Aerospace - Aviation Articles

The Future of Drones in the American Market

Use of Drones in Different Industries

Drones American MarketIn terms of the technological advancement that the aviation industry has seen in the current decade, the drone industry has experienced a significant improvement in design and application from how the military has used it in its surveillance operation into how other industries such as agriculture, photography, and logistics have used drones to their advantage in improving their business operations.

As the current design and capability of drones available in the market continuously improve, the industry and businesses where its application looks feasible also continuously grow. Currently, industries that have looked to use drones in their operations include the following:

● Agriculture – The use of drones in the agriculture industry gave farmers and farm operators the advantage of efficiently monitoring their crops and livestock. Recent advances in drone design and capability enabled the use of drones in the aerial application of fertilizers and insecticides. Also, with the use of advanced imagery, farmers have been able to monitor crop health and the possibilities of irrigation problems and pests.

This industry will certainly look for improvement in drone capability in terms of increasing its payload to handle more volume of fertilizers and improve the onboard imaging capability to capture crop and livestock data that the naked-eye are not able to do.

● Photography – Seen before as the game-changer in the photography industry, drones have enabled both professional photographers and hobby-level operators to produce images and videos that improve the cinematic value of their products.

This industry continues to grow as the demand by hobby-level operators increases and the price of drones in the market becomes more affordable.

● Logistics – Envisioned by Amazon to improve its customer service by decreasing its delivery time to customers, the use of drones in the logistics industry enables seamless delivery as drones can simply bypass land traffic by simply flying over them.

The use of drones in the Logistics industry proves to be promising as there is a current need from logistic organizations to further improve the drone design and capability. We expect that the drones to be used in this industry will further improve in design to accommodate larger and heavier parcels while at the same time increase its travel distance.

● Disaster Response – Drones have provided emergency responders the capability to inspect accident sites that may be deemed dangerous for humans to enter.

In the future, we expect drones to be able to conduct maritime search and rescue operations wherein an increased operating range is important. Drones that are also designed to operate in poor environmental conditions and treacherous terrain will be considered a game-changer.

● Law Enforcement and Other Government Agencies – By simply considering drones as an eye on the sky, we can easily see the reason why Law Enforcers and other Government Agencies have increased their dependence on this technology.

In the future, we can see drones having the capability of facial recognition as what current state-of-the-art CCTV has been designed too.

● Air Travel – The application of drones in the aviation industry specifically to transport passengers and a large amount of cargo has a lot of hurdles to overcome.

First, the technology needs more improvement to ensure that it can duplicate the decision making of what an experienced and coveted airline pilot would possess. This task would also need education and information dissemination to prospective passengers in helping them overcome any doubts in the safety of a flying aircraft without a pilot on-board.

Second, the cost of developing and maintaining such technology must become more affordable to entice prospective buyers and operators in placing orders.

Market Statistics

Drone Market StatisticsAs drone design and capability continuously improve, the industries where it can be possibly used is continuously growing.

Based on the latest statistics reported by Business Insider, the estimated 2019 figure of the investments made on drone hardware stood at around USD 11 Billion. A huge portion of this investment came to form by government purchases through what we perceived are from government agencies and military purposes.

Estimates also show that the current trend is likely to continue upwards as estimates predict an increase of investment of more than USD 12 Billion come 2021. Interestingly and which further supports our analysis, the group with the next largest market share to the government for drones are the basic consumers which consists of enthusiasts and non-professional or small-time videographers. We believe that the bulk of the amount is purchases made by individuals in retail.

Current Headwinds

Current Drone HeadwindsHowever, this technology and its access to the US market comes with its own problem. In compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 which was signed by President Donald Trump and made into law on December 12, 2019, any U.S. Government Agency is banned to purchase or operate existing drones in their inventory that has been manufactured in China. The ban includes spare parts that may be either used to repair or assemble any drones in any U.S. Agency’s drone inventory.

Although the law stated that the purchase of drones and its spare parts are prohibited against what the U.S. Government calls as “Covered Foreign Entity”, it is obvious that the law is targeting Chinese made products which are a center of concern in respect to the U.S. national security. Reports say that Chinese drone manufacturers with a special focus on the state-backed DJI use its product with the help of its built-in app to spy on private and government users by collecting their personal information data and flight logs.

This law does not cover private individuals and business owners from purchasing Chinese made drones. Interestingly, the U.S. Government responded to this by including drone products on the additional tariffs imposed by President Trump. This resulted in the leading drone manufacturer in the world which is surprisingly the Communist Party of China-backed DJI to increase the prices of its product sold in the U.S.

Who Will Stand to Benefit

From a separate point of view, the tariffs imposed on China-made products can also be considered a help to local US drone manufacturers that are struggling to compete with the ridiculously cheap price China has been supplying.

Perhaps, if there is someone who would truly benefit amidst this whole fiasco, it is the real “Made in USA” drones. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Made in America” pertains to products that have all been virtually made in the USA. This includes all the significant parts, processing, and labor that must be all sourced within the USA.

The current notable “Made in the USA” drone manufacturers include the following:

Auterion – Auterion’s platform is the only cloud-enabled solution that smoothly integrates the data captured by your drones into your existing workflows, by linking software on the drone and ground station with advanced cloud management tools.

