Executive Search

DSML Executive Search Recruitment Interview with Amandine Minaud

As an executive search and recruitment firm, DSML knows that good people who value strong relationships are an invaluable asset. That applies to our executive and C-level candidates as well as our own in-house team of recruiters. Our Chicago-based executive recruiting team has extensive experience recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA, allowing us to help forge relations that cross multiple cultures. This month, we spoke with Amandine Minaud, an Executive Recruiter with French origins, to share our processes and approach to cross-cultural executive recruiting.


Q: Can you share your background? How did you get into executive search recruitment?

A: I came to the US pursuing an opportunity to be an au pair, in order to really strengthen my English skills. I knew very little English at the time but I thought, “What better way to learn than to immerse yourself in it?”

The au pair job brought me to Chicago, where I worked with the same family for two years. From there, I became a French teacher. After teaching for some time, I moved on to become an executive assistant for a workers’ compensation law firm, then for a real estate tax law firm. With each of these firms came a political aspect to the roles. I became increasingly aware that my passions did not lie in the world of law. Coming into executive search recruitment felt unbelievable because, given my diverse experience, I had no clue as to what my “calling” might be.

Q: How did you come to DSML?

A: As I started to realize that the legal world was not the right fit, a mutual contact introduced and connected me with Myriam, co-founder of DSML, who offered to review my resume. DSML has always exclusively worked with and placed C-level and executive candidates, but Myriam wanted to help, given her extensive experience. As we spoke, she felt that my array of people-focused roles could lead me to be a good fit for the DSML team.

So I joined the team. I quickly learned the ropes and absolutely loved it. I’m a very curious person and trying to assess people is part of my natural inclination. Today, I can confidently say that based on its values, what Myriam and Doug, co-founders of DSML, have built and are trying to achieve, it’s a great fit. It aligns with what is important to me and I’m glad to be part of this company.

Q: What is your current role at DSML? How do you spend your days?

A: I am an Executive Recruiter. My days entail everything from sourcing candidates through the different stages of recruitment. This includes the screening process, driving the interview process, intake calls, and client management.

When I first started, I learned the job by sourcing, instead of handling the full cycle of recruiting. It was a good learning curve and quickly after that, I was given a search for an accounting manager. I was so drawn to understanding people’s stories. Too often with larger firms, candidates become just another number. At DSML Executive Search, we are small but mighty, allowing us to really take time to understand both our clients’ and candidates’ needs and wants, to create the best matches possible.

Today, I own the entire cycle of recruiting, including sourcing, building, and maintaining client relationships, understanding their needs, educating them on what moving forward with DSML will look like, as well as truly creating a partnership with them. This is key throughout the whole hiring process. Understanding who they are and what they really need helps us find the right profile for their company. At the end of the day, our business is the business of people, so the more we invest in both client and candidate relationships, the better we’ll know if they’ll click and have the makings of a successful match.

Q: What do you feel is important to DSML?

A: What really hooked me from the beginning was the process at DSML, which allows us to really meet clients’ recruiting needs as an executive search firm in Chicago and Boston. It’s rooted in respect: for every candidate, but for us as employees as well. There is a palpable appreciation for how valuable each and every individual in the company is. It transpires more than in any other job I’ve had. And it’s apparent in our communication with our clients, with our candidates. We always, always, always answer our candidates, even if it’s no. And I love that we’re respecting each and every individual. For example, even after the closing of the deal, we conduct follow-ups not only with our clients but also with the candidates one month, three months, and six months after the placement. This allows us to make sure that the client is happy and that everything is going well for the candidates too. It ties back to transparency: ensuring that we’ve presented the role and company accurately to the candidate and that all parties are happy. That’s extremely important to us.

Q: What are the core values of DSML?

A: Transparency, passion, and education are the major values of DSML.

Myriam and Doug have always been very straightforward and direct about the company’s goal: we are not here to deliver crazy quantities of candidates to our clients but to deliver high-quality candidates. We, the recruiters such as myself and Ricarda, are in turn transparent about this with our clients This allows us to manage expectations and them to understand our process. Our transparency is foundational to our partnerships. We know that true partnerships are not built over emails back and forth. So, face time (or video time) with clients is a big priority: we brainstorm with clients a lot, and touch base every week or two weeks depending on their needs, to communicate openly about what we found on the market. Through our transparency, we also aim to educate our clients.

The importance we place on education forges close partnerships with our clients and candidates. Given the niche of recruiting DSML specializes in, it may take a little longer to find that perfect fit with cross-cultural competence. For a successful partnership, this transparency needs to go both ways of course. But our transparency with clients hits in three major areas of a search: timeline, compensation, and candidate requirements. These are key areas to touch on as part of the best practices of working with an executive search recruiting firm. As a very culturally diverse team all from European countries, we all share a true passion for the niche DSML excels in and for seeing European businesses flourish and grow in the US.

DSML is an executive search and recruitment firm in Chicago and Boston that specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA. We are proud to have Amandine as part of our team and are deeply appreciative of her inquisitive nature and dedication to finding the right match between client and candidate.

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