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Five Big Hiring Mistakes Most Companies Make

and How to Avoid Them

 

Recently our partners conducted a survey among hundreds of hiring managers in large and small companies across the country*.  The question was “What percentage of new executive hires fail to meet expectations in the first year, and why?”  The response was a staggering 56%.  Why?  Five of the top ten reasons are listed below.

 

·    Trying to catch a tuna in a trout pond.  Most companies have become very proficient at finding candidates who need a job.  They only ‘fish’ in shallow waters where the aggressive candidates are found. They don’t have a systematic and company-wide process to ensure they are attracting passive candidates, not just aggressive ones. No matter what your screening process, if you start with a bottom quartile candidate, you’ll only hire the ‘best of the worst’.

·     Looks can kill.  Most hiring teams rely too heavily on first impressions when making the final hiring decision.  The candidates who ‘look the part’ often get the easier questions and aren’t probed for detailed answers.  Just because a candidate appears to come right out of ‘central casting’ doesn’t mean they can deliver the results you need.  The hiring process in any company needs to be rigorous and systematic in order to keep a first impression from driving the interview.  Otherwise, the best actor gets the job, not the best worker.

·    Making the first hoop too small.  Hiring teams placed too much emphasis on specific education, technical skills and industry experience that screened out qualified candidates early in the process.  If just having a lot of experience was a good predictor of future success, there would be a lot more golfers breaking par. Hiring is not about checking the ‘requirement boxes’; it’s about defining expectations and finding executives who can deliver.  

·    Rock-skipping interviewing.  Most interviewers skim across the candidate’s background never getting any depth before moving on to the next question.  Over 90% of the respondents indicated that their hiring teams did not deeply probe or verify a candidate’s claims.  Why? Most interview training is tribal; people ask the same questions as the last person who interviewed them.  Few companies train their people in how to interview.

·    No-one-put-the-destination-in-the-navigation-system.  This was the #1 hiring mistake.  93% of the respondents said their job descriptions focused on experience and skills, not on company expectations!  Quite simply, executives did not meet expectations because specific goals, objectives and timetables were not defined and discussed in the hiring process. The job description drives the whole hiring process and traditional job descriptions don’t describe the job, they describe the person.  They are input driven, not output driven.

 

Hagerthy & Co. utilizes a success-driven search methodology that is designed to avoid the top hiring mistakes most companies make and bring you the top quartile candidates who will deliver the results you want.

For more information on our search methodology, our workshops and our executive briefings visit our web site at www.hagnco.com.

 

From the book “You’re Not the Person I Hired! A CEO’s Survival Guide to Hiring Top Talent” by Janet Boydell, Barry Deutsch and Brad Remillard

 

 

Interim Executive Search

 

Six Things to Know Before Hiring an Interim Executive

 

Mike was a co-founder of one of the earliest and largest Interim Management Companies in the country.  He has completed over 200 interim executive searches and is one of the country’s most experienced executive recruiters in this field.  Below are some tips to keep in mind when hiring interim executives:

 

1.  No one ever has a “general problem”.  A “generalist” is rarely the right fit for an interim assignment because companies don’t have “general problems.”  Be wary of providers who have a “bench” of executives ready to jump into your company.  They may require a steep learning curve to accomplish what you need.  Industry experience does not always translate into the specific problem solving experience you need for your company.  Hiring an interim executive or project manager is not the same as hiring a temporary A/P clerk.  

2.   It’s not the size of the “inventory”; it’s the caliber of the recruiting process.  Interim executive search is just that, a search. An interim executive search firm should have a clearly defined process designed to find the interim candidates who will deliver results you need. A large database is meaningless without a defined recruiting process. Look for a process that will ensure you see candidates who have solved similar problems to the ones you face, not just have right key words in their resumes from a database search. Beware the company who promise candidates in days.  You will end spending more time interviewing candidates who can’t deliver what you need done.