Skydio – Skydio Autonomy™ has the skills of an expert pilot. It uses AI to understand the world around it and predict the future to make intelligent decisions. Skydio drones can fly themselves through the most demanding tasks or keep you safe from obstacles when you want to take control.

Altavian – Altavian is one of the few American-based companies that still designs and produces their systems in-house. Altavian blends its experience in the commercial and defense markets to create open, modular systems.

InstantEye Robotics – Boasts of developing advanced autonomous algorithms for additional payloads and functionality that specifically target very low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) hardware. Ultimately, this allows the overall vehicle to be smaller, lighter, and faster, which translates into better wind performance and longer flight times.

Draganfly – Draganfly has more than 20 years of experience designing and manufacturing professional drones for military, public safety, energy, agriculture, and insurance.

Impossible Aerospace – Impossible Aerospace builds high-performance electric aircraft that save lives. Founded in 2016 by former Tesla engineer Spencer Gore, the company unveiled its US-1 aircraft in 2018, unique for its long endurance and US origin. The company is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Eclipse Venture, and Airbus Ventures.

TerraView – Focused on the application of drones in agriculture with a product whose strengths goes into the use of drones in vineyards.

UAVAmerica – UAV-America provides custom and off-the-shelf aerial systems (drones, UAV, UAS, sUAS) for both complex and routine challenges. UAVA products limit exposure to cyber vulnerabilities. Their products are closed systems and never require an internet connection.

AgEagle Aerial Systems – AgEagle designs, manufactures, distributes and supports a diverse line of advanced, high performance, “tractor tough,” precision drones capable of capturing thousands of ultra-high resolution images and producing actionable intelligence that get quantifiable results.

Even with the current tariff, we have compared the drone prices from different manufacturers that are readily available on the web and have seen that the best selling China-made DJI drone is still cheaper compared to the other U.S. made drones. It is important to note that the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is designed to be sold for enthusiasts while U.S.-made drones are designed for more specialized applications such as law enforcement, surveillance, and inspection.

Going back to the existing market demography, the second-largest market for drone products are consumers which is where China made DJI has its advantage because of its cheaper price and simple operation and control. While the design of U.S. based manufacturers is considered more advanced, its target market is for business organizations and enterprises which have the smallest share of the drone market.

We can see that the U.S.-based manufacturers will eventually gain support as the current administration has banned the use of China-made drones on any U.S. Government Agency which will surely pave the way for U.S. based manufacturers to win government contracts and sales.

Another potential business strategy that U.S. based manufacturers can look into is designing a low-end drone product which can rival the price point of China-made drones while at the same time providing an off the shelf product that is simple to use and operate.

Market Decisions

Considering how untapped and ready for expansion the drone industry is in the U.S. Market, time will only tell when the next “Amazon”, “Google” or “Apple” of the drone industry will eventually take center stage.

From what we are seeing now, the US government through its efforts by passing laws and tariffs against the “competitor-killing price” scheme of the China Communist Party-backed business ultimately helps American made products to eventually develop and in the long term lower their price to be competitive while still leading the industry with state-of-the-art ideas and innovation.

For this whole scheme of things to play out in U.S. interests, the public through its spending behavior must start to rally and support local businesses. Again, the fruit is ripe and it is for anyone to take. If you’re looking for your next “A Player” in the drone market, reach out to Craig now.

Articles Internet of Things Wireless Ecosystems

5G & IoT – Three Ways it Transforms Business Opportunities

The combination of 5G connectivity and the prevalent IoT adoption is defining the newest frontier in digital transformation. Upgraded standards in high speed cellular connectivity, low-latency and secure data transformation have captured the attention of business executives, policy makers and consumers alike. Business organizations have embraced digital-first remote-working business operations, where productivity is inherently dependent on the user experience of connected devices.

5g concept of internet connection technologyThe Covid-19 pandemic has also pushed the demand for high speed Internet into overdrive. High-speed connectivity has emerged as a necessity and the promise of fifth-generation is delivering for business use cases that rely on the growing network of IoT technologies and data streaming. Progressive organizations that have embraced the combination of 5G connectivity and IoT technologies generating massive data sets in real-time, at higher velocity and across a growing network of nodes. The result are digital initiatives that promise intelligent, data-driven transformation, new operational workflows and unprecedented new business model innovations.

How are 5G and IoT advancement setting the stage for the next wave of digital transformation?

Here’s what the 10-100x faster data transfer speed and 1ms latency improvements mean from a business and technology perspective:

● Immersive User Experiences: Immersive AR/VR experiences will be a reality for front-line field workers in the traditional industries of manufacturing, healthcare and utilities. These technologies rely on real-time streaming of vast volumes of digital information across geographically disparate locations. Traditional 4G networks lack the bandwidth capacity, data transmission rates and fail to match the low latency requirements of most AR/VR applications.

● Scaling Data-Driven Intelligence: Traditional organizations will scale operations on a global scale as a global consumer market is accessible digitally. Business operations will be data-driven with AI-insights obtained in real-time. The market landscape and user requirements tend to change dynamically and are not always predictable. The same concept extends to the technology infrastructure that powers IT-enabled services to such a global audience. Sensors connected across the infrastructure produce vast volumes of data logs on network performance. This information is critical to proactively identify anomalous network activities such as a cyber-attack or data breach. Timely processing of this information depends on gigabit speed transfer rates of data generated by a large distributed network of connected devices.

