How to Recruit Your Next Ecommerce Talent in 1 Month or Less

LS International

Over 40 Clients and Counting…

Danone - Met Next Global E-Commerce Director in 22 Days

“I am extremely satisfied with the way you conducted the preparation work, understood the brief, the fact that the people that got in front of me were in line with the brief….. and that you were able to bring the person we needed. I am extremely satisfied.”

– Filippo Della Torre, VP of Global Sales for Specialized Nutrition

Danone contacted us about a Global E-commerce Director position which was reporting into the Global VP Sales. This position had been identified as key to their strategic growth pillar: E-commerce. It had taken them 6 months to bring someone on board but when they finally hired someone the person left after only 3 months. At that stage, they had practically wasted 9 months and still had no one in the position. We evaluated the opportunity cost of this key position to be $750,000 and rising with each passing day. 

We quickly met with Filippo Della Torre, VP of Global Sales for the Specialized Nutrition division, to explain the strategies, tactics and steps that needed to be implemented to recruit for these hard-to-fill positions. Twenty-two days later, we had his next Global E-commerce Director speaking with him! Of course, this individual still needed to meet various other stakeholders, but after this full process, the offer was accepted 44 days later. Through this entire process, Filippo spent just 8 hours of his time and was able to hire the perfect candidate!

State 1: Danone attempted to hire for six months. They hired a candidate but she left after only 3 months.
State 2: Met the perfect fit candidate
Time Frame: 22 days

Carlsberg - Met Next Head of E-Commerce Europe and Asia in 14 Days

“Truly impressed by LS International as an executive search company…” 

-Luke Sebire, Global Director eCommerce at Carlsberg Group

Carlsberg was on a very steep growth trajectory with their online sales. They had made a strategic hire of an individual from Amazon which was their first global leader within the function. Luke Sebire had no team when he was hired but he was at the stage where he would need to bring in a team to support their growth, one which was responsible for Asia and another responsible for Europe.

Luke did not have the time, and the internal talent team did not have the network to successfully recruit this type of talent. We were able to quickly assess the situation and understand which type of e-commerce talent they would need based on Calrsberg’s E-commerce maturity level. We went to the market and we were able to share their next Head of E-Commerce Europe and Head of Ecommerce Asia within 14 days.  

Of course, these individuals still needed to meet various other stakeholders, but after this process, offers were accepted 51 days later. Through this entire process of hiring 2 direct reports, Luke spent just about 15 hours of his time and was able to hire 2 perfect candidates!

State 1: High E-commerce growth and needed to hire quickly
State 2: Met top-noche candidates which led to 2 hires
Time Frame: 14 Days

Coty - Met Next Head of E-Commerce Germany in 18 Days


LS International’s candidate grew their e-commerce business in Germany >100%.  

Coty had their internal talent team looking for a Head of E-commerce for their consumer division in Germany for 2 months. They hadn’t been able to find the right fit for their specific needs. At that time I connected with their Sales Director, Mario Kirchner who asked me if I knew any talented e-commerce individuals as we are specialists in the function. At that point we went out to the market and found a candidate which was able to grow their e-commerce business by >100%. 

Of course this individual still needed to meet various other stakeholders, but after this process, an offer was accepted 42 days later. Mario only had to meet one candidate which LS International submitted and spent just about 3 hours of his time. 

State 1: Coty searched for 2 months without success 
State 2: Met a top performing candidate                               
Time Frame: 18 Days

Summary of Track Record in Hiring E-Commerce Directors:

Get in contact with us and we will be able to discuss any further references and track record.

Who is this for?

You should read on if you are a Sales VP of an FMCG company and you:

  • Worry about keeping your most important people motivated.

  • Suspect that it doesn’t take 4 months to find the right talent for your team.

  • Are frustrated that the headhunting firm didn’t deliver the talent you need (despite spending +20,000 Euros).

  • Hate underperformance and explaining to your boss why you didn’t hit your targets.

Core Concept

You can find the right eCommerce talent that your team needs if you use the right approach to the market and have the right network to do so. This will help you get ahead of your competitors while saving time, money, and not incurring any hidden opportunity costs. This opportunity cost is the one that every hiring manager should be more concerned about since it directly affects the manager’s results. 

However, most FMCG companies are not equipped with the skills, experience, and network to specifically recruit for Senior eCommerce positions. The main reason for this is that their talent teams are more generalists. This is also a highly dynamic function and a lot of talent teams cannot support such rapid change with their current model. 

