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How BVOH Created a Winning Hiring Strategy for Adamas Pharmaceuticals

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Challenge:

In 2015, Chris Prentiss joined Adamas Pharmaceuticals as the VP, Finance and Controller. At the time they had a lean finance team consisting of a CFO, Senior Accountant, and an Accounts Payable clerk. A clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, Adamas had recently gone through its IPO and had aspirations to transition into a commercial enterprise. This made some positions, like Revenue Manager, challenging to hire.

In addition to a Revenue Manager, Chris also needed to hire a SEC Reporting Manager and a Finance Manager to support R&D. As a small pharmaceutical company in Emeryville, it was difficult to attract candidates, especially with little name recognition and a potentially long commute to the East Bay.

The next step of finding a recruiter was an easy one.

“What makes BVOH a unique recruiter is they truly got to know me as a client – what I’m like, what my expectations are, and what I’m trying to accomplish. They do a great job at understanding the clients they represent in order to make sure there’s a good match.” – Chris Prentiss

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Solution:

Having been placed by BVOH Search & Consulting himself into the biotech company, InterMune, Chris knew he wanted BVOH’s robust resources to support his own recruitment needs . Additionally, as Chris had previously hired BVOH to place multiple roles at InterMune, they both knew how the collaboration and search process and relationship would work.

From the start, BVOH had a vision for the skills and aptitude needed for each position — even if those ideals were an out-of-the-box candidate. With these specific roles being in high demand and low supply, the focus became understanding skill sets — especially a candidate’s ability to learn — and securing a good cultural fit. Chris trusted BVOH to make that call and was willing to be creative, which turned out to be a pivotal part of the recruiting process.

“I’ve always appreciated the preparation and relationship development steps BVOH has built into their process. They won’t send anyone to an interview they haven’t sat down and met with in person, and that comes through when you meet a candidate.” – Chris Prentiss

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Results:

The SEC Reporting position was the first hire, and while the candidate checked Chris’ box of being a Big 4 CPA, they didn’t have direct SEC Reporting experience. This caused some pushback internally, as it could be risky to hire someone who had never worked in that position before. However, the candidate came highly recommended, and has become Chris’ longest term employee who has not only been successful but has been promoted multiple times.

Filling the Revenue Manager role felt like finding a needle in a haystack. Chris needed someone who had worked in healthcare and had a concrete understanding of gross to net revenue. BVOH circled back to a candidate who had previously declined because of the Emeryville location. The timing worked better for this recruit, and he ended up joining and staying with Adamas for 3 years.

And lastly, the Research and Development FP&A role was one where a culture fit was incredibly important for Chris. With BVOH’s help, the position was filled by a candidate who added positively to the team’s culture. Another unconventional pick with no previous direct experience, the candidate turned out to be an exceptional find for the company.

The power of a previous relationship was an integral part of the search process. Chris knew the high level of expertise BVOH would bring to the table, which brought peace of mind when candidates made it to the interview stage. In addition to finding premium candidates to fill these positions, every BVOH recruit for Adamas has been promoted and been with the company for at least 3 years.

As BVOH knows, it’s not just about finding someone to fill a role. It’s about finding quality candidates who add to a company’s overall success and longevity.

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