● Environmental Sustainability: Enhanced network access of Information and services will reduce travel burden, improve energy efficiency and contribute to sustainability goals. 5G and IoT connectivity has made it possible to deploy smart technologies that not only help generate business revenues but focus specifically on improving environmental sustainability. For instance, distributed sensors monitoring air quality around the city control traffic signals and help route the traffic away from regions with high air pollution built-up. Additionally, more employees being able to work for home can reduce the need to travel and contribute to the air pollution in the first place.

According to a recent Gartner research, 5G technologies are expected to reach 21.3% of the total wireless infrastructure. Both the Internet consumers and business organizations will emerge as the power users of 5G and IoT technologies, unlocking the true economic value in the realms of a digitally transformed business landscape. Charles is a leading expert in the 5G & IoT industry, reach out to find your next “A Player” today.

Articles Digital Transformation

Advanced Biometrics Can Enable Customer Experience Excellence

In the age of digital transformation, understanding how Biometrics delivers to its end-users is as important as what it delivers. Despite employing a myriad of digital technologies to help replace manual processes with automation hoping to achieve operational excellence, many organizations lack a focus on elevating customer experience in their digital transformation strategies. This is one of the key reasons for more than two-third of all digital transformation initiatives failing according to a recent McKinsey research study.

advanced biometricsIn this article, we will discuss how advanced recognition biometrics technologies can enable successful customer experience transformation for your organization.

Before embarking on a digital transformation journey with the goal of elevating customer experience, organizations must understand how technology ties to the intended performance outcomes. Specifically, the following three components of customer experience transformation should be considered:

1. A shared vision for a customer-centric strategy: When the top-management is convinced about investing in technology capabilities with the goal of elevating customer experience, this direction of strategy channels across the organization. As a result, every decision in implementing digital transformation is inspired by the real-life challenges and preferences facing end-users. For example, an effective recognition biometrics strategy is not limited to managing site security and payments, but also eliminating queues and service delays, guiding customers to the right products and shopping zones; and reducing dependence on the limited staff available on site. It’s important to first identify the real needs and preferences of end-users on their customer experience journey.

2. Redesigning Customer Journey: A customer-centric transformation requires organizations to identify the most impactful moments in the customer journey from a customer perspective. With this information, it’s important to design end-to-end digital and live journeys based on real-time customer information and needs. Technologies such as recognition biometrics can capture real-time interactions, build a personalized contextual profile for every customer and leverage advanced analytics technologies to yield insights that are valuable for both the business stakeholders and the end-users engaged in the customer journey.

3. Infrastructure for real-time feedback loop: Create a bottom-up adoption effect to channel live feedback from customers to employees and key decision makers. This is done by developing a data infrastructure to capture and retain data and using advanced AI technologies to capture insights proactively.

Let’s look at a real-life use case of advanced recognition biometrics elevating customer experience. Consider the customer journey at airports designed to maximize security and address workforce limitations, often at the expense of passenger convenience in the form of long queues, waiting time, flight delays and service mismanagement.

Integrating advanced facial recognition biometrics and AI technologies can help transform passenger experience at airports in the following ways:

Passenger Processing: Facial identification to verify check-in. Matching baggage tags with passenger biometrics.

Border Controls: Verify passport and documentation with a biometric immigration clearance mechanism.

Frictionless Boarding and Gate Management: Verify customer identities and maintain flight manifests with reliable biometrics data. Facial screening ensures accurate pre-flight checks.

Contactless Self-Service: Facial recognition reduces the exposure to contagious health risks such as the COVID-19 virus. The additional screening required to mitigate the propagation of virus takes several hours when performed manually.

Multimodal Biometrics: Extend facial biometric identifier for passenger activities beyond security and ID verification for boarding. Work with local, state and third-party stakeholders to extend the identification services for personalized lounge services, transportation and hospitality services.

Queue Management: Create passenger profiles containing contextual information about flight plans to manage queues and personalized shopping experiences at the airport and the lounge. Push notifications for intelligent announcements relevant to appropriate passenger groups on their handheld devices.

Data and Video Analytics: Monitor and analyze baggage claim process in live video streams.

These are some of the key avenues that can be exploited to achieve operational excellence while elevating customer experience through shorter queues, accurate passenger management and tailored services. At the same time, the biometrics information also strengthens public safety and security at the airports. Similar technology use cases can be employed at public and commercial sites handling a large number of customers on-site with a variety of products and services. Speak to Charles if you are looking for your next “A Player” in this industry

Aerospace - Aviation Articles

SWaP-C – Transforming the Future of Aircraft Components

SWaP-C what it is, what it means to the Aircraft industry. When it comes to the design and operation of the aircraft, cost and efficiency are part of the pillar of every decision making process. Owners and executives will always look at how to get the optimum performance, weight, capability and cost out of every possible component installed on the aircraft.

