Partner Michael Gerbasi unveils the secrets to finding the right executive using a proven process that he has deployed for decades. Gerbasi serves an important role at Evolution by sourcing key talent for critical roles. He has filled 14 positions in the current portfolio. In this article, he highlights key points in his process with the hopes of empowering founders and hiring executives.
Finding the right executive to lead your organization is a critical task that shapes the future of your company. In this article, we explore the secrets to successful executive searches, through the lens of a proven process deployed for decades. By focusing on understanding expectations and identifying key deliverables, this approach increases the success rate in finding the perfect fit for executive positions. Let’s dive into the most important aspects of an executive search and how to master the art of hiring for leadership excellence.
Understanding the Industry
To effectively assess candidates, it is important to understand the industry for which you are hiring. Engage in deep conversations with stakeholders as if you were interviewing for the position yourself. This approach serves two purposes: first, the knowledge gained establishes credibility when communicating with candidates, and second, it provides insights into how candidates might need to respond to industry-specific challenges. It also provides a “lay of the land” that will allow you to assess a potential executive’s knowledge and network. A thorough understanding of the industry gives you an edge in finding qualified candidates.
Involving All Stakeholders
To achieve a successful executive search, it is essential to involve all stakeholders in the process. This can include board members, investors, fellow leadership team members, direct reports, vendor partners, and others. Each stakeholder may have different perspectives and priorities, and it is crucial to generate a consensus on the most important deliverables for the role. Engage in open discussions to determine the collective group’s priorities, ensuring and communicating back a clear profile for the search.
When embarking on an executive search, it is crucial to go beyond a typical job description. The most important thing is to grasp and to be able to effectively articulate the expectations you have for the person you want to hire. Rather than solely focusing on responsibilities, identify the specific deliverables you expect from the candidate. For example, if you’re seeking a CFO, consider the very tasks you want them to accomplish in the first year, such as executing a certain number or profile of strategic acquisitions. What will their role in this be? Who will support them?
Screening and Interviewing Based on Deliverables
Once you have identified the desired deliverables, use them as the foundation for screening and interviewing candidates. Target candidates who have successfully delivered materially similar outcomes in their recent past roles. What were the circumstances and challenges in the past situation? How do those translate to the new environment? What did the candidate learn and how do they communicate that to you, the hiring team? Fully vet their past experiences to ensure they have a track record of achieving these specific outcomes. By aligning the interview process with the deliverables, you can effectively assess candidates and identify the best fit for your organization.
Adapting to the Changing Landscape
In today’s job market, candidates have more control and higher expectations. Many candidates seek flexibility in their work arrangements, such as remote or virtual work options. As a result, organizations embarking on c-level searches should consider commuting or virtual candidates. Restricting the search to traditional office-based candidates may limit access to approximately 60% of eligible candidates. Additionally, the financial success of recent years has allowed successful leaders to manage breaks in employment on their resumes without facing negative stigmas. In addition, many leaders are choosing to adjust their lives and leave the workforce earlier, making it important to adapt to these changing expectations.
Mastering the art of hiring for leadership excellence requires industry insight and stakeholder involvement. Hiring teams must understand and be able to prioritize and clearly articulate the expectations and deliverables of the role. Being able to adapt to an evolving job market is also critical. and adapting to the evolving job market. By including these elements, organizations can find the perfect fit for executive positions and set the stage for future success. Embrace these strategies to unlock the true potential of your executive search and empower your organization with exceptional leadership.