Finding the Right Executive to Match Your Business Needs Part 6 – Your Company Should Treat Interviews as a Discussion
Look for Parallels, Not Exact Matches. Your company’s product, service, size, customer base, team, leadership, etc., all come together to present a different set of circumstances compared to any other company where the executive has worked. A single change to any one of these variables can affect an executive’s ability to perform.
As a result, looking for somebody with the “exact” same background or a “perfect” match to your company and situation doesn’t always hit the middle of the target, even when you think you’ve found somebody really close. There is something to be said for an executive who has done almost the exact role in a very similar company, and that is what he or she has done most of their career. On the other hand, an executive with a wider range of experiences who has worked with different types of leaders, corporate strategies, and teams can be a major benefit, especially if your company is in a state of flux.
The Date Ranges Don’t Matter One of the great things about reading a resumé with the intent of engaging an interim executive is that the date ranges don’t have the same impact as they do when hiring for a full-time role.
The reality is, most executive-level resumés are reading more and more like a story of instability.
As we mentioned previously, this is more a result of the life cycle of business rather than executives job-jumping or not being able to keep a job. Executives leave positions every day for reasons like relocations, acquisitions and mergers, and recruitment to other ventures.
While positions, titles, and organizational needs change, skills remain, and accomplishments grow. In general, the dates on an interim executive’s previous assignments tell you very little. When bringing in an executive on an interim basis, you are able to focus on background, skill sets, accomplishments; not the anatomy of each job move. When you aren’t ruling them out due to date ranges down the right side of the resumé, you’re opening up the possible talent pool and drawing from a deeper well of expertise.
Ultimately, entire books have been written on resumé reviews and hiring, and our intent here is not to reinvent that wheel. The point of the resumé review is to get out of the past as quickly as possible and to get into the face-to-face setting, which is where the candidate and the company can begin to discuss the future. It’s a Discussion, Not an Interview. Everyone’s time is valuable, particularly at the CEO, business owner, and executive level. Rather than asking a series of templated questions, use the interview time for a valuable, future-oriented discussion.
Use the time to share what is going on in the company. Take a risk. Be vulnerable. Discuss the challenges, what has led to the need for an executive expert, and what you expect from an interim executive engagement.
Come back tomorrow to read part 7. You can find part 5 here.