Taking into account the current economic environment and how it has affected the aviation sector, businesses will be more eager to get more value out of their money. This principle is currently called the SWaP-C or Size, Weight, Power and Cost. The SWaP-C principle looks on how every component would be made lighter, efficient, packed with more superior performance and within reasonable cost

Current Use

The SWaP-C principle has largely found its way on the avionics components of both transport and military aircraft. Sensors, computers and display have been the primary focus on the application of SWaP-C however the integration of this principle is being already tested on structural and aircraft system application.

Among the notable providers and market leaders of SWaP-C components are the following:

1. Vicor – Vicor provides next generation power bricks that are two to three times smaller than its previous product using their DCM packaging approach.

2. VPT Incorporated – VPT with their SVPL series DC-DC converters offers radiation powered electronics devices that are used in both space and high-altitude aircraft.

3. Data Device Corporation – DDC provides a power converter that supplies 28 volts that are mainly used for in-flight entertainment and USB charging ports aboard passenger aircraft.

4. Curtiss-Wright – Curtiss-Wright provides different components in miniature form for greater savings such as Data Storage, Processor System, Sensor Processor and Routers.

Ideal Design

Upon careful scrutinization of what the aviation industry expects as the next generation of components, the ideal SWaP-C component should have the following characteristics:

➔ Commonality – Allows the component to be installed regardless of aircraft type. This feature provides a potential increase in revenue as the chances of potential purchase is directly related to the number of aircraft types where it can be possibly installed.

➔ Lightweight – While it can easily be overlooked, lower component weight directly affects the amount of fuel the aircraft consumes. This may be considered small on a per flight basis but when compounded over a long period of time, this can bring a significant amount of savings.

➔ Digitalization – With the push of the aviation sector to provide ergonomically designed cockpit, manufacturers and operators have already started to shy away from analog instruments and have openly adapted digital display by LED. Cockpit displays are now more compact as the previous design of multiple panels containing analog instruments are now combined and refined into a single LED display unit.

➔ Improved Performance – May it be an electrical, communication, navigation, sensor or any other aircraft system component, SWaP-C looks into having an improved performance and capability from each component’s predecessor.

➔ Cost – While SWaP-C components might not be cheaper coming off the shelf, the reduction in cost comes from the reliability of each component against unplanned or unscheduled replacement. SWaP-C components allow longer accumulation of flight hours and flight cycle before mandatory replacement due to their improved design and durability.

SWaP-C - Transforming the Future of Aircraft Components

Future of the SWaP-C Market

While it is still too early for actual and reliable statistics on the current value of the SWaP-C market, we have decided to take the lead and determined the leading PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) holder that is registered with the FAA. From this, we can have a rough idea of the potential value the SWaP-C components hold in the future by analyzing the revenue of the leading parts manufacturers based in the USA.

We are fairly confident that these major industry players would adopt the SWaP-C principle and the share of revenue of their SWaP-C initiated projects would increase in the years to come.

PMA Holder Name

Regardless of the company and where their line of products focus into, the call for the survival of the industry favors those who are welcome and equipped to handle change. Change requires evolution of products and the trend for evolution includes the application of the SWaP-C principle. If you are interested in learning more about this subject or the Aviation industry in general please click here to reach out and speak to Craig

Aerospace - Aviation Articles Internet of Things

IoT – Making a Case in Aviation Application

The use of IoT technology allows different types of sensor to monitor, locate, and report specific data to centralized servers or be uploaded in the cloud for data analysis. With all the different industries wherein the use of IoT is applicable, the aviation industry presents an excellent economic and technical benefit from this technology.

Airlines and manufacturers that have used IoT have experienced positive results in improving performance and driving down costs. The application of IoT on airlines allows airline personnel and passengers to track the location of their respective baggage.

Manufacturers such as Airbus and Rolls Royce have used the technology to implement a preventive maintenance program by allowing them to monitor the health of the aircraft and engine in real time, this capability also gives engineers a lead time to analyze the transmitted data and prepare for the corrective action even before the aircraft arrive.


With the prevailing trend of autonomy in transportation, it is only fitting that companies would look into further developing this technology that would allow a lean and effective oversight on all branches of operations both on the ground and in flight. If you would like to know more about this subject or are currently interested in finding an “A Player” in this industry, get in touch with Craig now.

Talent Acquisition - Assessments Articles

Remote Workforce Is Now a Common Term

Many companies have used a remote workforce for decades.  But that has traditionally been offshore in manufacturing and software development.  With Covid-19 we now have a boom of remote workforce teams domestically as most now work from home.  How do you come up with a sound plan to effectively manage a remote workforce?


The pandemic is creating a constantly changing national condition often leading to confusion, lack of proper communications, and fear.   But there are steps you can take that will empower your remote workforce while encouraging better behaviour and allowing employees to remain engaged.

Remote Workforce Shifting Boundaries

Every day the boundaries and goalposts are moving. It is vitally important that leaders in industry, business and human resources are kept as up to date as possible. This will help to avoid generating fear, adding to the confusion or creating workplace dysfunction.

We need to know all we can in order to adapt, innovate and implement new ways of operating during a crisis.  Therefore, clear communication, accurate information and considered action are required.

Effective Remote Tools

What tools can be used to effectively manage a remote workforce?

