Corporate Navigators is a name generation research and candidate development firm serving recruitment professionals in the United States and around the globe.  Mitch Golob, the president shares their key differentiators: 

  • They perform real-time research to generate qualified candidates for clients 
  • All information they provide is guaranteed to be accurate through telephone-based validation 
  • They have no minimum sized projects and don’t charge placement fees 
  • They provide a two-day turnaround on every project 



Read more about how to find success in the recruitment industry.


The Transcript


Brad Wollf (00:00):

Welcome to the, it is about you podcast today. I’m honored to have as my guest, Mitch Golob, the president of Corporate Navigators. Mitch, welcome to the shelf.

Mitch Golob (00:14):

Thanks so much. Good to be with you Brad.

Brad Wollf (00:16):

Absolutely. So I was really curious if you would share a little bit about yourself and corporate navigators please?

Mitch Golob (00:26):

Of course. So I founded this company 20 years ago now after leaving Heidrick & Struggles and executive search firm in Chicago with a mission, a mission to create a unique client experience within the world of recruiting, research named generation research. Taking a page actually out of the Heidrick & Struggles model of client service, client excellence, and really owning the work that we provide to our clients who are both executive search firms and corporate recruiting entities. I started it as a one person show in the back bedroom of my apartment and have since grown the organization to a team of 10 researchers for more candidate developers recruiters as well as research directors who help lead and manage client relationships. So that is, that is the brief history and here we are 20 years later.

Brad Wollf (01:26):

Wow. So 20 years you’ve been doing this since you left Heidrick and struggles you’ve had been in business 20 years.

Mitch Golob (01:33):

That’s correct. Yeah. We just turned 20 on February 1st so

Brad Wollf (01:37):

Congratulations. That’s awesome. Thank you. So ms, tell me what excites you the most about what you do?

Mitch Golob (01:45):

Absolutely. I would say it’s really, we’d like to think of ourselves as problem solvers at corporate navigators in the recruiting, research and candidate development that we do. So clients come to us with a challenge. They’re trying to identify, oftentimes have very specific type of candidate. And our goal is to put the puzzle pieces together and really identify individuals that they can’t find on their own and do that quickly, frankly. So can we build out a real time contact list of individuals that are going to be relevant on target and appropriate for their, their positions that they’re trying to fill? How do we leverage that process? And for us, it’s, it’s a, it’s a challenge to be solved. And I think being able to do that and set our clients up for success is what’s most exciting for us.

Brad Wollf (02:32):

So who predominantly do you serve?

Mitch Golob (02:36):

Yeah, I would say we are our two primary client bases if you will, would be corporate recruiting departments and executive search firms. So we work with corporate recruiters who use us more or less to help leverage their internal recruiting process. And we work with executive search firms who don’t necessarily have a robust internal research function. So we can help support those executive recruiters that search firms as well to help them do what they do.

Brad Wollf (03:07):

Terrific. So let’s talk about what are the key things that make you unique and valuable to your clients? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Match?

Mitch Golob (03:18):

Yeah, I would say real time data and delivered quickly with, I feel like clients always come to us with, Hey, we need a candidate yesterday, right? Putting yesterday in quotes. They are always under the gun. They oftentimes have lots of requisitions on their plates and we want to be able to help leverage their process and do that quickly. So when they, when they come to us on a Monday, that early today if today’s a Monday, we can deliver first round of results within two business days. By Wednesday, we can get them on the phone talking to potential candidates, give them a jumpstart. We’re pretty aggressively to get them talking to potential candidates that would be appropriate for their search. And so that’s one of the things that we did. We really worked hard to maintain in terms of our ability to turn around updates very quickly.

Brad Wollf (04:13):

So how does, how do your clients know that the information is accurate?

Mitch Golob (04:18):

Yeah, so we do we certainly take advantage of online resources. Linkedin, our own internal database is fairly robust and all the services and technologies to which we subscribe. But what’s unique about us is that we’re still very telephone driven. So every single person that we identify and provide to our clients has been verified and, and confirmed and reconfirmed. I like to say with, with the human being at the company where they work today, realtime information, we try to use the journalism model of two independent sources to say, yes, this is the person you’re looking for. And we’ve confirmed all the information for that individual. So we can say with a high degree of certainty and accuracy, this is, this is what the picture looks like today at that company.