3.  Be Prepared to over-hire:  Most interim assignments are a result of a problem or an opportunity for a company that they don’t have the internal resources to handle.  An interim executive or project manager will need to be able to quickly get their hands around the situation and start making decisions.  A more senior executive is usually able to get up to speed faster.

4. Career consultants rarely are good interim executives.  Interim management assignments require that executives make decisions and execute on those decisions.  Most career consultants have spent their careers advising, but have not been held responsible for results.  Line executives make better interim executives because they are “doers”, not advisors.

5.  Don’t pay consulting rates for an interim line manager.  You should be prepared to pay a premium for an interim executive, but it should still be closer to what the position would pay if it were a full time job, not an hourly consulting rate.  Consultant rates are based on shorter increments of time and on only being billable an average of 50% or less.  An interim executive will most likely be in a position full time for several months and an hourly rate could get cost prohibitive.  Additionally, there is a good chance you may eventually hire the interim executive for the position.  You don’t want to start off with the executive being paid way above the salary range and have to negotiate a substantial cut in salary.

6.  It’s Not a Marriage, it’s a tryout.  One mistake companies make is to put too much emphasis on an interim candidate’s “fit” in the organization.  That should be a low priority.  You are hiring this person to solve your problems over a short period of time.  Whether they are a fit for your organization can be determined over the course of the assignment.

 

Five Big Mistakes Most Companies Make

When Choosing Recruiters

 

Over the past three years our partners conducted a survey among 425 CEO’s and Senior Executives to examine the top mistakes and false assumptions made when choosing a recruiter to fill critical positions. The following are the five big mistakes most companies make when deciding which executive recruiter to engage:

·    Mistake #1: Assuming there’s a GARRP (Generally Accepted Rigorous Recruiting Process) Participants in the survey assumed that all retained executive recruiters have a rigorous recruiting process designed to deliver expected results.  This was the #1 mistake made in working with recruiters.  Industry statistics show that less than 65% of all executive searches are completed by the search firm.  The Success Factor Methodology employed by Hagerthy & Co. is a process that overcomes the #1 mistake when it is used both by the recruiter and by the hiring company.

·     Mistake #2:  Using “Functional or Industry Expert” as the Primary Criteria for Choosing a Recruiter.  Survey participants found that a narrowly-focused recruiter often just produced aggressive candidates the recruiter knew were looking for a job.  They believed the recruiter just called their “Rolodex and ‘recycled’ candidates from prior searches rather than make the effort to source deeply in the market.  Developing a Compelling Marketing Statement about the position and using it to convince top talent to raise their hand to learn more about the opportunity is what the best recruiters do and why they can recruit top talent in any industry.

·    Mistake #3: Assuming all Recruiters Help a Client Define a Great Job.  Participants in the survey contracted with a recruiting firm assuming they would help in effectively defining the position.  Most felt that at best they got a re-write of their original spec with several pages of added “boiler-plate” thrown in.  When both the recruiter and the executive use our Success Factor Snapshot tool to guide the search project, accuracy and success “soars” like an eagle on a consistent basis.

·   Mistake #4: Assuming All Recruiters Do a Good Job of Assessing Candidates.  The participants were “underwhelmed” by their executive recruiter’s ability to conduct an effective interview.  Most were stunned to find that their recruiter didn’t have a clue as to how to deeply evaluate a candidate.  Most recruiters conducted “meet-and-greet” sessions that measured “likeability” and if they would interview well with the client.  They didn’t measure whether the candidate could actually do the job!  Hagerthy & Co. uses our 5 Core Question Interview Process to overcome this fundamental mistake.

·   Mistake #5:  Assuming All Recruiters Fish in the Deep End of the Pond.  Our survey participants were consistently frustrated by the average and mediocre candidates brought forward on search assignments.  They concluded that most recruiters “fish in the shallow end of the pond” by running ads, making a few referral calls and looking in their database of aggressive candidates.  The results were that clients were seeing only “the best of the worst”.  Our Success Factor Methodology uses an approach that gets directly at candidate motivation to drive top talent to raise their hand to want to learn more about the opportunity.