Video meetings:  Zoom is one of the best as it offers group meetings with employees, group meetings with customers, and more.  All meetings can be recorded.  For many, you need just one paid Zoom account and then you can add all other users for free.  That saves you money, but it has one serious limitation. In group calls of 2 or more, you cannot record more than 40 minutes.  So, make sure those who need longer times have a premium account. To avoid hackers sending porn and scam, make sure each meeting requires a password to access for all who attend. With security concerns with Zoom, the best alternatives are GotoMeeting and Signal Wire.

Effectively manage a remote workforce for management:  Slack and Asana are both excellent and well-built tools for collaboration, even providing Agile and Scrum.  For Engineering they provide tools for work flows from code review to release. For Financial and accounting teams, it offers secure collaboration, digital transformation, and connects systems, plus internal and external teams, to reduce friction. For Sales and business development, from the CEO to the new AE, comes together to move deals forward.  Conversations happen in channels, organized by topic, territory, etcn so the full context of a deal can be easily seen by everyone. Share sales goals and track progress to keep everyone motivated and aligned. For Customer Support, it supports urgent and routine issues from a central hub. Field requests directly through Slack or Asana or integrate your help-desk software to assist users.  Send new tickets to a related channel and sort out issues together.  Start a new channel for incidents or response-heavy releases to keep discussions on track. For Human Resources, it speeds up their hiring process by facilitating candidate reviews and preparing for interviews.  By integrating review tools and prepping interview panels moves candidates from on-your-radar to offer letter, faster.

Cloud based sharing:  you’ve heard of Dropbox, Google Drive and Sync.  But the #1 easy to use system by far is Sharepoint.  Sharepoint if built in to MS Office. If you have your firm using the MS Portal or have an internal Exchange server, nothing matches the power of Sharepoint. It allows you to share with certain team members and control the release, edit, view and download restrictions as you see fit.  Plus, no reliance on Google, who prefer to control you anyway.

Alternatives to the production floor.  Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process that creates a physical object from a digital design. It is surprising how many companies produce products using robotics and RPA – very helpful when one cannot staff a manufacturing facility amid social distancing.

VoIP phone systems. Ring Central is one such affordable system, proving rerouting of phone numbers, group video meetings, conference calls, SMS chat, and much more.   While here at NextGen that is our actual phone system, many companies are using it as a temporary alternative. Has your organization been impacted by the pandemic?  Are you a K-12 educator? A health provider? A non-profit organization? Ring Central Office is free of charge to you during the pandemic.   In other words, they will provide all those impacted with video conferencing, team messaging, business phones, and even SMS and fax. These are all modes of communication needed by teachers, students, healthcare providers, and non-profits as they come to terms with the impact of COVID-19.

Cloud Services Security. A growing number of businesses are using cloud services as part of their commonly used tech infrastructure. What many firms do not realize is that they are responsible for the most important part of the security of their service. The three main types of cloud services offered are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. In all three cases customers are responsible for securing their data and controlling who can access that data. While the popular SaaS providers like Office 365 and AWS secure access to their servers, only the client can control security to their individual portion of the Cloud. The largest cause of breaches of Cloud data continues to be configuration issues on the client side of the setup. A comprehensive personalized security protocol must be implemented to suit each client’s needs to effectively manage a remote workforce with full online security.

Other Online Security Measures.  Two things every remote worker should have – Roboform and a quality VPN (Virtual Private Network).  Roboform renders every complicated length of passwords using upper/lower case alpha, numeric, symbols, and special characters.  It is free and the trick is to make sure 1) you use your personal email address to register and a minimum 12 characters password to login to Roboform and 2) use Gmail as is far safer than Yahoo,, and others. If you are taking your IP/Desk Phones home from work, you should be connected and configure the Windows or Apple firewall, including the firewall settings in your router.  When connected directly to a router/gateway/modem, the device’s IP will be exposed, and the device’s registration credentials can be used to connect unauthorized endpoints for the purpose of making fraudulent (international & domestic) calls.  If using wireless to connect to the Internet, please make sure you have updated the SSID (name of your network) and use Roboform to generate a new complicated password.

Need HR support?  If your company uses Quick Books or an Inuit product or service, for a limited time, QuickBooks partner Mammoth HR is offering free HR resources to all employers.  In addition, having a new hire onboarding system (not orientation) is essential.

The Future of Online Workforces

How will COVID-19 change the future of work?  It’s impossible to predict the long-term implications of today’s sudden, massive shift to remote work, but a few outcomes are possible. One is that C-levels will finally open their eyes to the value that can be unlocked when each individual has the freedom to work where and when it makes most sense—which may be from home either full-time or a combo of home and telecommute.  Obviously, the future of physical workplaces will change in how we address the need to effectively manage a remote workforce..

Talent Acquisition - Assessments Articles

Executive Search Firm Evaluation A How To Guide

The big challenges in the recruiting game is that great talent is in short supply and most talent acquisition strategies are broken. Executive hiring managers are interested in ONLY one thing – whether internal or external the ability to not only Identify, but to recruit exceptional talent.  When you perform an executive search firm evaluation, look for two things. One, do you have the capacity to perform research to identify target competitors and passive candidates. Two, do they have experience in cold calling, a deep network, and reputation of getting referrals?