Brad Wollf (05:06):

Awesome. So that, that is, that would be a big deal that your clients know the information is accurate because I think anyone in recruiting has had a load of information that looked good but wasn’t accurate. So that’s gotta be a huge factor working with you.

Mitch Golob (05:26):

Absolutely. And we don’t want to waste our client’s time or have them waste their time in terms of, Oh boy, I hope that these names will actually work out. We want to already have that down. So it can be a seamless you know, exchange of data so they can just jump right on the phone, make those outreach calls and know that what we say that person is doing, what they’re responsible for, to whom they report all the aspects of where they fit in, within the structure, that that’s all real time. That’s not just being pulled off a website somewhere or based on algorithm. It’s because we’ve talked to people who said, yeah, that’s, those are the individuals responsible for that function. And so we can really be an efficient partner in that way for our clients, I believe.

Brad Wollf (06:10):

So how, how big are your projects? What, you know, let’s say it’s a small company that doesn’t have a big project. How do you handle when there’s very small needs?

Mitch Golob (06:22):

Yeah, so we work with clients large and small, and the projects that they, that they bring to us are large and small. We have no minimum in terms of the hours required for a project. Just the other day a client said, Hey, can you find out here is a, here’s a person who runs the marketing department. At this company, we just want to know who the direct reports might be to that person. Can you go break that out? It might only take us a half an hour and we want to be that GoTo resource. We understand that, that it’s about building client trust and relationship so that when they come back to that large project there, there’s already a shorthand there. We understand that they can come to us no matter what the size and scope of the project is and they don’t have to worry about, Oh boy, this isn’t 25 hours or 50 hours. I hope corporate navigators will take it on. We want to be that GoTo resource regardless of project size. And I think it’s served us well over the years.

Brad Wollf (07:13):

So how fast are you able to turn around your projects to provide this information? Because timeliness is, has gotta be a big factor for companies?

Mitch Golob (07:24):

Absolutely. So we do work very hard to maintain that two day turnaround, a first installment of research within two business days. We do also offer what we call fast lane research, which is a same day project. So you can call us at 9:00 AM in the morning and by 5:00 PM that day you’ll have a first batch of research. We have the ability to turn things around quickly. And if you do need us to double, triple up on a project because it does large scope and you have a deadline, we can usually accommodate those kinds of needs as well. So we really want to understand how urgent it is and what the scope of the project is and can we deliver. And the answer is usually yes, we want to be upfront with you if we don’t think we can deliver within that timeframe. But we worked very hard to turn the results around in a matter of days. We always measure, measure our projects by days, not weeks.

Brad Wollf (08:17):

Terrific. So, ms, what’s the greatest success story that you’ve been part of with your organization?

Mitch Golob (08:25):

That’s a great question. I think there, there’s so many where we can really help our clients. One thing that comes to mind is when we can go beyond just, Hey, we’re looking for, to fill one role. Like, for example, we worked with a major retailer and they’re trying to understand how they should be structuring their merchandising function. So the research that we did was going beyond just names on a list, which is important too, but to be able to, how are our competitors structuring their merchandising function? And so we were able to map that out on a large scale, multiple levels of understanding. Okay, well at one company, the merchandising manager has five or six buyers reporting to them at this other company, it’s more like 10 or 12. That’s interesting. How successful are they being with that structure? So we think about adjusting our structure in terms of our organization within a function.

Mitch Golob (09:22):

And so to be able to go above and beyond to be able to provide what I would consider competitive intelligence, marketplace intelligence, above and beyond just recruiting research, that’s when we can really add value. And for us, that’s really gratifying to be able to be that kind of partner. And I’m saying this information is great. I ran it up the chain of command. They were very impressed with what they saw. But more importantly, they were able to act on that information to help us make better business decisions. And for us, that’s really very gratifying. As I said, it’s, it’s,

Brad Wollf (09:53):

Wow. So that’s research that was not in the scope of specifically sourcing candidates. It was competitive intelligence.

Mitch Golob (10:01):

Exactly. And our approach is the same. We’re all doing it in terms of our research team is you are using the telephone to confirm that information, but the end results and how the data’s being used as a little bit different for different purposes. But yeah, our approach is the same. It’s just about understanding the specific needs of the client for that project and, and approaching the strategy accordingly.

Brad Wollf (10:24):

I’m a big believer that the most successful people have had major failures or obstacles they’ve overcome that really helped define, help them become more successful. So do you have a particular failure obstacle you’ve overcome that’s been pivotal to your success?