We are the only individuals which can efficiently and effectively track talent that solves this particular challenge for sales organizations of international FMCG companies.

My core concept is that internal recruiters fail not because they are not successfully trained, or aren’t dedicated enough, but because they must recruit for the entire organization at various levels and they do not have an active approach that allows them to access the best individuals for one specific function.

Our Background and Grounding Story

Before we get into the steps and how-tos, here is a quick background on LS International for credibility reasons. 

For what it matters, we were founded in 2015. Our team has saved our clients millions of Euros by speeding up their executive talent acquisition process for sales, marketing and general management positions. We have worked with Danone, Carlsberg, and Puma, just to name a few, and we are endorsed by Patricia Corsi the Chief Marketing Officer of Bayer Consumer Health, who said:

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lauren Stiebing and for the past 8 years, I have been identifying top talent and making more placements with the highest retention rate than anyone else in the firms which I have worked for. 

After working at an executive search firm for over two years, I realized that there must be more to executive search. It is supposed to be about people: finding the right match between job, skills, passions and that right company for each individual’s success, but it was more about making money and ticking boxes. Most executive search consultants were not thinking about long term client and candidate success, but about making quick money and moving on.


I tried to look for executive search companies that offered a better service to candidates and clients, but I couldn’t find one with the professionalism and core values which I could align with. All the firms which I spoke to seemed to have the same short term mentality…

After being discouraged by what I found out, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create LS International.

My strategy worked so well that I started helping the biggest names in the FMCG industry by finding the right talent in the functions of sales, marketing, and general management. Nowadays with a 92.3% success rate and a 92.8% retention rate of LS International placed candidates, we can say that our approach to executive search is helping top FMCG companies by driving growth, while at the same time saving them millions of dollars in recruitment spend. But, even more importantly, we have helped them achieve their business goals.

Here’s the 4-Step Process to Finding Your Next Superstar E-Commerce Director in 1 Month or Less

Step 1: Use Outbound Search Instead of Inbound

Instead of sitting down and creating a job description with HR, and publishing it on job boards, one can go directly to the market and approach those individuals that are leading their function within the FMCG industry.

OLD WAY - Inbound Search

Using job boards would require the HR team to spend days or weeks to filter profiles, which results in slow execution and time-to-hire. The main reason for this is that usually the best candidates are not actively looking for new opportunities, since they are too busy leading their team, overachieving their targets. Even if they do see the post, they have a very attractive career development plan in place and most cases are that they would not apply.

NEW WAY - Outbound Search

Targeting candidates at competitor companies will mean that you will be able to outperform them faster than if you hired average talent, which are usually the ones applying for jobs.

So, forget about posting jobs and start approaching candidates directly, this will result in better quality hires, lower time-to-hire, and better short-mid and long term results. 

This is quite challenging. Most people look into hiring support so that they can use their time to devote to what they are good at, instead of starting to build a global network from scratch. Also, you can talk to HR so they can specialize a few recruiters in that functional area of expertise.

As long as you use a multichannel approach, we believe you will get the right level of responses. We have a 90% response rate of candidates and our experience tells us that there is always a way to contact candidates as long as you use the right approach.

This will be discovered in the interview process, this is why it is very important to make sure you have the best individuals conducting these candidate interviews. Without the best individuals approaching them, they will not be able to explain why your opportunity is a better offer than their current career plan.

An executive search firm can, but you must check for their off-limits agreements first.

Step 2: Use a Numbers-Driven Approach to Come Up With a Strategy

Instead of thinking about getting external help or assigning a fully dedicated talent acquisition manager after too much time has been wasted, you should have a way to analyse the opportunity cost of a hire and then decide on the hiring strategy.

OLD WAY - Reactive approach

Most companies have a reactive approach when it comes down to allocating resources to hire an executive role. Most of the times, they allocate extra resources to a search once the role has been open for a long time. 

NEW WAY - Numbers driven approach

Calculate the return on investment that a succesful hiring will bring  your company before you start the process. The higher the ROI the biggest the opportunity cost of not having this person.    

  • Key variables:

    • Salary of the role

    • Salary of the Hiring Manager

    • Outcome value to salary

    • Time to fill the role

The longer it takes you to find the right candidate, the higher the opportunity cost. Timing is always a crucial factor in how you will approach the market for your external talent.

