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Is your recruiting process set up for success?

Is your recruiting process set up for success?

We have all done it. We have said, “I need to hire a _____________”. We put the word out to our network, and find a few candidates to speak with, but no one impressed us or seemed like the right fit. We keep searching or decide to make a hire from our “ho-hum” pool of candidates because we have so much to get done and willing hands seem better than none at all.
We are missing opportunities, right? Inside of us, a little voice is saying “you needed to find someone better, I don’t know if we can get where we need to go with the level of talent we have.” But it is too late, we have succumbed to the pressure of now, and have hired someone “good enough” or convenient, and three to six months later we regret the decision.
A well-defined recruiting process can extend the time to hire, but your probability o making the right hire, a great hire, is over 90%. How much is the wait of a few weeks worth to you?
What are the components of a well-defined process?
  1. Assign a point person to lead and drive the search, and be the primary contact for all the candidates.
  2. Define the business outcomes that you hope to achieve by hiring this person. What do you hope to accomplish with this hire?
    • Examples are FDA approval, Clinical study started and completed, market defined, reimbursement approved, increased sales, manufacturing operations established and running efficiently, build a company with many of these pieces plus raise funding.
  3. Create a position description that incorporates the goals, proven abilities of the ideal candidate, and attributes you need to ensure a good fit for the current team.
  4. Decide where to look – Competitors, Board, Advisors, etc. How will you get candidates into your pipeline?
  5. Filter all candidates against the position description, and weigh out strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Decide who is on your interview jury, which questions each member will specifically ask, and the particular skills they are interviewing for -i.e. board members interview for leadership and fit; peers interview for skill-sets that they will interface with, and understanding of technology.
  7. Rank and prioritize candidates for second and third-round interviews.
  8. Collect and call references for finalists (min of 2 finalists, and 6 references each).
  9. Create a compelling offer to give to the lead finalist, deliver and negotiate.
  10. Set up the start date and onboarding process (first 90 days) to make sure the candidate gets all the information needed and relationships established with the current team to be successful.
Does it seem like a lot? There is plenty of heavy lifting and it is very important to have a well-defined process to get the right leadership candidates on your team. A great search consultant can accomplish all of this with you and add the value of assisting with Board communications, managing candidate communications, and expectations, and keep your lead candidates engaged and moving forward in the process.
Also, the searched individual can be a good thought partner on each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and how they will integrate into the rest of the team. Finally, a search person provides leverage when it comes to negotiation of salary, bonus, etc. You will end up with a happy candidate and a satisfied CEO/Board which sets everyone on the right footing for success.
Brands Matter to Top C-Suite Talent – Make Yours Shine

Brands Matter to Top C-Suite Talent – Make Yours Shine

You as a brand is a popular concept.  It seems that people are embracing this concept and communicating their brand in their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles, resumes, and other social media profiles.  How does this apply to the selection and hiring of top C-Suite talent? 
 
