Angott Search Group is a full-service executive search firm and a globally recognized leader. They have 38 years of successfully connecting great companies with great people 

President and founder Mark Angott share their key differentiators which include: 

  • Their high employee tenure which brings deep knowledge and relationships 
  • They function as a trusted advisor that clients can rely upon 
  • They stay abreast of happenings in their industry niches which benefits their clients 


Read more about how to win clients in recruitment and building client trust.


The Transcript


Brad Wolff (00:01):

Welcome to the, it is about you podcast today. I’m honored to have as my guest Mark Angott with Angott Search Group. Mark, welcome to the show.

Mark Angott (00:14):

Thanks Brad. Appreciate you having me.

Brad Wolff (00:17):

Absolutely. So if you would share a little bit about yourself and the Angott Search Group please.

Mark Angott (00:25):

Thanks Brad. So I started in this business in 1981. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know anybody that thinks they’re going to be into the search business. Okay. but I stumbled in it probably like most people did. I have an accounting degree from Michigan state and I had five years as a company controller and just met somebody that was in this business that really intrigued me. So I joined in 81 helped my mentor grow our business. He actually turned it over to me in 1990 and I’ve been owning it and running it ever since. We have a team of 22 people and just have a fantastic group in team and a great business.

Brad Wolff (01:05):

Terrific. So what is, what excites you? Well, the journey that brought you to where you are today. You know, you, like you said you stumbled into it, which is typically the case. So what excites you the most about your organization?

Mark Angott (01:22):

Well, two things. I’ll tell you what excites me about the business and I’ll talk about the organization. What is excites me about the business is the opportunity to, to help companies be successful. You know, now that I’ve been in the business almost 40 years, it’s great seeing people that you put into them, maybe a middle level position that have, that have moved up to be the CEO or maybe we did them, put them in as a CEO cause we do a lot of C level searches. But to watch them grow their organizations and be successful, take them to the next level is very rewarding. And the same with true was true with candidates. To see candidates that you take from a maybe a role, it isn’t very exciting and really changed their lives is really gratifying. And that’s the fun part of our business now from a, from our organization standpoint, it’s fun watching my team grow and develop.

Mark Angott (02:10):

I’ve, I’ve been very blessed, Brad in my business that I have 22 people in my, in our firm, and over half of them have been here over 15 years in, in probably six or eight of them have been here over 20 years. So we have been really blessed to have tremendous tenure. We’ve won best and brightest companies to work for nine years in a row. I wish I could take the credit for that. It’s not, it’s the team. We have a great team. People get along really well and you know, this business, that’s not always the case, but it is in our office. People just work together very well and very collaborative and everybody is one. And that’s a lot of fun. It’s really fun to watch people build and develop a practice within a firm.

Brad Wolff (02:55):

Yeah, I can, I can tell that that’s something you’re very excited about and you realize it isn’t just about your magic, that you’re part of it, but it’s, it’s not just you. So you talk about the incredible tenure that you have with a lot of your associates. What, what value does that bring? For your clients and candidates.

Mark Angott (03:16):

It’s huge. I mean, the the amount of market intelligence that we can bring to our clients is really valuable when we have those weekly update calls with our clients. Not just to present candidates, but we’re telling them what’s going on in the marketplace. But we have deep knowledge of our marketplace. We’re involved in our markets, we’re involved in our industries. We go to trade associates, we go to events. We’re out there in the marketplace. We’re talking to candidates every day. And that information that we can provide back to our clients is invaluable. Sometimes, you know, the, the news isn’t always good news. You know, you might be telling your client, look, you know, your reputation out there needs work in this area. You know, your, your product isn’t up to speed on this, or your pricing isn’t up to speed in, in the market, or this is a compensation range. You want to, you want to put for this position. I’m sorry, mr client, but let me tell you the real world because we’re in it. We’re living it day to day. And that could be invaluable to our clients. Sometimes not even for a fee bread. I mean we’re giving them intelligence that is just because we have deep relationships with them and they call on us for that.

Brad Wolff (04:22):

So those deep relationships that develop because people in your firm have been there so long, what value does that bring to your candidates?