Yes, we use an ROI calculator which incorporates a probabilistic method to calculate the return on investment that hiring this role will bring to the organization, and we compare it with the time that it takes for an executive search firm to complete the process.

We identify the speed breakeven point as the amount of days in which the opportunity cost of not hiring the right candidate equals the extra amount that a company needs to pay for hiring an executive search firm.

Step 3: Execute a Niche-Specific Hiring Strategy

Instead of assigning the internal team or a generalist executive search firm, you should use a niche-specific hiring strategy implemented by someone with a good enough network in the industry and function. Lack of industry knowledge leads to low-quality profiles that end up wasting your time during interviews and lead to longer fill times. 

OLD WAY - Generalist Recruiter

Generalist recruitment teams work well for entry-level and middle management roles. However, for this type of hard to find roles, lack of industry knowledge results in poor quality hiring and longer time to fill in the role. Generalist have a hard time engaging with these individuals and it is very complicated for them to identify the best talent.

NEW WAY - Niche Specific Recruiter

Searching for candidates within a specific niche leads to compounding benefits. Over time, your company’s reputation for excellence (say, in E-Commerce) grows because you have the best people. As you look to hire more people with the relevant skills, referrals grow as does your ability to attract better candidates in a shorter amount of time.

Most of our candidates come from referrals. Over the years we have built a network of FMCG individuals that can help us find the right candidate (our ‘source’). As we mentioned before 86% of hiring comes from referrals and targeted direct approach hiring. 

In this chart we can see a few of our placements and the way we found the final candidate:

As we can see in these 8 examples, 6 out of 8 were referred to us by someone in our network.

No, it actually saves you money because niche specific firms will find you the right talent more quickly. This can save you thousands of Euros, depending on the job specifics and your ability to brief the firm correctly.

Not exactly, but you need to have enough great consultants who are able to build credibility with individuals who will give them referrals. This is, of course, an ongoing process, but if you have enough good people, you will be able to map the market. Just as importantly, you need to have a secure database which allows for quick and easy search and retrieval based on different criteria. This data is robust.

Step 4: Do a Global Search Instead of a Local Search

Instead of running a search, filtering applicants based on location, one should start the search with a global approach and narrowing it from there, to ensure that no top-quality candidate is left out.

OLD WAY - Local Search

Focusing on location and not skills or industry experience may result in the search excluding qualified candidates from other locations who are willing to relocate for the right opportunity.

NEW WAY - Global Search

In order to find better quality candidates, the search process should look at a global pool of candidates and then narrow the search based on experience, fit, etc...

With the right technology, connections, and strategy, we have been able to remotely find top level executives in all the locations you can see in the map.

66% of candidates placed by LS International moved at least 248 Km away from their previous job location for a new role. 

Evidence:  We recently conducted a search for a VP Sales in Russia, without any previous experience in the Russian market. It took us just 30 days to get the hiring manager to meet the candidate they decided to hire. 

The world is much smaller now, than it was before. Virtual working in the aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic has made it even more so. With the right people, processes, and technology, it is possible to achieve even better results, (does not apply to all functions) than with people on the ground in a given country.

Given our track record and in-house expertise in the FMCG industry, we are very confident that the possibility of such a situation is very small. However, to limit the risk for our clients, we can include a money back warranty on our service if you are not satisfied with the candidates we present.

What to do with this information?

1. Carry out the search yourself

In order to do this you need to be sure that you have:

    • Industry Knowledge
    • Functional Knowledge 
    • Knowledge of Trends 
    • Network
    • Technology (database and communication tools) 
    • Interviewing Experience
    • Time

***If this option does not work in the first two weeks we recommend to not pursue because the opportunity cost of this option is extremely high

2. Request internal recruitment run the search

Be sure your internal team applies that steps we explained to you. Take into account the next points:

    • Time: Minimum cost of 30% base salary
    • Traditionally access only 20% of talent pool if job posting 
    • Industry Knowledge
    • Functional Knowledge 
    • Knowledge of Trends 
    • Network
    • Technology (database and communication tools) 
    • Interviewing Experience

***Please take into account the average time it takes them to find candidates to evaluate if this is a good option.

Again.... Who is this for?

This is for Sales VP of FMCG companies who are:

  • Worry about keeping your most important people motivated.

  • Suspect that it doesn’t take 4 months to find the right talent for your team.

  • Are frustrated that the headhunting firm didn’t deliver the talent you need (despite spending +20,000 Euros).

