Landing Top Talent Efficiently

Strategic innovator in snack category case study showing a woman speaking to colleagues


Growing demand for convenient and “better for you” snacking options is driving the appetite for consumer packaged goods companies (CPG) to invest heavily in snack brands. But strategic moves in the snacking category required them to attract innovative marketing leaders who can leverage these trends and deliver value quickly.

When one of America’s best-known CPGs made a game-changing acquisition they needed to fill key roles in marketing and innovation with speed and efficiency, but not at the expense of finding the best candidates with the right motivations and ideal fit for the job.

“Timeliness, efficiency and high close rates drive return on investment when hiring people who are mission-critical to our innovation strategy. Because of their experience and track record, we can count on O’Connell Group to execute searches at the ‘speed of trust’.” – Vice President, Marketing

The high-stakes nature of the acquisition required talented professionals with classical CPG training, relevant skills and proven track records in equivalent roles.  At the same time, complexities related to corporate integration and very firm caps on compensation created potential barriers to attracting top candidates. Compounding the challenge, the high visibility of the acquisition created a narrative in the marketplace that didn’t accurately reflect the significant and exciting upside potential.

With the clock ticking on three open positions, the newly hired vice president of marketing immediately turned to her trusted connections at O’Connell Group, a relationship established through years of experience in the CPG industry.


O’Connell Group first tackled the director of marketing role, reaching deeply into their CPG network. They quickly identified a slate of candidates with the required skills, experience, professional motivations and personal ties that created a great fit.

At the same time, the organization had been struggling to find the right person for another key, strategic role: director of innovation. This new position was critical, because product innovation is key to the future of the snacking category, the strategic driver of revenue and margin growth. Stepping in to assist the innovation team, O’Connell Group assessed the opportunity, providing strategic counsel and immediate access to optimal candidates pre-qualified for this job.

O’Connell Group team offered more than the power of their network and relationships with the industry’s most talented professionals. Because of the constraints on compensation, the O’Connell Group’s years of experience and expertise in the marketplace was also critical. Their skill in search management and the art of negotiation enabled them to be clear about the compensation, while sharing a compelling perspective of the opportunity through the lens of individual candidates’ career aspirations and personal motivators.

Combining transparent communication and a true sense of excitement about the quality of the opportunities and caliber of the organization’s leadership, they created a win/win scenario for the organization and the desired candidates in these key roles.


Within just 52 days, O’Connell Group filled the director of marketing search with a stellar candidate who was looking to return to the CPG industry in a growing category and evolving organization, through an empowering position that was also geographically attractive due to family ties.

Based on the success of that search and the intimate understanding of the team dynamic, O’Connell Group also filled an open brand manager role in 29 days. The candidate was an up-and-comer, with established credentials with large CPGs, who was ready to contribute in a fast-paced environment and high-growth category.

O’Connell Group filled the director of innovation search just 63 days after being engaged. The top candidate had recently run the global innovation strategy from concept to launch for two power brands in snacking and brought the “trifecta” of qualifications:  classical CPG training, food experience and a proven track record leading innovation. This talented leader understood the value of the professional opportunity and quality of life this role would deliver.

In each case, the candidate identified to bring in for an on-site interview was hired. The net result is a 100% close rate on three offers.

The success of these searches demonstrates how a skilled and efficient search partner can save organizations tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to savings on hotels and airfare, the right partner and process prevents thousands of dollars in lost productivity and delayed initiatives when team members waste time with multiple candidates who ultimately do not receive or accept an offer.

More importantly, the timeliness, efficiency and high close rates help organizations build the right team to advance their organizations rapidly toward their strategic goals.

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People are key to building successful brands and achieving your mission-critical growth objectives. Please call or email us to benefit from our experience helping companies efficiently and effectively hire talented professionals who fit.