Most Companies Fail to Properly Evaluate an Executive Search Firm

Most common is to go with the big name search firm.  The issue there is you pay a full fee regardless of outcome, other than the principals the recruiting force is a revolving door, and a bad track record in retention.  Secondly, if you are a startup to mid-cap you really need the expertise of a team that specializes in your industry; known as niche recruiting. Most big name search firms work across all industries without specialization.  while that diversity may work for a CFO or Board role, it falters with lack of a deep network within your industry.

Evaluate-an-executive-search-firm-for-success-300x233What you should look for is a retained search firm that not only has the industry expertise but has a sound evidence-based recruitment process management system utilizing Ai predictive validity.    It all begins with a discovery step where the search strategy is built upon defining the objectives of the role and learning what the role with do with the required skills, not just the having of them.

Next is using scientifically based psychometric to determine team dynamics and thus the search form can then develop a target candidate profile and custom search strategy.  A great recruiter will define prior desired accomplishments in a similar environment and make sure candidates are screened who have similar.  Rather than accepting verbatim the experience and skills required, a good recruiter will drill down to ascertain in what environment and product / service those skills are used in , again further  screening candidates to validate they actually can meet the objectives of the role.

Most Hiring Managers Not Up To The Task

For almost 30 years, we often run into Hiring Managers that say just send them resumes and they will determine which candidates to interview.  Which of course begs the question, why would you be paying a search fee?   You can simply hire an RPO to troll job boards or have HR post job openings to dozens of web sites.  Great hiring managers know three things:

  1. They don’t have the time to go through an in-basket full of unqualified resumes
  2. They know that the one-size-fits-all resume is perhaps the poorest document ever created.  It is generalist, vague, and rarely indicates if the candidate has used required skills WITHIN a similar environment, as well as accomplishments tend to be exaggerated and without verifiable substance.
  3. Great hiring managers know that professional successful  executive search consultants are good at what they do and do not pretend to be a Hiring Manager who may be a CXO or VP of engineering or sales or whatever.  So why do so many Hiring Managers assume they are great recruiters?  Trust me, in all my years, it is less than 1% who are good at both roles AND those who can do both are very successful startup entrepreneurs in early stage building their executive team.

Finally ALWAYS base your executive search firm evaluation by these three factors

  • Candidate placement retention rate is far and above client retention rate.  That is because some companies will prefer the cheapest or who best serves HR rather than the client on the whole.  For instance, NextGen has an average 93% in 4.5 years are still working for that client whereas we have lost new searches with the same client to other firms with an average 2 years or less of placement retention.
  • The average replacement guarantee for contingency is 30 to 90 days, which of course should alarm you as the confidence in the quality of candidates presented for you to hire just can;t be that good.   Basically any average “C player” can be presented and hired and a company not realize in under 90 days wow that hire is just a body filling a space.   The average retained is 90 days to 6 months while a very few will go one year.  At NextGen we offer a full 24 to 46 months replacement guarantee.
  • Executive levels with MBOs – most retained search firm you will pay the entire fee without regards to an actual hire or success within 60 to 120 days.   For many they believe you are paying them for their reputation and experience, NOT for their success.

For more information on how to perform an effective executive search firm evaluation, download the PDF to compare what NextGen Global Executive Search does to others.

Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Myths in Recruiting – Part 2 of Make Better Hiring Decisions

Myth #3: HR Orientation includes all the On-boarding Needed for New Hire Success


Many companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on complex onboarding plans that all too often require an unrealistic commitment of time and effort from several busy individuals.  One of the foremost myths in recruiting is these “one-size-fits-all” plans ever actually work. The truth is they are rarely successful.  All companies include orientation, but orientation is not actual on-boarding.

Retained executive search consultants are experts in this area as our reputation is dependent on new hire retention.  An on-boarding plan must be simple and easy and require a minimum amount of time.  As the executive recruiter has already defined the team profile and discovered how the new hire’s skills and behavioral traits will impact the team he/she will work within, it is a matter of producing two documents.

Good On-boarding Plans are Not Myths in Recruiting


The Personal Action Plan, used by the new hire, right at the start is based on conversations between the new hire and his/her immediate supervisor.  After consultation, the new hire has an action plan to not only meet the objectives of the role he/she were hired into, but provides self-development that will allow for career growth, utilize the new hire’s strengths, and work on their weaknesses.  A second document, the Mentoring and Coaching Plan, is used by the actual Hiring Manager.  It was designed for that new hire, not a “one-size fits-all”.

What is the result of orientation that uses an expensive all-encompassing on-boarding?  Waste of valuable time and little to show for it.  The result of a retained executive search firm’s personalized on-boarding plan?  Streamlined efficient means that results in fast assimilation, quick productivity, and longer retention.

