April 2, 2024
April 2, 2024

Navigating Leadership Hiring in eMobility with Hubject

Paula Moniz

Since its foundation in 2012, Hubject has evolved as a market leader dedicated to revolutionising public charging for electric vehicles (EVs). Born as a joint venture, Hubject already has over 2000+ partners and +600K charging stations - significantly impacting the experiences of more than 10 million EV drivers worldwide.

Growing its team to over 100 individuals in Berlin, Shanghai, and Los Angeles; Hubject's cross-industry platforms and innovative business models exemplify its commitment to emission-free mobility and the increasing adoption of EV travel.

The Mission: A New COO

In line with its ambitious growth strategy, Hubject identified the need for a seasoned leader to join as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The complex landscape of the eMobility industry required the search for a dynamic and strategic professional. To ensure the perfect fit, Hubject worked with the Acelr8 Executive Search team, to find top talent and navigate the evolving world of the electric vehicle market.

The Challenges and Solution

Propelling the COO’s basics:

When starting the collaboration, the initial challenge was to redefine the new COO's scope and role within the organisation structure. Originally, the job description outlined a broad set of skills and responsibilities. However, as we delved deeper into Hubject’s innovative vision and the unique challenges of the COO role, we were able to advise on how to adapt the profile requirements. The scope of the COO's position evolved to a blend of soft and strategic skills, aligning more closely with the dynamic needs of the organisation.

  • To address this, we went beyond conventional job descriptions, swiftly making the necessary adjustments to showcase the real challenges, responsibilities, and expectations for this role. In addition, working on redefining the role’s position in the org chart provided structure and coherence.
  • Once requirements were realigned, the responsibility of communicating these changes to candidates on the pipeline and internal stakeholders was also taken up.
  • Effective communication and collaboration with Hubject’s leadership team were developed to implement these changes. Regular updates, a weekly reporting system, staying consistent with our processes, and asking many relevant questions led us to a positive client NPS of 9.
“Good listening skills, really trying to understand what we're looking for and adjusting things to fit our needs, even when things were going differently than planned”. - Ana Tonita, VP of People and Strategy at Hubject

Navigating the Niche World of eMobility:

The complex landscape of eMobility presented a unique challenge due to the limited C-level professional pool. Delving into this intricate ecosystem, it becomes apparent that the addressable market for industry experts is limited. Coupled with the specific requirements for this role and a commitment to gender diversity, added an extra layer of complexity to the search.

Overcoming this barrier demanded a strategic approach, requiring a nuanced understanding of the industry. The Executive Search Team tackled this challenge through:

  • Market Mapping and Competitor Analysis: Conducting comprehensive research to compile an extensive list of relevant companies both within and outside the eMobility sector, offering valuable insights into the competitive landscape.
  • Deep Dive into Hubject’s Products and Operations: When onboarding, we were happy to ramp up quickly on Hubject’s products and operations to get a profound understanding and clarity on the needs of the company, project, and team.

This strategic approach not only ensured the identification of top-tier talent but also highlighted our openness to candidates from diverse backgrounds. It's important to note that, during the search process, we remained open to considering candidates from diverse backgrounds, prioritising individuals with the ability to scale operations effectively. This flexibility in our approach led to the successful onboarding of our COO, who, despite not having prior eMobility experience, exceeded our strategic expectations.

Enhancing processes and experience:

Two significant challenges were encountered during the hiring process: 1) limited interviewing availability from the hiring team, and 2) Multiple stakeholders needed to be involved in this hiring decision. Despite the COO role priority, these hurdles led to an unexpectedly prolonged hiring process, which added an extra layer of complexity to the project.

To tackle this, the following strategies were implemented:

  • Establishment of Standard Processes: while collaborating closely with the leadership team, a comprehensive hiring process was crafted, incorporating the perspectives of all relevant stakeholders. This ensured that every candidate was evaluated consistently, fostering fairness and minimising biases in the final hiring decision.
  • Optimisation of Candidate Management: recognising the extended waiting periods between interview stages, the Executive Search team proactively managed candidate experiences. Through open and transparent communication, constant updates, and timely follow-ups, candidates were kept engaged and informed throughout the process, ensuring a positive and considerate experience even during extended timelines.
“Really proactive and reliable support with strong process expertise - we felt very guided through the process and appreciated the tips on best practices”. - Ana Tonita, VP of People and Strategy at Hubject

“Well informed, thorough, fast and regular follow-ups, excellent!” - Annemarie Van Leijen, COO at Hubject

Handling a Confidential Search

The communication strategy is critical when hiring for a new C-level role, given the delicate nature of potential reporting line changes within the team. To ensure a seamless and discrete process, the following practices were implemented:

  • Regular Stakeholder Check-ins: Consistent communication with key stakeholders was established through weekly catch-ups and asynchronous channels. This allowed for a clear understanding of ongoing dynamics and facilitated the alignment of messaging throughout the recruitment journey.
  • Monitoring Internal Communications Updates: Staying informed about internal communications within the organisation was key. This measure ensured the messaging surrounding the new C-level role was synchronised with broader organisational narratives.
  • Strategic Network Analysis: A thorough examination of mutual connections within professional networks was conducted before initiating the reach-out process. If Hubject’s leadership team shared connections with a potential candidate, a double-check protocol was applied to verify the connection and ensure that the role could be communicated appropriately and with discretion.

These meticulous strategies not only upheld professionalism but also contributed to a smooth transition in the hiring process, fostering a positive perception among both the existing team and potential candidates for the C-level role.

Acelr8 Executive Impact

The hiring journey with the Hubject team was framed by collaboration, communication and passion for excellence, which resulted in the following:

  • The hire of an exceptional female leader, who met the role's strategic expectations despite not having a background in the eMobility industry, becoming the first C-level female member in the company.
  • A total time-to-hire of 3.4 months and a time-to-fill of 3.6 months.
  • An impressive response rate of 43% for the specific eMobility industry.
  • A Gender-lens focus with 11% of female leaders present in our pipeline.
  • A 100% success ratio, closing the role with a first-time offer, emphasising the precision of the process.

The collaboration between Hubject and Acelr8 Executive Search exemplifies the power of strategic alignment, meticulous planning, and effective communication in navigating the challenges of the evolving eMobility landscape. The successful hire of a dynamic leader not only marked a significant milestone for Hubject but also underscored the strength of our partnership.

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