Mark Angott (04:33):

Oh, a similar note on the candidates because we can tell them lots of information about the client. We can tell them a lots of information about the industry that they probably don’t know. My team was interesting. They’ll bring me in when we’re talking about candidate because I can say, look, not only do I know the person that you are gonna interview with, but we know the CEO very well because I might’ve placed them or our team placed him or, or we’ve worked with that organization for 20 years and they’re, they’re blown away. I mean, they’d be able to tell them how much we know about the whole team and the organization and the culture. That’s what’s really critical because it’s one thing in this search business to match up a resume. Anybody could match up a resume and paper, but it’s really putting together the culture piece that makes a difference. People hire people, they like, people want to go to organizations that have a culture that fits them. And that’s what I believe is the value that we bring to our, to our candidates and our clients that we can honestly tell them this is a great match for you and here, here’s why. And sometimes it’s not always a great match, but we can tell them that too.

Brad Wolff (05:38):

So you talked about functioning as a trusted advisor because you’ve got those relationships with your clients and you keep up so consistently with what’s happening in your industry niches. Is there any crazy or funny stories you have of question that someone asked that had nothing to do with recruiting because they considered you a trusted advisor?

Mark Angott (06:03):

Well, you do hear a lot of things as people is people think you really are a trusted advisor. They’ll ask you some things about the people in the organization that you know, sometimes it’d be a little on the borderline of you should say anything or not, but you know, people really believe we know everything about the client. So you know, you never, you never know what they’re going to ask you. But on the other hand, being that trusted advisor to the client is invaluable because that’s the relationship I think every search professional wants to get to. They started out as a recruiter with the goal of being that trusted advisor where the client calls you up and asks you questions about the industry or truly believes that you’re acting in their best interest. I mean, that’s what the key is for our team. We have our core values sitting right on her desk about honesty and integrity. But the number one thing is just act as if you’re part of their team. Like you’re, you’re making the decision for them. Sometimes that’s hard bread because you know you’ve got a big fee out there when you have to call your clients that, you know what, I think we should pull this candidate out of consideration because of, well, that’s how you gain their respect. It’s a little painful to do that, but that’s the best thing to do and that’s how we, that’s how you build longterm.

Brad Wolff (07:13):

Well, that’s, that’s when a client knows that you’ve got integrity is when you walk away from potential fee because you don’t think it’s the right match. So that’s right. Actually in the long run gets you a lot more, but it does hurt. Having been in recruiting for many years, you’re going, Oh yeah. Well the other thing is

Mark Angott (07:34):

That client that says to you, you know, if it happens a bit contingency deal. Now we also do a lot of engaged in the retainers, but if it is contingency that clients do, Oh, I think I have a candidate at my own, and it’s kind of painful, right? Because you put a lot of work into that search, but maybe you say, Hey, can I help you with references or can I help you put the deal together? It goes a long way.

Brad Wolff (07:54):

Yeah. So they know that you’re really helping them for the long run to be a value add for their organization. And that comes typically. Right. So what Mark would you say is the greatest success story that you’ve been part of with your organization?

Mark Angott (08:10):

Well there, there are some organizations, Brad, that we could look back up and we literally say we built from the ground up. I mean there’s a couple of banks that I worked with in Michigan that literally we did every CEO search for from when the founder started the bank. And it was, it was my first CEO search I did in the late eighties and it was a big thing then. You know, I finally got to C level search right. And a place, a very successful CEO and that CEO then hired regional CEOs and built an organization that was a startup to be a multibillion dollar organization that finally turned over like 10 years later. But you know, there’s a lot of gratification when you, you can look back and say, we really help make that happen. I mean they, they went to us for every search and that, that’s a lot of fun.

Brad Wolff (09:00):

That is that, that is, that is huge. If they keep coming back to you, there’s a reason cause they don’t have to. That’s right. I’m a big believer in failure and obstacles being key things that, that really build us up and make us effective when we get over them. Do you have a particular failure obstacle that you’ve overcome has been pivotal to your success?

Mark Angott (09:22):

Yeah, our business is filled with challenges. I think it’s the most challenging business. I’m sure there’s others, but it’s very challenging because you know the product can say no. So when people are selling a car or they’re selling something else, the product can’t say no. But this one is, you know, we work on a number of big deals and you can do everything right. You can have a slate of great candidates, you can narrow the field down to two great finalists and they can make a tremendous offer to your client, to your candidates. And the guy goes home and he’s been saying the right thing all the time. And, and a spouse says no. Or the kids say no and

Brad Wolff (10:02):

It can be around the die now and kill a deal.