 

Hagerthy & Co. utilizes a success-driven search methodology that is designed to bring you the top quartile candidates who will deliver the results you want.

 

For more information on our search methodology, our workshops and our executive briefings, please contact us at our offices.  Click here to contact us.

 

 

 

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Hiring Process Assessment

“Our financial statements are about 50% accurate”…

“About half our products work fine”…

You would never expect to hear statements like that about a company’s business systems.  We just don’t tolerate a 50/50 hit rate.  But when it comes to hiring, surveys consistently show that about 50% of new hires fail to meet expectations in the first year.  Why?   Hiring is a process like any other process.  If it’s done inconsistently, you get random results; like flipping a coin.  Do you really want to trust the future of your company to a process that is as accurate as flipping a coin?

We are your hiring partner

We partner with you to build the team that will take your company to its full potential.  We produce top quartile candidates for your senior positions and we work with you to develop an internal hiring process that will consistently bring you excellent people throughout your organization.  

Hiring Process Assessment

Hagerthy & Co will do a complimentary assessment of your company’s current hiring system. We look at the five major processes and assess them for consistency and effectiveness.  This is a complimentary assessment and it gives us a base line from which to work with you.  We assess:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We complete the assessment in a few hours and then will present our findings to your hiring team in a one hour executive summary format.  Team members are given an 8x11 laminated card that outlines the hiring system and a CD to use for review when they are getting ready to start the hiring process.  We give you the cornerstones of our hiring system and highlight the specific areas where your team can do a better job of attracting and maintaining top quartile talent.  

 

For more information contact Mike Hagerthy (310) 265-4406 or mike@hagnco.com

 

Processes to Review

 

 

Documentation

 

Company Personnel To Interview

 

Position Description

Position descriptions; Job specs; hiring documents

 

HR; Hiring Managers; CEO

 

 

Candidate Sourcing

 

Current and past job postings;

Employee referral policy

 

HR; Hiring Managers

 

Interviewing

Interview questions/strategy; Interviewing policy/procedure

Homework examples

Culture description

 

HR; Hiring Managers: CEO

 

Candidate Evaluations

Written procedure

Documentation for evaluating multiple candidates

Interview process

 

HR; Hiring Managers

 

Reference Validation

Written References;

Policy/ Procedures

Check list/approvals

Types of checks/ assessments

 

HR

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How to find executives who can build enterprise value in a slow growth economy…

 

 

Finding executives who can build enterprise value in a fast growing economy is easy.  Finding executives who can build enterprise value in a flat economy requires a lot of strategic “drilling”.  We are in an era where there is very little ‘rising tide’ to lift all companies and provide growing markets.  It’s time for boards and companies to look at the teams they have and ask:

 

“Is this the ‘growth team’ we need to build enterprise value in this company?”

 

“C” level candidates in this environment have to be vetted to determine if they understand how to bridge strategy with enterprise value.  In my process, I learn the business profile my client is trying to build, the strategies they’re going to employ to get there and the culture the executive will be working within. I have found that vetting “C” level candidates to determine who can grow a business in this environment is a little like looking for oil.  Knowing how to drill is not anywhere near as important as knowing where to drill.  The key is to know where to drill down with a candidate to determine if they know how to build enterprise value. The first question is not always the key; it’s the second and third follow-on questions that really reveal the caliber of the candidate. The best way to build a “growth team” is to start with knowing the enterprise value goals and work backwards to find key players who have the knowledge, skills and creativity to support the  strategies to get there.

Every situation is different, but here are a few ideas of  questions to start with when trying to determine if a CEO candidate can build enterprise value in a slow economy.

· Profile and strategy:  “What was the business profile you determined you needed to build the most enterprise value in your last company and what were the strategies you put in place to build that profile?”  “Which of the elements of enterprise value were the most difficult to change and why?”   If a CEO candidate can’t articulate what components they needed to build enterprise value and the road map they created to get there, then they’ve already got three strikes.  

