Finding the Right Executive to Match Your Business Needs Part 8 – Push for Examples and Results
Examples and Results Say the Most. If you lived it, you can quickly and easily talk about it. That’s the quick and easy rule of thumb.
“Yes, I have been through M&A before,” followed by a pause, waiting for the next question, is not a good sign. If you need to prompt an executive for examples and results, approach with caution. Any executive who has led efforts or spearheaded whatever endeavor you are asking about should rarely need to think about or reach for examples and stories, even if they need to redact or mask details due to confidentiality.
When discussing past positions and assignments, there are always results, even if those results weren’t the best. Prompt for measurable results. Have them tell you about the numbers, not just how much morale improved.
But the most important aspect of an interview/discussion is to keep the focus on the future, using the past as a reference point. Pay attention to the questions the executive asks. Are they insightful? Does the executive seem to have both curiosity and drive to get to the bottom of your organization’s issues, as well as the tenacity to solve complex or difficult challenges where others may have failed? Is the executive already bringing up potential ideas or strategies for your team to consider? Does the interview feel like a preliminary brainstorming session? These are all good signs.
By contrast, are you doing most of the talking and most of the questioning? Is the executive sitting back, letting you set the agenda, handing you the reins, allowing you to set the pace, the agenda, and the tone of the conversation? For roles in which an executive will be expected to come in hot and hit the ground running, a passive approach to interview discussions may be the first indicator of a suboptimal fit.
Selection: Making the Right Decision
Trust, But Verify. At this point in the interim executive selection process, a great deal of information has been gathered, including insights into personality and ideas for the future during discussions with a few select executives. Two big questions remain.
• Did I meet the real person during the interviews, or will there be a 180-degree turn once I bring somebody into the organization?
• How will the person I select fit with our company culture?
To find the answers to these questions, come back tomorrow to read part 9. You can find part 7 here.