All successful techniques for evaluating candidates focus on the critical elements of the job, the corporate environment, and the degree to which a candidate can respond to those elements.

Executive evaluation needs to assess the depth of the candidate’s:

  • Demonstrated skills, in relation to the tasks to be undertaken;
  • Fit, within the relationship structure of the organization; and
  • Interest, in undertaking the role they’ve being recruited for.

How would you like to be able to do that in just one meeting!

You would?

Take all your finalists for a test drive, one-by-one

Donald Trump had an idea on NBC Television’s “The Apprentice” which all Search Committees should consider copying.  [Fortunately it’s an old idea, so unlike the expression, “You’re Fired”, The Donald didn’t think to trademark it – so there’s no need to send him a cheque.]

High-level presentations are a normal part of most sales and marketing executive’s weekly to-dos.   Ask your finalists to prepare a twenty minute presentation for a fictitious new account.  For non-sales and marketing executives and especially for “change agents” consider asking them to layout their “First 100 Days” and present it to the Search Committee.

The presentation is important but this is not a test.  There are no right answers.  What you want the Search Chair to do is watch how candidates use their time up to the day of the presentation.   You will get a fairly accurate snap shot of their work habits and leadership style.   The Chair should observe if they ask for the correct amount of help/guidance.  Are they lone wolfs or armchair generals?  Is that an asset or a liability in the role you wish to staff?  The exercise will give you insight as to how they:

  • Think
  • Strategize
  • Organize
  • Present
  • Handle pressure
  • Think on their feet
  • Make use of the English language.

Watch closely and take notes.  You’re not looking for perfection but are they:

  • Prepared?
  • Convincing?
  • Credible?
  • Logical?
  • Compelling?

Compare and contrast

Now compare notes with your colleagues:

  • Does everyone feel the same about the candidate?
  • Are the reasons for their selection or disqualification appropriate?
  • What further questions need to be asked?
  • Do the candidate’s future goals, their skills, and the role you need filled all conform?
  • Most importantly how did they use their time and do you now believe they’re sincerely interested in your opportunity?