· Question everything.  When you ask a broad question like the one above, question every detail of the answers.  Make them articulate the why behind each strategy and detail the results. “How did you find that underserved niche?  Why was no one serving it?”  “What were the results?  How did that build enterprise value in the business?”  “How much was the market growing then?  What percentage price increases did you implement?” “What were the biggest barriers to accomplishing this?  What would you do differently now?”  The more details you require, the harder it is for them to make up any part of it.  

· Culture trumps strategy:  A strong growth CEO will start asking about culture early on in the interview, but if not,  you need to ask them “How do you assess the culture of an organization to determine if it will accept change?  What is the strongest indicator that a culture is ‘tradition bound’ or is not willing to make changes?  What have you done to change culture in an organization?  How long did it take?”  Cultures almost always have to be modified in this type of economy because doing things the same way will not get you ahead of your competitors.     

· Balance and timing: CEO’s have many masters and they have to be able to balance the needs of each and at the right time.  “Give me example of how you balanced the needs for growth and productivity as well as the demands of your customers and shareholders.”  When building enterprise value, there are times when increasing productivity is more important than growth and vice versa.  A CEO has to be able to see where they are in their process and prioritize strategies.  They also have to be able to communicate that to their organization in a way that they will understand and be motivated.

· Competitors: “Who were your marginal competitors in your last business?  Which ones were leveraged the most? What were their weaknesses and how did you exploit that to your advantage?”  In an economy where the market is not expanding, there’s only enough room for X number of competitors to serve it profitably.  A CEO should know which competitors are marginal, why they can’t compete well and be able to articulate the strategies they used to take market share away from those competitors.  What did they do?  What was most successful?  What failed and why?  

· Market share game: Give me the analysis, the strategies and the tactics you created in your last company that resulted in the biggest gains in market share?  A CEO should be able to articulate the analysis that led to the changes in strategies and how the programs were rolled out.  What were the results and why was it so successful?  

 

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Is it time to look at your team and determine if they are the right ones to maximize value in this environment?  I vet “C” level executives all day long and track the ones I believe are capable of building enterprise value in a slow economy.  Give me a call if you’d like to discuss how we could help you build a ‘growth team’ for your company.

 

Your Job Search: Things to quit doing!

 

Don’t over-sweat your resume. Yes you still need one, but in this swift-moving digital era, with social networks such as LinkedIn now dominating headhunters’ and companies’ focus, traditional resumes are becoming less and less important.  Rather than spending endless hours needlessly perfecting your “hard” resume, spend some quality time completing your online profile, ensuring your information is up-to-date and relevant.  There is no such thing as a perfect conventional resume that can fit every career opportunity anyway.

 

Quit listening to main stream media news. Dwelling on how bad things are in the economy, politics, education, healthcare etc. won’t do you any good.  There is opportunity even in the worst of times; history shows that many millionaires were created in the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

 

Quit over-contacting headhunters.  They are challenged and busy too and they work for client companies not you.  Focus on making sure your resume is in their database to be considered for any assignments they might have now or in the future.  And while it can be appropriate to send a short email asking to meet over a cup of coffee, the odds are not good and don’t ask more than once.  Avoid creating any work on their part.

 

Quit thinking a traditional job is the only answer.  Remember the adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  Many highly successful entrepreneurs were created after losing their jobs; maybe it’s time to consider starting your own business built around your area of expertise.

 

Quit relying only on your experience and knowledge.  While these are obviously important, they are not necessarily the only keys to finding a job.  Emotional Intelligence, empathy, flexibility, adaptability and relationship-building skills are what truly differentiate you in the interview game.

 

Quit not wanting to bother people or waiting for the other person to speak first at a networking event.  We are frequently taught at an early age to avoid speaking to strangers.  The truth is that people want to know you and that’s why they come to networking events anyway.

 

Quit being shy and expecting that people will easily understand your gifts and talents.  If you don’t “toot your own horn” a bit, who will?  Of course it’s all about delivery and make sure your approach is to be “in service” to others first and not just self serving.

