DSML Policies and Practices, Executive Search

DSML Interview with Co-Founder, Doug Seville

DSML is an executive search recruitment firm with offices in Chicago and Boston. The firm specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA and was founded by Myriam Le Cannellier and Doug Seville who we are showcasing today in our latest DSML Team Member feature blog. We interviewed Doug to understand his role at DSML today and the important niche that DSML serves.


Q: Can you share your professional background?

A: My first role in recruiting happened relatively randomly. Before recruiting, I graduated from university in Toronto and I started my career as a management trainee at an insurance company. They had plans — unbeknownst to me — that the next management trainee to join would work in HR as they needed help recruiting. It seems to be a common practice for employers to entrust recruiting to the most junior employees. I thought, “How can I recruit underwriters, assistants, and more when I don’t have experience working at the company itself?”

After a year in human resources, I became an underwriter at that same company. I quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I then went to work at Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the largest department stores in Canada, and became a human resources manager. I stayed with them for five years and eventually left to join my grandfather’s business in Southwest Ontario. Seven years after that, my grandfather’s company was acquired.

I resumed my recruiting work, first at General Motors and then at a human resources consulting company in Detroit. When I resigned from that role to start my own business, they asked if I would work on one last project, a one-week job in Chicago, to which I agreed. That was in 2001 and that one week in Chicago turned into 20 years. I stayed with that specific project for a year and then moved into managing their Chicago office.

Q: What drew you to executive search recruitment?

A: I like the variety. You always learn something new when you’re dealing with new clients or new customers. You get introduced to so many new technologies, industries, products… And on the candidate side, you get to meet so many interesting people. With every candidate interview, you’re pushed to know more and more about the industry and, of course, the role at hand.

Q: What does your involvement with DSML today look like?

A: Today, I mostly do business development, primarily through LinkedIn. It’s the easiest way to connect with all our candidates and clients too. It’s an incredible tool. It allows me to easily find companies that already have a US presence and might be looking to expand.

I also get involved in the interview process sometimes. I’m not involved with the actual searches at this point anymore, because I’m often not in the client intake calls. These calls are integral to our executive search recruitment process, allowing our team to understand the clients’ needs and wants for potential candidates. Everybody from our team attends these: 100% of the time we learn new details, about the job or the customer, which always allow us to screen candidates more efficiently, conduct better interviews, and have more successful placements. The process is key to doing the job correctly. Always follow the process.

Q: Can you speak to the importance of why clients need to consider a specialized executive search firm such as DSML?

A: The DSML team is a team of generalists in terms of the industries we serve. This serves us quite well because the disadvantage of focusing too intensely on only one industry is that your candidate pool becomes significantly limited, due to blockage.

However, no matter the industry, if a European company is looking to expand into the US, there will be cultural differences and challenges. So, when these companies are ready to fill executive-level roles, finding executive candidates with cross-cultural competence needs to be the top priority in our executive search recruitment in Boston and Chicago. There are a lot of cultural aspects that people don’t realize hold significant weight throughout the candidate-company relationship. It can be minute details such as sending the CEO of your new US subsidiary an AZERTY keyboard, instead of a QWERTY one. But it can be as significant as compensation: with US salaries often being very high compared to Europe, we advise European clients only to set up an operation in the US when a certain level of investment is possible. Effective executive recruiting for European countries requires understanding salary compensation in the US market.

Q: What values did you and Myriam grow the company on?

A: We take honesty and transparency incredibly seriously as our core values. Even when that means having hard conversations. Unfortunately, recruiters get a bad reputation for cheating clients or lying to candidates. This is something Myriam and I discussed from the start as something we actively wanted to combat.

We take transparency at the internal level very seriously as well. It’s for this reason that everyone attends client intake calls and everyone works on every search. Every team member is aware of what business we have and they each have an equal opportunity to contribute to the search and have success in their roles.

Lastly, we look to cultivate a team that’s truly passionate about the work we do. I’ve been blessed to have worked side by side with such an upstanding business partner. Myriam and I started this business from scratch in 2007, during a very bad recession, and grew it, one client at a time, to where it is today. So, nothing makes us happier than when we find out that a candidate who we placed with an employer has remained in the role for a long time. We have multiple candidates who’ve been with clients for over 10 years now — which is significant loyalty in this day and age. We’re invested in the success of both our clients and candidates and are proud to have that longevity both in our working relationships, but also in successful placements.

DSML is an executive search and recruitment firm in Chicago and Boston that specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA. If your business is looking to expand into the US market and seeking executive search services, contact us today.

+1 312 268 6166