Mark Angott (10:05):

The, yeah, the dog probably could say no to, but there’s, we all know there’s, there is a tremendous number of reasons why they can’t be, can say no besides everything might be buttoned up. And then then the candidate takes a counter offer. So it can be very mentally deflating. It’s a hard business to pick yourself back up off the floor and, and it takes that person that has that resiliency and that ability to now nobody’s going to get excited when that happens. They’re not going to come in and say, yeah, that deal blew up. Great. But they also have to say, that deal blew up. I got to roll with the punches. I gotta come back in tomorrow morning, put the best foot forward and move forward. Because if I’m open powered about it, it’s not going to get any better. So we all have a lot of those in this business. Cause if you’re in this business for a long time, there’s no way you don’t have a litany of those stories about deals that blow up. There’s tons of them that blew up

Brad Wolff (10:55):

And some of them never know Ising that is almost like, no, he got be. You know, sometimes it’s, the stories are so incredible too.

Mark Angott (11:03):

You can’t, yeah, you can’t believe them. And sometimes you don’t believe them

Brad Wolff (11:09):

And you’re like, I’m going to wake up. It’s going to be a dream and everything’s going to work out. Right. You ever had that?

Mark Angott (11:14):

And, and we’ve all store, you know, and we share those, those good stories and those bad stories every week in our team meetings. You know, what we call slices of life and the slices of life are incredible. Sometimes you, you know, everybody’s thought, well that thing was locked up 100% and who know, who knew what would, what was going to happen.

Brad Wolff (11:32):

That is, yeah,

Mark Angott (11:34):

There was those challenges in this business. You know, almost on a weekly basis. Some are bigger than others, but you know, they’re, they’re bigger when you’re starting in the business because you know, if you’re a rookie and that big deal falls apart, it’s devastating because that’s probably all you have going as the veterans. And I’m lucky to have so many veterans understand that some are going to blow up and that, you know, you just have to fill your pipeline up with three to five deals and all the time because they’re not all going to go together. That’s a fact of life.

Brad Wolff (12:04):

And I, and, and it sounds like your organization breedings that support culture so that to help recruiters weather these terrible droughts and storms that make you say, you know what, this isn’t for me, that that support, that support network is really what can make the difference when that happens.

Mark Angott (12:25):

That’s a great point because you need people that are motivating and successful around you. Everybody knows the story about that. You align yourself with people that have positive attitudes in life and it breeds success. And that’s really true here because we do have that culture that if somebody’s deal blows up, you know, you’re going to get a lot of support and a lot of help and everybody’s gonna tell you, you know, Hey, we’ve all been there and done that, you know, roll up your sleeves, you’re going to do fine. And let’s move on to the next one.

Brad Wolff (12:50):

Absolutely. So Mark is, as we’re winding this down, is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed?

Mark Angott (12:59):

You know, again, we’re, we’re very fortunate cause I have a great team, so that’s successful tenured account manager that we ever director is critical to our success. That means we’ve got a, we have a very thorough search process that really helps our clients in the best way possible. So that’s to bring the best talent to the marketplace that we can find them. But that’s, that is really important in that living by the, you know, kind of, you know, those core values. I can’t say enough about it because people, you can’t shortcut this business. You really have to be in it for the longterm to do the right thing at all times. And that’s what we try to, you know, preach into our team that, that that’s the value we can bring to the marketplace. You know, there’s lots of recruiters out there, but you have to be able to develop those longterm relationships with your clients that

Mark Angott (13:50):

I understand their culture so that you’re going to bring the best talent to them that you possibly can.

Brad Wolff (13:55):

That’s an excellent point. So what is your website for listeners to be able to look you up?

Mark Angott (14:03):

It’s A S G team dot com. So it’s a ASG like Angott Search Group T a M like baseball team dot com.

Brad Wolff (14:12):

Terrific. Well Mark, thank you so much for investing your time and sharing very specific information about what you bring for your clients and candidates and employees. Really appreciate your time.

Mark Angott (14:26):

Well thank you for having me. It’s been a real honor to be on your podcast.

Brad Wolff (14:31):