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Finding the Right Executive to Match Your Business Needs Part 3 – How to Use a Strategic Plan to Guide You

The strategic plan, particularly at the executive level, offers a much better blueprint for what is needed in your future hire than most other resources available. Using a Strategic plan to guide your company, will help your company accomplish its needs.

Identify the expertise needed to accomplish the goals in your strategic plan, with the expertise of the existing team. The gap between the two is a list of skills and experience needed to be brought into the organization. A vice president of sales is a great example. When hiring for a role like this, a typical job description lists items such as:

  • Manage the sales team
  • Set sales goals
  • Meet and achieve sales objectives

On the other hand, using a strategic plan to guide your company is also great to find those whom you need to grow the company, not just hiring to fill a role. There are likely a number of sales initiatives (beyond “increase sales”) within the organization, and the strategic plan focuses on how the company plans to accomplish these. Is the company focusing on a new product category, new geography, or a new target market, such as Fortune 500 companies? Your new VP of sales should have specific and relevant experience with the initiatives outlined in the strategic plan. Likewise, during the interview process, the right candidate will be able to expand on these initiatives and add to the strategy, as well. The clearer you are regarding what you want the interim to accomplish and what is going on in the organization, the more focused the search process will be.

When working with a firm, be as candid and up-front as possible. Share what has happened previously in the role or the department (if the role is new) and what is currently going on in the organization. If you are hiring the third CFO in the past five years, discuss why—as honestly and frankly as possible. Share the company’s strategic initiatives for the next couple of years. If you rely on nothing more than a job description, your recruiting efforts will default to using your company profile (industry, revenues, number of employees, ownership type, etc.) to source the candidates—and the fit won’t be what you want (or need) to create serious results.

When utilizing your own resources (such as your professional network or LinkedIn), describe the background the executive must have, including quantifiable accomplishments.

  • The executive must have grown an eCommerce company less than $5 million to more than $20 million. (Alternatively: Must have grown an eCommerce company more than $5 million by more than 400 percent.)
  • The executive must have experience evaluating, selecting, and implementing ERP systems.
  • Focus on getting the point across via experience and background.
  • There is a commonly used formula when building software: Every $1 that should have been spent in the planning process equates to $10 spent during development and $100 spent during post-development. We find the same general concept applies to hiring.
  • Take the time to be clear on what you are bringing the executive in to accomplish and what is going on in the organization at the time—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Finding the Right Executive

At Cerius, we have been vetting executives for over ten years to reduce the risk of companies bringing in the wrong executive. If you decide to engage an interim executive on your own, we have put together and will share some of our best practices to help minimize your risk when searching for the right executive expertise, whether it is on a part-time, temporary, interim, or project basis.

Through a deep resource pool of thousands of vetted executives, we offer full interim staffing services across all management disciplines. From our network, we develop a customized interim executive solution tailored to your needs. You gain immediate access to a carefully selected skill set with the additional leverage to reach into the larger pool of Cerius executives as needed — all to secure new growth strategies, carry out organizational or cultural change, manage complex projects, or fill business-critical vacancies.

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