One way to look at this is to identify the employers the person has worked with before and what their brand stands for.  How does your company brand rank against this candidate’s previous employers? What do those brands and your brand stand for? What is this candidate’s personal brand communicating? This is very important when bringing on someone unfamiliar – someone you, your board of directors, or your team has not worked with at a prior company.  Because you do not have the first-hand experience, you will rely on the brands the candidate has worked with to tell a story about the candidate.
For example, someone who has worked for a top-five industry leader (Merck, Goldman Sachs, Edwards, Illumina, Johnson & Johnson) or who graduated from a top university is going to have a higher standard of performance, a feeling of comfort when working with other people from similar companies and educational backgrounds. Each of these companies and academic institutions have a distinct brand and culture that is derived from the brand. How does work get done?  How are processes, thinking, and behaviors influenced by these brands? Expectations for results will also be higher, especially if these individuals were top performers at these companies and academic institutions.  
If your company is viewed as a top-performing company, or a “hot and up and coming company” attracting a candidate from a top school or other top brands will be easier.  You are one step ahead in attracting good talent. If your target candidate is not similarly ranked as you are (i.e. either one of you is significantly better) then you need to answer questions, such as:
  • Why are you interested in them, or why are they interested in you?
  • Does this candidate bring a special set of skills, and are they ranked in the top 20% of performers in a similar role?
  • Why would this candidate be interested in your company?
  • What is it that they will gain by joining you?
  • How will candidate compensation be affected by brand comparisons?
  • Will my company be willing to stretch to acquire a prestigious candidate or will the candidate be lucky to join my company?
If you understand your position with respect to each candidate, and proactively adjust your approach, you will be both more efficient in your hiring process and candidate target selection.  The most effective way to identify your “why” is to know your company values and mission, which naturally reflects the brand and focus of your business. For instance, “Our company develops technology to address unmet neurological disorders that affect over 10% of the world’s population.”
The brand conveys your “How” including how you execute and the standards you adhere to; and how people communicate within your organization.  This creates impressions of feelings, and it is how you will be remembered. It can also help you identify fit. Brand speaks to the level of quality, and standards (i.e. Walmart vs Nieman Marcus).
 
In summary – knowing your brand and knowing your candidate’s brand (and employment history/brands) will help you identify if the candidate is up to your standards, or whether your company is to their standards.  This is a great filter and will help save you time and effort in the recruiting process.
Hiring Exceptional Leadership:  Defining Chemistry

Hiring Exceptional Leadership: Defining Chemistry

Executive recruiters hear from clients nearly every day- “we chose the candidate because we felt he had the right chemistry”. While this sounds good, how do you define Chemistry? Our clients seem to instinctively know when the right candidate is interviewed and usually assigns the description of chemistry to fit.
Is chemistry the feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you meet someone and you just know they are the right match? “That’s the one!” How do you explain this to your board of directors…to your CEO? “I just know”, in today’s work environment, speaking solely off of feeling, not fact, might just get a CEO terminated for exercising poor judgment.

How can you define chemistry then? I define chemistry as a combination of can do, will do, want to do, and who is compatible within the current company’s system. Whether your company is a fortune 100 or a start-up. All businesses have systems and these systems operate on top of “values”, “moral tenents” and “viewpoints of senior management”. It has also been explained to me as “the way we do things”. Every company has systems that are influenced by the CEO. 

How does the CEO conduct business? How does he prefer to communicate? Does the CEO manage with integrity and grace? Does the CEO communicate their intentions clearly, drive for results openly? How is influence managed in the organization? Is the CEO work style dominant or collaborative?
Let’s compare a couple of my clients – both CEOs. One CEO is what I consider a people gatherer – that is he creates a positive work environment, employs humor, has high integrity, is a transparent communicator, and is very upbeat. I have another CEO client who is very bright, likes to feel in control, and sometimes has difficulty managing his emotions. Both CEOs have exceptional track records of success, and are now both running successful companies. As you can surmise both companies have very different cultures, due to their very different leadership styles. Both companies have highly talented, yet very different cultures, and consequently different personality types working for them.
Determining chemistry is dependent upon who you are working with, and is defined differently by different people. What is important to remember is to learn as much as you can about people, their work-style, their communication style and ability to execute in different environments and not to rely on a feeling of mutual admiration or attraction alone.
Our recruiting process is well defined and not only has a skills assessment component, but also ensures we look for candidates that embrace your chemistry and have the ability to perform well in your business
Hiring Exceptional Leadership Talent:  LinkedIn Profiles

Hiring Exceptional Leadership Talent: LinkedIn Profiles

You can’t assess a whole person from a LinkedIn profile alone. You only see what people want you to see.  LinkedIn is a great tool to identify potential talent. In fact, LinkedIn is so powerful, leadership candidates now hire consultants to create content for their profiles.

As the first stage of considering candidates, LinkedIn is useful for sorting out the candidates who might be a match from those who simply would not work. Just like a resume, LinkedIn profiles are promotional marketing pieces used by candidates to stand out, focusing on career highlights.

