How to Reach C-Level Executives: Charley Polachi


Kevin Price Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Charley Polachi who is a Managing Partner at Polachi, the leading provider of Access Executive Search. In 2002, I cofounded Polachi with my brother Peter and partner Susan Mills.

Tell us about your company?

At Polachi, we focus on recruiting top talent in the tech ecosystem in pre-revenue startups to multinational, multi-billion dollar corporations. As a retained executive search firm, we specialize in recruiting CEO, GM, and VP level executives for companies throughout the United States and have specialty practices for Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Board needs.

What is your background when it comes to pitching to C-suite executives?

As a retained executive search consultant with over 30 years of experience, I offer my services to boards of directors to fill CEOs vacancies and also to CEOs for openings in the C-Suite (CMO, CFO, CTO, etc.). With expert level knowledge in my domain, attributable to conducting over 30,000 interviews in my career, I feel well prepared when presenting to C-suite executives. I’m an entrepreneur and have founded several search firms and have even sold one successfully.

What is unique about your approach?

I’m in the good fit business, not the good guy/girl business. When interacting with a board or the CEO, both my name and my business’s reputation are on the line in this high stakes industry. If we push a candidate forward that is unprepared or a bad fit for the position, it’s a bad outcome for everyone. At Polachi, we focus on actively creating relationships with candidates and having their résumé on record for when a proper fit may arise. This proactive approach makes us unique and highly trusted among our clients. Our firm is not constrained by the “off limits” protocols of traditional firms and we have much deeper reach and access than newer firms.

Further, we believe strongly in the first year charter methodology –specifically, we have the board or CEO identify and articulate the milestones that a new hire must accomplish during their first year of employment. We revisit a year later to assess the fit and keep the focus on the next phase of desired outcomes.

What suggestions do you have for those who want to also approach C-suite clients?

Be prepared – It isn’t just some motto from the Boy Scouts of America, it’s a fact of life. Walking into a high level meeting without knowledge of whom you are meeting with is inexcusable. In 2013, thanks to the help of LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, etc., you can find a plethora of information about key decision makers in advance of the session. Lack of preparation is the biggest predictor of not closing the deal. Always do your research and be over prepared.

Practice, practice, practice – When we see Tiger Woods sink a putt or a dancer ace a complicated routine, it seems flawless. Yet, if you were to look under the surface, you would see that the golfer had spent years perfecting the sinking of the putt and that the dancer had made countless mistakes on the way to perfecting the routine. Similarly, when communicating with CEOs, you must spend time honing your craft. I use a dictation machine to listen and playback exactly how I present myself. This way, I can listen to what I do well and improve upon what I do badly – I leave nothing up to chance. Others may find advice and feedback from mentors useful but some prefer to watch a video recording of their performance for areas of improvement – whatever your choice, find ways to continue building your communications skill set.

Contact information:

Polachi website –