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5 Keys to Making a Great Hire

By January 8, 2015 No Comments

By: Maurice Gilbert, Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search

executive selectionFinding valuable additions to your team takes time and discipline.  If you rush through the process and make a poor hiring decision, your replacement costs can be as much as 400 percent of the departing employee’s base salary (this may include severance costs, new hire costs, etc.).

Listed here are the five key factors we ask our clients to consider when filling a position:

1. Have a minimum of four people interview the candidate.  The more people that interact with the professional, the better perspective you get, because each interviewer looks at the interviewee through their own lens…their own set of unique experiences.  A word of caution, though: please don’t expect to make a hire based on a unanimous “love fest” from all interviewers, as this is unrealistic and can lead to paralysis in the decision-making process.

2. Provide sufficient time for the entire hiring process.  The life cycle of a search from commencement to new hire starting may be as short as three months and as long as six months.  Why?  It involves sourcing, interviewing, extending an offer, negotiating the offer and the notice period (in some countries where we conduct searches, the notice period may be defined by contract or local law and be as long as three months).  By way of illustration, if you have a target date of June 1, 2015 to bring on a new hire, you may be well advised to start the search January 8, 2015.  The point here: you do not want to wait till your hair is on fire before vetting candidates, as this may compromise your judgment.

3. Hire for attitude; skills can learned.  Clearly a new hire has to have a certain threshold of skills to bring value to your team, but must they have everything on your wish list?  And is that realistic?  Skills and knowledge in a particular area can and will be learned.  Whatever shortfall a professional may have will be strengthened through their own research, your coaching and their interaction with their colleagues.  Conversely, attitude is an attribute you wish the professional to bring from day one.  Positive attitudes reflect fun, excitement, creativity, challenge, sense of urgency, collaboration and an ongoing thirst for learning.

4. Hire for cultural fit.  This is different from “attitude.” referred to above.  Every company has its own culture.  For example, when I worked at GE, we were expected to take ownership of our business and run it as an entrepreneur, bringing fresh ideas consistently and taking calculated risk.  This environment would not have been appropriate for a professional who did not embrace this level of ownership and the risks associated with it.

5. Be transparent in the interview process.  It is to everyone’s best interest to show the good, the bad and the ugly to the candidate so you and he/she can make an informed decision.  In the interest of bringing on top talent, I have seen some hiring authorities aggressively sell the positive attributes of the company and the position without sharing the negatives.  What good does it do to bring someone on and have them leave you within a year?  A successful hire is defined as someone you will retain.

 

Maurice GilbertMaurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.  Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at maurice@conselium.com or maurice@corporatecomplianceinsights.com.