As an executive recruiter, I hear from clients that the candidate they like just “has the right feel, and that they know it in their gut.” Trusting your gut is good – it is typically a function of collective experiences – but how can you be sure that this person will perform?
When statistics show that over 40% of external executive hires fail in the first year, you need to be sure. The candidate not only needs to have the ability and the desire to meet your needs, but also has to fit in with the rest of the team. They must perform.
Validating your gut instinct ensures successful hiring. It is very hard to explain to your board of directors that you feel great about a certain candidate without substantiation. It is too risky.
Here are four points to improve your odds of making a successful executive hire and help make sure your gut feelings don’t lead you astray:
1. Know what you need to accomplish and define it within the position description.
- Make sure your candidate covers at least 80% of your requirements.
- Is this person truly capable of meeting or exceeding your job requirements?
2. Ask yourself: Will this person fit into the existing team?
- What is it about this candidate that confirms how I feel about them?
3. Listen carefully to the feedback from other interview jury members, and your team.
- Take any dissension seriously and explore further with the candidate, and with the team.
4. Validate all of your findings about the candidate with references.
- You need to be sure you get at least one prior manager, one or two peers and one or two subordinates.
- You want to know what this candidate is really like to work with from all angles.
Working with our team ensures you won’t make the mistake of hiring someone who cannot perform well. It also ensures you don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who has a checkered past. Our role is to see all sides of a candidate, keep your hiring decisions objective, and assure your success hiring top talent.
Laura Raynak is an executive search consultant with over 17 years of experience helping companies identify, locate and hire the right executives the first time. She specializes in the hiring of CEO’s, Vice Presidents and Board of Director level candidates for life science, medical devices, and healthcare IT and services companies.