Start a New Executive Search at the End

“In one year’s time, what will this person have delivered to move your business forward?”

Talking to a client the other day, I’m reminded of how important it is to preach and practice the basics.

Take the guessing out of executive search
Executive search starts with knowing where you want to end

Dealing with a business leader hiring a retained recruiter for the first time, there is a huge amount of value to both parties in defining a PID – Project Initiation Document.

And yes, that is borrowed from the world of Engineering and Manufacturing. Why? Because you don’t start to make something unless you have a very clear idea in mind as to what it will look like and measures as to how it will perform.

In my view it will have the biggest impact on an assignment’s success, or to quote Steven Covey, “Start with the End in Mind”

We were discussing how this Exec could open up a new market for his company. His HR advisor had written a Job Description that was at best pedestrian and the Exec wasn’t inspired.

So we started with the end in mind and I asked: “In one year’s time, at first performance appraisal, what will this person have delivered to move your business forward and accomplish your plan for new market entry?”

His response detailed specifics of pipeline created, the value, and with which parties; it detailed technical problems that needed to be overcome and with whom, as well as the nuances of the culture and personalities that the incumbent would encounter. We went on to detail ideal results for the next year and then a 3-5 year timeframe.

Focusing on the end in mind in this way creates simple questions, but ones that immediately change the context in which a recruitment assignment is framed. And they are meaningful: as the results are linked to the business plan, they are time bound, specific and measurable.

From the candidate perspective, a career journey is mapped out that a good recruiter can use to promote an enhancing reason to change employers.

And finally, defining the outcomes in this manner, gives insight and structure to the assessment process. Rather than refer to the skills, qualifications, and years of experience, etc. that was defined in the job description, we created a set of measures against which we could look for evidence of achievement.  We really got into the heart of the candidate’s abilities to deliver something similar for a new employer.

It gives more predictive validity to the assessment process and that must be the key aim of any good hiring process

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