Traditional headhunting, essentially ‘old school’ meets ‘new school’ Executive search, is a step by step multifaceted process and needs to be executed by a firm that knows what they’re doing. Specialist C-Suite headhunting and/or Executive search is intended to identify one of a kind, qualified leadership-driven candidates who exhibit as much passion and motivation for the job as they do servant leadership traits. The chief executive needs to be able to manage all critical areas of the business to take it to the next level whilst embodying the vision that instills permanent and dynamic influence among the team. Hiring the right CEO requires a firm with both significant prior experience and a traditional headhunting m/o to get it right.
Key areas for your business to evaluate are;
- Team building skills – who does my team need as an influencer?
- Ethics and integrity – what do we stand for?
- Shareholder return – what $$$ goals do we need to meet?
- Execution – what’s worked? What hasn’t worked for us? What needs to work?
- Ability to work the boardroom – how effective are our current board meetings?
- Personal gravitas – what kind of character would we warm to?
- Ability to command a vision – what garners our continuous team influence?
At Crown, with over 50 years of cumulative insights, we have experienced the Five Stages of Hiring a CEO to be:
Identifying your business needs
The process of CEO headhunting starts with identifying your business’s needs and wants. It is important to understand exactly what your business needs from your CEO and more importantly, what the culture of your brand requires for growth. This includes a range of factors including skills, experience, job history, results, vision, connections and personality. Not identifying the organizations’ needs will increase the chances of ending up with the wrong individual once the honeymoon period is over. It is also important to spotlight the key stakeholders within your organization, who should be allowed to play an important role in the hiring process. This will help external executive headhunting firms ensure that they keep relevant people informed along the way among a number of other things.
Once you’ve come to the end of the needs analysis phase, the next step in hiring is to determine where to search. Detailed research processes, competition mapping and identifying the target sector and indeed, how the search is going to be conducted are important. We have found that the hiring process will take far longer than expected without a solid research phase. Time and time again Crown has identified that it is unlikely to identify all suitable candidates without a precision strategy. Crown search group has its proprietary process for executive search which is obtained from its half century+ of experience in the field.
After identifying target candidates, the right approach and connection method/s are crucial. We believe it’s of paramount importance to add more value than we take in payment and this is no different with our candidates. This where the executive headhunter’s expertise separates itself from the pack.
Establishing a Shortlist
A dynamic, accurate screening process is important to ensure that any candidates we connect with move through our selection process seamlessly. This also greatly reduces the time in identifying the strongest prospects and further narrow down which candidates have the right experience and adequately fit with the culture of the organization. The CEO screening process will differ depending on the organization BUT it is extremely important to at minimum include the points outlined here. Due to the importance of the CEO position, an in-depth due diligence process needs to be fulfilled once the preferred candidate has been chosen. In addition to ‘must-have’ qualities, it has been found to be of high importance to choose a candidate with in-depth experience in transforming a small business into a recognized brand, both financially and optically.
Conducting Interviews, Making a Final Decision
The final stages of interviews will organically happen once the candidates are shortlisted and move through 1st and 2nd round meets. It is important to have a stringent set of competency-based questions, among other things (which we can coach you on), that will enable the candidate to provide clear examples/evidence of what they bring to the table. This will allow you to easily compare and score the candidates. Further due diligence will be undertaken once the preferred candidate is identified. With the candidate’s consent, a thorough identity, reference and background check and /or director search then need to be performed which includes checking for any form of criminal record, as well as past and present directorships to identify any red flags. Once completed, the relevant stakeholders need to be involved and provide as much input to ensure the right person is hired during the time of the final decision.
Hiring a CEO is an exciting and intricate process, which is why most organizations work with specialist search firms to find the best possible candidate for their business’s ascension. Crown Search Group’s specialist ‘headhunter’ experience, proactively targets top-level candidates suitable for your organization. We have become experts across various sectors, including Technology, Finance, Pharmaceutical, Education and NFP, among others, successfully serving clients from Canada, USA and the Middle East.
Contact us to find your next c-suite executive. Invest in you, invest in Crown.