Myth 4:  HR and/or Hiring Managers Should Always Make the Offer


Another of the myths in recruiting is that HR makes the offer as that is part of their job function.  Often, we see a hiring manager or HR extend an offer to a candidate who would have helped the manager’s company and career enormously – only to receive a turn down.  In many instances, the offer fails to emphasize the specific elements of the opportunity which are of greatest interest as well as fail to address the aspirations and goals of the candidate.  These quality performers are not actively looking and may need to be “sold.” Diversity Hands Recruitment Search Opportunity Concept

It is so frustrating to watch human resources and hiring managers think that THEIRS is the ideal company, opportunity, and offer and that passive candidates should be 100% sold into the opportunity.  The fact is often HR low balls the offer or insist they be the sole negotiator.  I’ve got news for you – great candidates don’t believe you; they are not going to work for you, and really it is rather insulting to them.

After all they are considering working for the actual hiring manager.  While there are various reasons why good candidates are open to making a change, the fact is that virtually none would be comfortable sharing those concerns with an internal recruiter.  It is extremely frustrating when an executive recruiter must come in to save the day on a turn down.  It’s gotten to the point that at NextGen we simply will not accept a loss and insist in our contract that we make the offer and close.

Professional recruiters have great expertise in developing in-depth individual relationships with the candidates they present. As part of a professional recruiter’s service, they will provide the candidate’s primary motivators to making a move – and by advising the client on the compensation plan in the offer and making the offer verbally acting as the go-between thereby reduce or eliminate turn downs, and assure the manager of securing the best talent available.


Who Makes the Employment Offer – Myths in Recruiting


While companies do experienced turn downs, retained executive recruiters rarely do. We know what it will take to get the offer signed and when a candidate appears unreasonable, retained search forms have the experience and skill set to pull the offer when needed and get the candidate won over by addressing their concerns,

In the final part of this series, we’ll look at the biggest in the myths of recruiting, which is that executive search, specifically retained search fees are too expensive.  In that article, we actually lay out why recruitment fees based on performance and delivery by the search firm, the hire, and the success of a hire that meets or exceeds the objectives of the role is far more cost effective than any other means with the rare exception of a great referral.


Articles Retained Search Best Practices

Affordability of Retained Search Fees – Make Better Hiring Decisions – Part 3

In the first and second articles of this three part series, we discussed the differences  and utilization of HR, internal recruiters and executive search firms.  In particular Part 1 reviewed unearthing passive candidates and vetting, while part 2 looked at onboarding and negotiating offers.  In conclusion, we discuss how retained executive search actually provides affordability of retained search fees.


Myth #5: Retained Executive Search is too Expensive.


Retained executive recruiters report that many of the companies that can most benefit from their services employ internal recruiters. This may lead to the belief that utilizing retained search firms when internal recruiters or HR people are employed is not cost effective.  A simple cost analysis will show otherwise. Consider the combined cost of salaries and benefits of HR personnel and internal “recruiters”, as well as the time that HR people spend doing non-productive interviews with unqualified candidates. These direct and indirect costs are substantially higher than paying out a one-time fee for an executive recruiter’s services.

Executive recruiters eliminate the time and expense required by a firm to find, hire and train a new internal “recruiter”. And any truly successful in-house recruiter will soon leave his salaried position to become a successful external executive search consultant.  Additionally, your chances of securing a long-term contributor are much better if an experienced executive search consultant is involved. Studies have shown that a bad hire costs companies three times more than an employee’s annual salary.

many times, HR or internal recruiters will give the same search to several contingency search firms, in the hope that multiplying the quantity of resumes and applicants will result in something that sticks to the wall.  What they fail to realize is that since the companies have no skin in the game, contingency recruiters research and send the same candidate resumes to everyone of your competitors at the same time.  After all they only receive a fee if a candidate they present is hired,  At the same time, the job posting is duplicated across the Internet on job boards and emails making it seem like their may be an issue with the quality of the opportunity and /or the company.

Retained search firms never use job boards.  They unearth the best candidates, vet and assess and deliver a shortlist of 2 to 4 finalists to consider.  With retained executive search firms, their work isn’t done once a candidate has been placed successfully. A guarantee covering the candidate is often one year; at NextGen we offer a 24 to 36 months replacement guarantee – far exceeding the probationary period.  Seasoned recruiters make a point of periodically checking in with candidates that they have placed and will share any concerns with the hiring manager. This is invaluable information and directly contributes to a long-term successful employee, longer retention, and a highly productive staff.

Success Based Recruitment Affordability of Retained Executive Search Fees


Affordability-of-Retained-Search-FeesFinally, many retained executive search firms have gone to a performance based (or rather success based) fee structure.  While the initial deposit can range from ¼ to 1/3 depending on the role, usually the 2nd invoice occurs once the shortlisted candidates are delivered and scheduled for in-person interviews.

The final invoice occurs upon hiring one of those candidates.  For the senior executive level succession bench, the final invoice can occur up to one year later dependent upon the new executive meeting their MBOs.

It’s a win-win for the company and a good retained search firm will not look at it as a gamble on money, rather confidence in the placement they have made.

Internal recruiting can be a good solution to filling l=lower toi mid-level non-critical positions. They can screen the candidates that apply via the company portal and can provide hiring managers with candidates for lower end roles.  However, for critical and key roles, it is an excellent and necessary business decision to utilize the services of a highly skilled retained executive search firm, especially one that has expertise in your industry and knows your market.

