It’s not easy for a company to improve performance and culture with a single, solitary action. Hiring the right executive, however, can be that game changer.
So says David Perry, author of “Hiring Greatness: How to Recruit Your Dream Team and Crush the Competition.”
Perry, a longtime recruiter of senior executives as managing partner of the professional search firm Perry-Martel International, adds that a bad hire could mortally wound an organization. “These days, no organization survives long without strong leadership,” he told IBD.
Tips on hiring from the top down:
Live ROI. The acquisition of key players is an investment like any other, “one which should have a demonstrative return on investment which clearly justifies the effort and cost involved,” Perry said.
Put a team together. Someone needs to lead the employment search. Perry has found that most boards of directors and CEOs “lack the knowledge, experience and time needed” to find talent.
A company’s board should appoint a search committee and establish:
1. What you need in a candidate with a highly specific job description.
2. A search timeline and costs.
3. A strategy for the search.
4. A process for hiring the best candidate.
Define internal responsibilities. You and the interview team should know your roles and key areas to focus on when interviewing, says Nick Mailey, vice president of talent acquisition at Intuit (INTU), which develops financial and tax preparation software for small businesses and accountants.
“At Intuit, we ensure greater success by holding an Assess 4 Awesome (A4A) meeting with the interview team to align on role and responsibilities,” he said. “These hiring plan meetings drive stronger outcomes, higher quality hires, faster recruiting times and better experience for candidates.
“Your company is only as good as the talent you attract. Every leader’s top priority is to ensure you hire and retain top talent.”
Inspire candidates. As an interviewer, you’re the face of the company; your behavior is a reflection of that, Mailey note.
It’s not just that you want to hire candidates; they have to want you as you’re competing for talent with others.
“Lead with inquiry, and let your ego take a back seat,” he said. “People remember how you make them feel. At Intuit, we train employees on how to effectively assess candidates, while maintaining a positive experience.
“Managing your employment brand and aligning it with your company’s brand and/or values is the trick.”
Make it easy. Ninety-five percent of employed executives will pass on the opportunity to even talk with you if they need to create a resume first, Perry shares.
The alternative is to tailor a confidential candidate brief for them. It gathers the information you need to see if they’re a fit while educating and selling the opportunity.
Set high standards. Many executive searches fail because those searching didn’t do enough research, Perry has found.
“Too often, searchers cut corners,” Perry said. “They mistake a Google search and LinkedIn (LNKD) scan for research and pick the low-hanging fruit. Real research starts with a much broader perspective. So analyze your industry, identify which companies are winning, and find out who is driving their success. That’s who you want.”
Wrap them up. At Intuit, top talent assessors make a decision on whether to advance with a candidate, and managers are leveraged to close the deal with whom they want, says Mailey. He adds that a number of companies such as Alphabet‘s (GOOGL) Google and Amazon (AMZN) have a similar approach.
Perry said that when it comes to recruiting top talent, “companies like Tesla Motors (TSLA) or Google want to change the world. Can you offer your candidate a challenge this engaging?”