Mark Enlow, longtime President and CEO/Owner of executive search firm Enlow & Associates, weighed in on 8 critical considerations companies need to evaluate before choosing the next executive.
Like teens obsessing over the next fashion trend, or entrepreneurs attracted to a shiny object, it’s easy to lose focus when presented with so many viable choices to be your next executive. Like those teens and entrepreneurs, when you choose poorly, you risk losing credibility and falling off the strategic path you’ve chosen for success, says Mark Enlow.
- Audit your own organization first. To predict if an executive will succeed, you will need to ensure they’re aligning with your organization’s deeper nuances. If you don’t have deep insights into the essence, good and bad, of your business, you won’t be able to determine if your candidate is a good match.
- Clarify your company’s own goals. What does the company road map look like? What do you need your leader to do to meet those goals?
- Define your ideal candidate. Exactly what skills would the perfect candidate already need to have to take the company to the future as you’ve defined it? Which skills could they learn once inside? The better you identify your ideal persona, the more clearly you can evaluate the candidates you see.
- Create a comprehensive scorecard to evaluate each candidate against your ideal persona, advices Mark Enlow. Then grade each candidate against the same metrics. Since no candidate will be perfect, these quantitative metrics must reflect the priorities of your organization. For example, you may weigh experience in digital transformations as a bigger priority than length in a leadership role.
- Optimize your search process. Ensure that your screening process is effectively narrowing the pool. Use your scorecard to create requirements and questionnaires to eliminate low-scoring candidates. Evaluate your evaluation process to ensure that it can quickly identify the best candidates for your shortlist.
- Cast a wide net. Consider diversity. Executive diversity leads to many positive outcomes in organizations, including driving positive results through new insights and improving productivity. Plus, when you commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion, your organization becomes more attractive to a broader range of candidates.
- Revisit your comprehensive scorecard as you conduct shortlist interviews. Your scorecard will remind you of your ideal leader profile and allow you to address these weaknesses directly with the finalists.
- Hire an executive search firm with expertise in your industry. They can guide you at every step, using their experience to accelerate your process and ensure that you find your next ideal leader.
As you can see, says Mark Enlow, successfully hiring the ideal candidate for a leadership position often comes down to how well the company knows itself, what it wants to be, and where it wants to go. The companies that best understand themselves can successfully find their next ideal leader when they optimize and standardize the search and evaluation process.