Mitch Golob (10:42):

Yup. PR, probably a few, I would say.

Brad Wollf (10:45):

Oh, right. [inaudible] And the most successful people in reality, I’ve had more than one, but one that really comes to your mind that’s been so helpful to you.

Mitch Golob (10:54):

Yeah, I guess off the top of my head, I would say when the economic downturn hit really everyone both in the U S and globally and 2008, 2009 for us, that was a very challenging time. We had executive search firm clients that we, that were sending us many, many projects historically shutter their doors, you know, reorganize things along those lines. We were seeing clients greatly reduced their needs of going outside for PR to partners like us. And for us internally that meant contracting our team and kind of making some hard decisions, which was very tough. It was a tough time. And the way we really looked at it is we needed to kind of pivot to see how we could continue to address our client’s needs in an economic climate client climate that was very, very different. We did that a couple different ways.

Mitch Golob (11:47):

Number one is we really expanded our outreach to potential corporate clients working directly with internal recruiting internal recruiting functions inside companies as opposed to executive search firms. We worked for both historically, but we really made a point of of reaching out to internal recruiting departments at companies to be able to convey to them our offerings could be a cost effective alternative to retain search to contingency search because we never charge placement fees and you don’t need to sign up as we talked about for 25 or 50 or a hundred hours if you just need a little bit of bridge, a little bit of a jumpstart on a project. So we became this very cost effective service offering to help them, especially when their budgets were tight and to be able to build that corporate client base was w was huge for us weathering that storm.

Mitch Golob (12:41):

Additionally we were able to diversify our offerings like what we just described in terms of going beyond just research. We expanded the scope of our candidate development where we could do outreach and recruiting calls to potential candidates. We have a team of recruiters on the team that can help us make that initial reach to determine if someone’s interested in qualified again on an hourly basis so they don’t have to pay a placement fees and continued to evolve and grow in our offerings that have now included things like talent pipeline where we can maintain a pool of potential candidates, cross function, cross industry, whatever’s appropriate for our clients. So we, it was, it was a challenging time, but it was, I think all for the better because it allowed us to really take a look at what was working, what wasn’t, how can we expand our offerings and how can we expand our client base beyond those who were we’re already serving for us. That’s how we were able to weather the storm and, and frankly come out the other side smarter and stronger in terms of how we continue to work with, with some of those same clients today.

Brad Wollf (13:51):

Absolutely, yes. The nice thing about failures and obstacles, if we learn from them, we actually emerge better off than if they never happened. So this is clearly a case where that was the situation for your organization. So let’s just as we’re wrapping this up, is there anything you’d like to add that, that we have not discussed?

Mitch Golob (14:12):

Oh, I don’t think so. I think we touched upon some of the key aspects of what we do. We work in a unique way that is hourly as opposed to placement, fee driven. We, we work in a capacity that it has no minimum in terms of the number of hours our needs, our clients need to retain us for a, I do think the only other thing I would add is we really work hard to provide as close to what I would consider a guarantee and ownership of the work that we’re providing. And so we work hard to have it be as perfect as possible every time on every project. But life happens, right?

Brad Wollf (14:47):

Yeah, exactly.

Mitch Golob (14:48):

We, we missed the boat. We find we are able to generate on target or relevant results or we, we should have gone this direction and we went that direction. We really take ownership of that. If that means circling back at no charge of really owning the work of providing a credit, we want to be that GoTo resource. We want to figure out how to bring that client back for the next project as opposed to figuring out how to run up the clock on this one. And I think that served us well too. I do think that’s a unique approach that we take in terms of really owning the work and doing it

Brad Wollf (15:20):

Right. You’re, you’re, you’re not rewarded when what you do isn’t getting the results that were intended. That’s a lot. So Mitch, what is your organization’s website? What’s your web address?

Mitch Golob (15:34):

Absolutely. We’re at corporate so it’s just all spelled out a Corp, also works that takes into the same, same site. That’s our abbreviation and folks can find us there.

Brad Wollf (15:46):

Mitch, I want to thank you for investing your time on the podcast. This has been very helpful and very informative and clearly you offer something of, of real value to your clients.

Mitch Golob (15:59):

Absolutely. Thanks so much Brad, for the opportunity and I appreciate the time as well.