By: John Trakselis
"Failure to prepare is preparing to fail"
-- John Wooden, Hall of Fame basketball coach at UCLA
For almost 30 years, M. Wood Company has specialized in a consultative approach to executive search. This includes a thorough assessment and analysis of the company and position before the recruiting process ever begins. Through our experience, we have constructed a model for recruiting the best candidate. This best practice identifies six recruiting techniques which will bring the most desired result for any business or industry.
Identify an owner. Any business process that does not have an owner is doomed to fail. If you are recruiting for a position, you own the process. Your ultimate goal of recruiting is hiring an individual who will be a good fit for your corporate culture, is highly qualified, self-motivated and results-oriented. As the owner, there are three factors to keep in mind Who you hire is based upon whom you see. Who you see depends on what you are looking for. What you are looking for is determined by how well you plan.
Plan the search. In this day of rapid change, planning has been disparaged in favor of action. Action requires goals. To achieve your goals, rely on well thought-out strategies and tactics. You should begin by asking yourself the following questions: What are the company's goals? What should I expect from the people in my organization in order to achieve these goals? What skills are present in my current team? Which skills are needed? How can I best approach filling this position?
An evaluation of the position, identifying the future goals of the company and a determination of the deliverables are also required. You must understand how the position interacts internally with the existing staff and cross-functional areas of the organization. At M. Wood Company, our senior consultants possess the skills to quickly assess an environment, identify your true business needs and, in some cases, help you "rethink" the requirements of the position. This evaluation will provide recommendations that can have a significant impact on your company.
Establish a recruiting team. Assemble a team who will help you refine and execute your plan. By having a team, you can consult with specific members in evaluating the candidate. We suggest incorporating team members from different organizational levels and departments to ensure the candidate you select will fit your company culture.
Prepare a written job search specification. This document is a collaboration of the information collected during the planning and assessment. Your specification should anticipate the initial questions from a potential candidate. Being able to provide this information will help attract the right individuals and sell the position.
Your specification should include the following information:
Interview qualified candidates. After you have navigated through the planning, analysis and evaluation process, it is now time for the candidate to meet with members of your recruiting team. Prior to your discussions, it is important to prepare for the meeting. Preparation will leverage your success in identifying and selecting the right individual. Our experience has shown that "little things" make a strong impression about you and your company. M. Wood Company suggests the following:
- Explain your company-what it has achieved and where it is going.
- Define the position and its role in helping the company achieve its vision and mission.
- Outline the specific tasks, activities, expectations and first year deliverables associated with this position.
- Clarify your position's desired experience and academic requirements
- Assign responsibilities to your team. Each interviewer should be prepared to address and evaluate different capabilities of the candidate (i.e. business background, cultural fit, decision making skills, accomplishments, track record, etc.).
- Have your team familiarize themselves with the resume and other related information. Following these steps will help you formulate questions and discussion points for the meeting.
- Set the tone for the interview by putting the candidate at ease. The best interviews are open, free-flowing conversations allowing maximum knowledge transfer.
- Sell the candidate on why they should want to work for your company.
- Be sure to obtain an idea of personality fit, affability, communication and leadership skills, responsiveness to questions or concerns, and intellectual capacity. Evaluate not only by skills, but talent -- is the candidate a team player? Is he/she coachable?
- Give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions.
- Address any personal concerns the candidate might have (i.e. relocation, compensation, finding his or her spouse a position, special educational needs of children, elderly care issues for parents, loss of current or deferred compensation at his or her present employer, etc.).
Formalize the offer. After the interviews are completed, you should consult with your team to rank the candidates. Did the interview confirm or diminish interest? Have you validated the "little things" when, if unattended, could be deal breakers. They could include: title, reporting relationship, fringe benefits and resources (internal and external).
- Conduct proper hand-offs. Excuse yourself after you are satisfied your meeting is completed. Make sure the next interviewer is ready to meet with the candidate. If not, find a quiet location where you can place the candidate until the next interviewer is ready. You should also pass along any open issues or questions so the next interviewer can address them.
At M. Wood Company, we have developed and tested a consultative approach to recruiting. It has proven to be a successful process in filling hundreds of positions from senior executives to middle management across all industries. The model provides clients with new insight into their business as well as a significant positive impact on the company's performance and productivity.
When you are faced with a recruiting assignment, ask yourself:
It is important to remember the risks involved in an inadequately filled or open position. It can result in millions of lost dollars from delayed time to market, applying the wrong technology, poor customer service, lost opportunities, reduced staff morale, and more. To stay competitive in today's market, key positions must be filled quickly and correctly.
- Do I have the resources internally to search and attract qualified candidates?
- Will our internal resources have the capability to search for and contact personnel at our competitors or even other corporations that have personnel with the skill sets necessary to handle our needs?
- Should I be tying up internal manpower to perform this function or should it be out-sourced?
A business cannot afford the risks of a vacant position or a position filled with an individual unable or unwilling to meet tomorrow's requirements. M. Wood Company can quickly assess a business environment and identify a company's underlying business needs. We can help you leverage the success of your business by anticipating organizational issues and developing comprehensive solutions. If we can be of assistance, please contact us.
John Trakselis, a Principal at M. Wood Company, brings strong functional expertise and over 30 years of management and consulting experience to the executive search process.