Final Analysis on the Affordability of Retained Executive Search Fees


The cost of a bad hire is often 2 to 3 times the salary paid, and it doesn’t stop there.  It’s not just the loss of time and the need to hire a replacement but other aspects of failure that occur

  1. Loss of momentum in a product or service launch into the marketplace which occurs in bad hires within R&D, product management, marketing, sales, and sales engineering
  2. Failure to meet customer needs and reduce customer acquisition costs when the wrong software, hardware, or R&D engineers are hired
  3. Failure to properly implement a strategy when a functional leader role is a bad hire.
  4. Failure to meet maximum goals or M&A or IPO when the wrong CFO or SVP is hired
  5. Failure to meet sales targets and expand market share when the wrong CMO or VP Sales is hired
  6. Failure to meet stockholder and investors ROI when a bad CPO< CDO, or CEO is hired

Whether it is a key sales, engineering, operations, functional leadership, or senior executive role, a quality retained executive search firm actually SAVES you money in the long run and brings forth shortlist of candidates that can meet and most often exceed the objectives of the role. Therefore the affordability of retained search fees is evident they pay off in the long run.


Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Make Better Hiring Decisions Amid Myths in Recruiting – Part 1

Executive hiring managers depend on the quality of their people to achieve goals and implement strategy. A better understanding of the skills and capabilities of executive recruiters can enable any hiring manager to make better hiring decisions by increasing the quality of their hiring decisions, and thereby enhance their own career!

Some executives are aware and take full advantage of the best possible means of identifying and selecting top quality candidates for critical staff openings. However, many do not. Frequently, this stems from myths regarding the merits of utilizing the services provided by topflight retained executive search firms. By a better understanding of these realities, hiring managers will dramatically improve their ability to secure the most qualified candidates in a timely manner.

In the first part of this series, we’ll explore the myths behind sourcing exceptional talent, the differences in the screening and assessments methods used by internal HR and talent acquisition groups, how that is done by experts in retained executive search, and the pros / cons of behavioral testing, and how they impact the ability to make better hiring decisions.

Make Better Hiring Decisions Start with Finding the Right Talent


Myth # 1: Companies Often Unearth the Same Talent that Executive Recruiters Do


With the rise in popularity among HR and internal talent acquisition in the use of online job boards, job aggregators, and networking platforms, many companies mistakenly believe that these sources contain the same talent that can be found through retained executive search firms.

This belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Good executive recruiters don’t post ads on job boards to find qualified applicants. Instead they focus on specific industries and even specialize by types of positions within those industries. The benefits of doing so are enormous. It allows them to invest tremendous time and energy forging relationships with high performing candidates within these niche markets, learning the types of positions in-demand people would see as advancing their careers.

Professionals who genuinely excel have neither the time nor desire to peruse online job ads or to respond to the dozens of email inquiries sent by internal recruiting staff. It is only when an executive search consultant personally approaches them that the best people take the step to becoming available to discuss an opportunity.

Retained executive search consultants invest countless hours establishing unique connections and building relationships with key performers. These connections allow access to talent pools built over many years…and which are available through no other sources.


This, along with the ability of these search consultants to carefully screen and evaluate the best candidates, is what allows them to bring the strongest talent to the table – those “A players” at any level who produce 8 to 10 times more than the next level of “B players”. Instead companies continue to rely on job boards, career sites, and networking platforms that will never find the outstanding quality of talent that retained executive recruiters can provide.

Myth #2: Internal Staff can Access and Vette Candidates as well as an Executive Search Firm


While this belief is prevalent within many companies, a thoughtful analysis will prove the opposite. Retained executive recruiters make a living by finding talent that companies cannot find on their own. While in-house resources may be effective for lower level and even some middle level roles, when it comes to functional leadership or key critical roles, retained search firms are not limited to C-levels. it makes sense for hiring managers to give themselves every opportunity to interview the very best candidates to make better hiring decisions.

Internal recruiters typically spend their time vetting applicants who apply or can be found through online portals. Think about it – in a less than 4% unemployment world we live in, the best candidates are simply not found that way. Retained search firms focus on finding superior candidates who are successful in their present situation and can show similar expertise, accomplishments, and skills relevant to the role you need to fill. This very different methodology results in a very different level of candidate.

A Solid Assessment Method Enables You to Make Better Hiring Decisions


Moreover, retained search firms look at many other factors, such as discovery and validation of candidates’ industry relationships – with internal customers, as well as suppliers and eternal customers. In addition, seasoned executive recruiters do not focus on “corporate culture”. Why is simple. Each team that a candidate will be hired within is unique.

Therefore using psychometrics to discover and measure this team members as stakeholders of the role allows the executive recruiter to measure values and motivations, real and situational communications skills as well as the traits within conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision making. This Team Profile allows executive recruiters to then conduct behavioral interviews and scientific testing of potential candidates to make sure they are only a role fit, but a team fit as well.

Finally, the ability to call proven performers with direct competitors to discuss career options is a significant factor in what sets external professional recruiters apart from internal recruiters or HR people. Having the ability to reach out to these peak performers offers hiring managers access to highly-sought-after candidates they would never see otherwise in order to make better hiring decisions

In part 2, we will discuss HR Orientation including onboarding process that do and do not work, as well as pros and cons of having human resources and/or hiring managers making employment offers.

How to Evaluate an Executive Search Firm
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