Determining chemistry depends on who you work with, and is defined differently by individual people.

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 know instinctively when the right candidate is interviewed and usually assigns the description to “chemistry” or “fit”.

Is chemistry that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling you get when you meet someone and you just know they are the right person? “That’s the one!” How do you explain this to your Board of Directors, or to your CEO?  “I just know”, in today’s work environment, and speaking solely from feeling, not fact, might just get a CEO terminated for exercising poor judgment.

So, how can you define chemistry? All businesses have systems, and these systems operate on top of “values”, “moral tenets” and “viewpoints of senior management”.  It has also been explained to me as “the way we do things”.  Whether your company is a Fortune 50 or a start up, chemistry as a combination of:

  • can do,
  • will do,
  • want to do, and
  • who is compatible within the current company’s system.

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, and drive for results openly? How is influence managed in the organization? Is the CEO’s work style dominant or collaborative?

Let’s compare a couple of my CEO clients.  One CEO is a people gatherer.  He creates a positive work environment, has high integrity, is a transparent communicator, and is very upbeat, with a great sense of humor.  Another CEO client is very bright, likes to feel in control, and sometimes has difficulty managing his emotions.  Both CEOs have exceptional track records, and are now both running successful companies. As you can imagine, these companies have very different cultures due to their individual leaders. Both companies have highly talented and consequently distinct personality types working for them.

Determining chemistry depends on who you work with, and is defined differently by individual people.

Our recruiting process is well defined.  It includes a skills assessment component and ensures we look for candidates that would inspire chemistry as a feeling for our clients and that also have the ability to perform well in their businesses.