hard to define,

this is the quality that brings in the job offer. Do decision makers

gravitate to people like themselves in making this call? Does a female

African American extrovert seek the same in the hiring game?

Not at all, Shankwalker exclaims. You have to understand, he says,

the decision makers are A players. They want the best person. Period.

But, that said, he adds that diversity is now highly prized by his

corporate clients. "The company will not compromise," he says.

But if there are two equally qualified individuals, either of whom

could be expected to do a superb job, and one would bring diversity,

that is the candidate who is likely to get the nod.

How about the amazingly talented individual from another industry

who would like to cross over to, say, a big pharmaceutical? It won’t

happen, says Shankwalkar, not at the top levels. "Pharmaceuticals

want a pharmaceutical background," he says. "When the salary

is over $150,000, and they are using us, they want someone who is

near perfect. No compromise. No one out of the box. It must be 100

percent pharmaceutical. Maybe (a compromise) lower, but not here."

People think they can make the transition from one industry to another,

says Shankwalkar, but "the client doesn’t want that." This

is true in the chemical industry as well as in the pharmaceutical

industry, he finds. Other fields are more not so rigid. "Go outside

and there is a lot of flexibility," he says. "Look at IT.

Everyone wanted to be a software engineer." Another example of

cross-over opportunity is the consumer goods industry. "They’re

creative," he says, "willing to give someone a chance."

Manufacturing presents another cross-over opportunity, because its

processes tend to be similar from industry to industry.

Shankwalkar has worked in several different kinds of jobs, and

in at least two industries. He studied chemistry at the University

of Kentucky (Class of 1988) and did graduate work in engineering at

Rutgers and at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked in R & D

for FMC, and then moved into marketing and sales. FMC sent him to

work in Europe and in Asia. Upon his return he went into executive

search for a large search firm. "I realized I had been in R &

D, sales, and regional management," he says. "I wanted to

do something to pull it all together."

He considered consulting, but rejected the profession

because "there is too much travel." Executive search seemed

to be a perfect fit. He says the most important thing a good firm

can give its clients — and the candidates they seek — is good

advice. A form of consulting then, executive search does not involve

as much travel. Shankwalker travels about 10 to 20 percent of the

time. His hours are fairly long because he keeps in touch with clients

working in America and Europe starting at 8:30 a.m., and then switches

his attention to clients working in Asia after the business day in

the Western Hemisphere ends.

Still, he says he creates time for outside interests, chief among

them his wife, Janhavi Rane, a dentist who owns six-person Plainsboro

practice Rane’s Exclusively Yours Dental, and their seven-month-old


Global Leadership Solutions, 12 Roszel Road, Suite

B205, Princeton 08540. Lisa Jones, office manager. 609-720-9801; fax,

609-720-9802. E-mail: info@glspartners.com Home page: www.glspartners.com

Top Of Page
Advice From A Pro: Be the Lead Dog

Gene Mancino’s advice for how to get ahead in almost

any field is to get your name on a project as team leader. If you

were just part of the team, that’s not enough, says Mancino, particularly

for the life sciences arena, where he does executive search.

Mancino recently joined with partners in Westfield and Doylestown,

Pennsylvania, to rename and reinvent his company. Formerly called

Blau Mancino, it is now known as Mancino Burfield Edgerton and is

a partnership. With Elaine Burfield in Westfield and Paul Edgerton

in Doylestown, the firm has a total of seven employees, three on Roszel

Road, where Mancino retains 2,400 square feet.

Mancino, a graduate of Princeton University, Class of 1978, does retainer-based

searches. His firm focuses exclusively in the health care industry,

specifically in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, and medical

products. It recruits people in the areas of research and development,

regulatory and medical affairs, general management, marketing, sales

management, licensing, business management, and finance.

"Sometimes the project is accomplished by a team," Mancino

admits, "but you have to be the team leader. If you were just

in the room when the product was launched, that was not enough. You

have to be the lead dog. If you are not the lead dog, the view is

not very good."

Mancino’s dismal news is that he has more candidates than positions

by a ration of four to one. "Since our firm is heavily involved

in emerging life sciences companies, which are dependent on venture

capital, the climate is unsettled. Companies needing third or fourth

rounds of funding are holding on to what cash they have, and the geopolitical

climate is not helping."

"Where we spend most of our time, at the senior level, the candidate

has to have had a money raising experience, or a product launch experience,

or, if they are a clinician, have gotten a product through the FDA.

They need a demonstrable skill or a deal sheet — to have a transaction

of some sort and take ownership of an event," he says.

How to tell who was really the team leader? "We have been around

for so many years we have an outstanding database and historical references,"

he says. "We can tell who is telling the truth from an historical

perspective, who did what, and why."

— Barbara Fox

Mancino Burfield Edgerton, 12 Roszel Road, Suite

C 101, Princeton 08540. Gene Mancino, partner. 609-520-8400; fax,

609-520-8993. Home page: www.mbels.com

Corrections or additions?

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