 

 

About  William “Bill” Ellermeyer:  William Ellermeyer is one of the most recognized Executive Career Transition Consultants in Southern California, having pioneered the corporate-sponsored career transition business in the 1980’s.  Since then, Bill has become a noted speaker who regularly speaks about career management, entrepreneurship and “unretirement”.  He is a master connector who helps clients build relevant quality contacts, something he says is the bottom line of every executive in transition.

      www.EllermeyerConnect.com

 

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How to find executives who can build enterprise value in a slow growth economy…

The CFO

 

 

The election has come and gone and the “fiscal cliff” is looming.  It doesn’t appear we can expect a “rising tide” to help raise all businesses for a while. Winners and losers will be determined by the strength of the management teams.  It’s time for boards and companies to look at the teams they have and ask:

 

“Do we have the right ‘growth team’ to build enterprise value in this economy?”

 

“C” level candidates in this environment have to be vetted to determine if they understand how to bridge strategy with enterprise value.  The CFO is always a key player on the ‘growth team’ and over the years I’ve found the best CFO’s to have more than just finance and accounting knowledge, they have “the business gene”,

· They understand the elements of enterprise value.  They can articulate what components they need to build EV and the road map their team has created to get there.

· They understand all the pieces of the marketing strategy and have taken an active role in helping them come together.

· They are good at modeling marketing strategies to determine viability.  If a strategy isn’t cost effective, they don’t just say “No” they propose alternatives.

A strong relationship between the CFO and marketing is a powerful tool for a company.  A growth oriented CFO can look at a marketing strategy and see all the financial implications.  How will a new strategy impact the quality of earnings? Gross margins? Supply chain? Financing?  Packaging?  

I have found that vetting “C” level candidates to determine who can grow a business in this environment is a little like looking for oil.  Knowing how to drill is not anywhere near as important as knowing where to drill.  Every situation is different, but here are a few ideas of questions to start with when trying to determine if a CFO candidate could help build enterprise value in a slow economy.

· Give me an example of some growth strategies that were executed in your prior companies.  How did you evaluate the strategies and how did you model them to determine potential ROI?

o A CFO should be able to articulate the strategies and how each impacted the company financially.  Were other strategies considered and did you not recommend them? If not, why not?  Did they propose any alternatives?

· As the CFO, how did you contribute to your company’s ability to out maneuver the competition?

o The CFO should know the financial requirements of the strategies and manage cash to those strategies.  What was your contribution to taking cost out of your products?  What part of cost reduction gave the greatest return and why?

· Give me an example of when you had to work through a conflict with a VP of Marketing or Sales.  What were the issues and what were the results?

o How these issues are articulated and resolved will separate the “bean counters” from the “business genes”.  If all a CFO can see is cost reduction, then they can lack the vision to understand what’s necessary to grow in a slow economy.

· Tell me about your strongest and weakest competitors in your last company and what your strategies were to compete with each.

o The answer to that question will tell you if the CFO understands how to play the market share game.  With markets growing so slowly, knowing your weakest competitor and how to out maneuver them is key to gaining market share.

· “How do you assess the culture of an organization to determine if it will accept change?  What is the strongest indicator that a culture is ‘tradition bound’ or is not willing to make changes?  

o In my experience, a culture that is resistant to change is often being driven out of the finance function. The need to “control costs” can stifle creativity and risk taking.  Cultures almost always have to be modified in this type of economy and the financial function has to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 

 

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Is it time to look at your team and determine if they are the right ones to maximize value in this environment?  I vet “C” level executives all day long and track the ones I believe are capable of building enterprise value in a slow economy.  Give me a call if you’d like to discuss how we could help you build a ‘growth team’ for your company.

 

 

 

Know Thyself !

 

It is difficult to imagine reaching your full career potential without truly enjoying what you do.  In preparing for your next job and, analyze your strengths and your true successes and come up with your top two or three skills.  Strive to bring who you really are to what you do in your work.  Finding a job and a career that you truly love means that you will never have to “work” another day in your life.

 

William K. Ellermeyer

Career coach

Ellermeyer Connect

osmanbay7@gmail.com

714 803 9805