Profiles are not a list of accomplishments, results, failures and lessons learned. You can’t assess a whole person from a LinkedIn profile alone. You only see what people want you to see. While there may be truth to what is written, it needs to be investigated and verified when you meet in person.

Going the next step, a phone interview gives you some indication of capacity, energy, and how the candidate communicates and thinks. Yet, phone interviews are only a partial assessment.

Checking references is also an important part of the decision making process. References are often excellent for validating information from other sources.

An in-person interview allows for the ability to assess chemistry. It allows you to learn how the candidate communicates, how they think, solve problems and work within a team. During an interview you will be able to assess energy level, judgement and some leadership capabilities. This is why it is important to meet people in person and formally interview and evaluate them. You want to have a feel for who they are as a person. You need to meet candidates more than once and in different circumstances to be able to assess them fully.

Items to investigate in the interview:
  • Timelines: Did the candidate perform well at their previous position?
  • What challenges did the business overcome?
  • What specific contributions did the candidate make?
  • Investigate the details of what the person actually did with whom and what resulted?
  • How does this person specifically motivate and lead?
  • What accomplishments are they most proud of?
Strong recruiters also develop relationships with great leadership performers, much like following top athletes on professional sports teams. We follow strong performing companies and their key players. Furthermore, recruiters spend most of their time vetting and calibrating talent. This is part of the value a seasoned recruiter brings to you and your company.
How to Recruit Great Candidates:  Managing Perceived Risk

How to Recruit Great Candidates: Managing Perceived Risk

We have all experienced it – make the offer and, boom, your C-Suite candidate declines. WHAT???  How does this happen? After all, you received verbal acceptance, candidate references checked out, the last thing you know the candidate was all in – or were they?

Probably not.

When making a leap to a new role, candidates weigh perceived risk from the following four areas. These four areas of risk include: New Manager Risk, New Team Risk, New Product/Service Risk, and Market Risk. Let’s examine these four risk factors and how to uncover, address, and negotiate them before you make an offer, ensuring you a hire.

New Manager Risk:

Most important to address is the new manager risk. Assuming you are the hiring manager – this person is coming to work with you. You need to show them what a great manager and a great person you are. You need to build trust to the point where your candidate believes and feels that you are the very best choice they have. It goes beyond chemistry and into work ethic, integrity, trustworthiness, ability to lead, and how well you communicate. Finally, the candidate will assess how you treat them at every step in the recruitment process. You need to ensure you are sending the right signals, presenting an emotionally even persona, and following through promptly on all promises. You cannot take too much time to deliberate on whether you like this person or not, it is imperative that you perform your candidate diligence in parallel with the hiring of the candidate – or you will lose them. You will need to communicate continued interest in your selected candidate every 48-72 hours. You may want to ask them out socially, for example to dinner (with their spouse or significant other) – so you get a feel for who each of you really are, in a more casual setting.

Your process to hire from start to finish needs to be about 6-10 weeks. If the candidate does not feel important you will lose them. Conveying a sense of significance to the candidate can be as simple as thanking them for their time, following up when you say you will, and communicating the next steps and timelines while they are in the process. Also, addressing any concerns the candidate may have, directly, will go a long way into building trust and a strong working relationship.

New Team Risk:

The candidate will need to coalesce with his/her peers – the people you have in the company at the executive level. It is important that all key stakeholders (consider a board member or a customer) be exposed to your top selected candidate. A good idea is to send candidates in with the team, to allow each to meet, and decide if they are a good “fit”. You want both the team and the candidate to see themselves working together in a productive manner. Communication styles, work ethic, and alignment all need to be considered in the fit equation. It should be a mutual ” good feeling”.

