Hiring senior talent is a delicate process, due to the amount of influence the chosen individual will ultimately have on the company. This process takes careful consideration, and before you start speaking with candidates you should know exactly what you're looking for in an executive.
While hiring the top talent you need to run your company certainly isn't an easy process, it is one that must be navigated smoothly for continued success, and for that to happen you're going to need to understand how to find qualified executives. Individuals with the ability to run entire departments or organizations aren't the easiest to come across – this isn't your average MBA holder we're talking about.
"The hiring focus has shifted from intelligence to competence"
In recent decades hiring focus has shifted from intelligence to competence. You shouldn't be focusing on how much individuals know about the job. Instead you should be thinking about how well they can perform it.
Well if it's not exactly performance, but instead adaptability that you are looking for, then how do you find it? Most people don't have CEO listed on their resumes, and chances are everyone you speak with at least likes to think they're somewhat competent. Keep an eye on the small things when speaking with the individual.
Some of the things to look out for when interviewing senior talent candidates
For example, is he or she friendly? While your senior talent shouldn't consist of push-overs, these people certainly shouldn't be evil either. You're not trying to set up "Horrible Bosses 3," you're trying to run an organization. For this reason, look for someone who is friendly and relatable, and who can easily run a team. In addition to coming off as a generally nice person, another important aspect of the ability to competently run a team is communication. You'll need a person who can clearly express his or her intentions to employees and peers on plans and purposes. It is a quality essential for someone who intends to lead a team.
One way to ensure this is to be thorough in your succession planning, something that we have discussed in the past. If you're able to identify your future executives from within the company, that will make the search that much easier. Of course, whether your recruiting network is internal, external or both, you should always be looking for the same qualities. In the end, you are searching for competence and potential when looking for senior talent. The person who can handle the toughest of times with ease, and who has the ability to lead the company successfully into the future.