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