The New Product/Service Risk:

The candidate wants to feel comfortable that the product or service will perform, and that their contribution will make a significant impact on the business. Most candidates want to add something to their resume – that means that the “been there-done that” candidate is not going to be enticed unless you can offer them something to add to their CV.  For instance, a Chief Medical Officer/SVP Clinical wants a product to go from the start in the clinic until approval and market. A Chief Commercial Officer may need to have a product launch and successful commercialization under their belt. A CFO candidate may want to take a company public. You get the point. The CEO is more complex in their thinking, typically loves a challenge, and wants to lead a team to develop a product that impacts the market in a way no other product has to date, or fix a company that is underperforming and create value for every stakeholder. The CEO will ultimately join because they feel that the board will support them and because they like the product and market opportunity.

Market Risk:

This is evaluated three ways – the size of market opportunity, competitive landscape, and timing. Is the market ready for this product/service?  Another factor to consider is whether the candidate buys in. Does your candidate think that the opportunity is real, and is the timing for this product in the market right now or at least on the horizon?

Top-level candidates are going to evaluate opportunities in a way that others won’t.  They are typically loyal and risk-averse, want to see a product through start to finish, and want to keep the strong relationships formed with their current CEO and team.

Your opportunity must exceed what the candidate currently has in a significant way in order for you to acquire this talent.  A strong recruiter can help. Laura and her team specialize in working a very well-defined process to ultimately find you the very best executive talent in life sciences available. We have over 20 years building companies and relationships with the very best in the business

Does your recruiting process produce the right results?

Does your recruiting process produce the right results?

We have all done it. We have said, “I need to hire a _____________”. We put the word out to our network, and find a few candidates to speak with, but no one really impressed us or seemed like the right fit. We keep searching or decide to make a hire from our “ho-hum” pool of candidates, because we have so much to get done and willing hands seem better than none at all. We are missing opportunities, right? Inside of us a little voice is saying “you needed to find someone better, I don’t know if we can get where we need to go with the level of talent we have.” But it is too late, we have succumbed to the pressure of now, and have hired someone “good enough” or convenient, and three to six months later we regret the decision.
A well-defined recruiting process can extend the time to hire, but your probability of making the right hire, a great hire, is over 90%. How much is the wait of a few weeks worth to you?
What are the components of a well-defined process?
  1. Assign a point person to lead and drive the search, and be the primary contact for all the candidates.
  2. Define your business outcomes that you hope to achieve by hiring this person. What do you hope to accomplish with this hire?
    • Examples are: FDA approval, Clinical study started and completed, market defined, reimbursement approved, increased sales, manufacturing operations established and running efficiently, build a company with many of these pieces plus raise funding.
  3. Create a position description that incorporates the goals, proven abilities of the ideal candidate, and attributes you need to ensure a good fit for the current team.
  4. Decide where to look – Competitors, Board, Advisors, etc. How will you get candidates into your pipeline?
  5. Filter all candidates against the position description, and weigh out strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Decide who is on your interview jury, which questions each member will specifically ask, and the particular skills they are interviewing for -i.e. board members interview for leadership and fit; peers interview for skill-sets that they will interface with, and understanding of technology.
  7. Rank and prioritize candidates for second and third round interviews.
  8. Collect and call references for finalists (min of 2 finalists, and 6 references each).
  9. Create a compelling offer to give to the lead finalist, deliver and negotiate.
  10. Set up start date and onboarding process (first 90 days) to make sure the candidate gets all the information needed and relationships established with the current team to be successful.
Seems like a lot? There is a plenty heavy lifting and it is very important to have a well-defined process to get the right leadership candidates on your team. A great search consultant can accomplish all of this with you and add value of assisting with board communication, managing candidate communications, and keeping your lead candidates engaged and moving forward in the process.
Also, the search individual can be a good thought partner on each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and how they will integrate into the rest of the team. Finally, a search person provides leverage when it comes to negotiation of salary, bonus etc. You will end up with a happy candidate and a satisfied CEO/Board which sets everyone on the right footing for success.
Laura and her team specialize in working a very well-defined process to ultimately find you the very best executive talent in life sciences available. We have over 20 years building companies and relationships with the very best in the business.

 

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