  • Hate underperformance and explaining to your boss why you didn’t hit your targets.

Some More Case Studies

Danone - Met Global E-Commerce Director in 22 Days

“I am extremely satisfied with the way you conducted the preparation work, understood the brief, the fact that the people that got in front of me were in line with the brief….. and that you were able to bring the person we needed. I am extremely satisfied.”

– Filippo Della Torre, VP of Global Sales for Specialized Nutrition

Melitta - Met European Head of Category Management in 21 Days

Carlsberg - Met Head of E-Commerce Europe and Asia in 14 Days

“Truly impressed by LS International as an executive search company…” 

-Luke Sebire, Global Director eCommerce at Carlsberg Group

Danone - Met VP Commercial Russia in 30 Days

Danone had partnered with one of the ‘big’ search firms and they failed. We were able to deliver the right candidate in 30 days which provided ROI to his business in just ½ of the time.

Coty - Met Head of E-commerce DACH in 18 Days

We were able to find their next Head of E-commerce DACH in 18 Days who performed a fantastic job in growing their e-commerce chanel.

Bayer - Met Head of Field Sales Force in 13 Days

Bayer - Met Head of Net Revenue Management in 33 Days

Benefits of Partnering with LS International

  • 95% likelihood of signed offer in under 2 months

  • Save thousands of Euros in opportunity cost

  • Do not waste time meeting irrelevant candidates

  • Hit your targets, get the talent you need

  • Forget about underperformers

  • Get ahead of competitors

How does it work?

LS International Proprietary Network

  • Over 13.000 C-Level executives 
  • Highest Quality Referrals within FMCG 
  • Have our top noche consultants representing your brand.  
  • 22 Days average

LS International ROI Framework

  • Do not make gut decisions on your search strategy  

  • Be active, not reactive and avoid monstrous opportunity costs

LS International Hiring Playbook

  • Benchmark talent globally, not regionally or locally. 

  • Best talents do international assignments and we know how to reach them

  • Leverage technology


Simple, with a close rate of 92.3% and a retention rate of 92.8% of LS International candidates, if  you compare this with firms you have used in the past, you will quickly realize this is far above the average. 

We have a long-term view on executive search, and we have created a network of talented individuals within the FMCG industry, that allows us to execute searches faster and more efficiently than any other firm. We also build long-term relationships with our candidates which result in better candidate response rates.

Personalization is key in today’s world. This means personalization when it comes to our approach to candidates and clients. This is something which the large firms cannot offer, both candidates and clients alike are just a number to them. 

Also, we are specialized in a niche market which allows us to be up to date with every possible top-rated candidate. This means higher retention rates and successful searches for our clients.

For us there is no option of failure, we will address and re-address the issue with you if we see a misalignment in the brief or the current state of the market. We also always include a warranty in our contracts which help prevent this issue happening.

Because we are only specialized in the FMCG industry and we have a very long-term view on headhunting. In big firms, each account is run individually, and many consultants are working in different industries. The principals are industry specific and that is why from a business development perspective they seem niche-specific, but the consultants conducting the actual interviews are not. This allows them to reach a lot of people, but this does not allow them to build long term relationships with candidates that are essential for response rate, retention, and in turn cost reduction. These are some of the reasons why our retention rate and our success rate is higher than our competitors.

We can find better talent because of our active approach to reach candidates and because we are specialized in sales, marketing, and general management functions within the FMCG industry. Internal teams must recruit for every department and every level in the organization which makes them more generalists than specialized in a specific function and level.

If we do not provide you with the candidates you are looking for, we will return your engagement fee and you would be free to contract another firm or search for candidates on your own. There will also be a potential full money back guarantee which we can discuss if you may qualify in the call.

If you find a candidate yourself, you should send them to us. We will include them in the search and make sure they are benchmarked with the other talent so that you only spend time meeting the best 4 candidates.

This only happens 5% of the time for LS International candidates, but if it does happen, we will replace the candidate, free of charge within 30 days.

Our rates depend on the assignment, the market, and the years we have been working with each company and understand their business. We are committed to building new client relationships, so we are flexible with first-time clients.

There is a simple method that can be used to know if you must hire an executive search firm. This method considers the expected outcome value, time to fill in the role, etc… And considers the opportunity cost and the total cost of the search process.

It depends on the assignment, but generally speaking, you will be able to meet candidates in 2 weeks

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