The Most Important Step to Successful Recruiting in 2018

Csuccessful recruiting

Happy 2018!

A new year is upon us, but the old one won’t let go.

Competent executives and key personnel will be as hard as ever to find.

Digging for that exceptional leader will be even harder as the business world increasingly demands more than just “qualified”

Most depressing, the devastating statistic that as many as 40% of executive hires fail within 18 months will continue to threaten, thanks mainly to an entirely correctable failure in recruiting: inadequate candidate screening.

The first step in assessing the capability of a new executive is to understand the difference between Need vs. Want.

Need and Want have different meanings in recruiting, and understanding this is critical.  Each can be appropriate, and each requires a unique approach to ensure a successful recruiting process. It is important to know the difference when you fill key positions.

The individual you need has the ability to do what is required to be successful in the role.  She will be a strong performer because of knowledge, skills and experience.  A contributing member of the organization, her presence will be a positive.  Finding these people, and attracting them, is a challenge.

Sometimes you want more

However, there are times when that is not enough.  These are the times you want someone because circumstances require “something extra.”  It usually is specific experience, which can have a much quicker impact on your organization, although it could also be specialized knowledge (these may or may not go together).

This requires efforts going beyond finding someone who is qualified, to include specifics that must be in the individual’s background.  It takes an extremely thorough and rigorous process to identify and attract the individual you really want.

We recently helped a client fill a key role with the candidate they wanted.  The process began by focusing on what they needed – individuals that were qualified.  These individuals could do the job, and do it well.  They were successful in their current role.  There was little doubt they would be effective in this role.

We then “fine-tuned” to focus on identifying individuals who offered even more in terms of industry and product experience.  This was a much “deeper dive,” with targeted research that enabled us to identify individuals with specific experience that exactly fit the client’s organization and culture.

It took a lot of effort to do this.  Many in our industry would have been happy presenting candidates the client needed – people who would be successful.  From our discussions with the client, we felt that left the process short, so we kept digging.  We found the person they wanted, someone who had been in their industry, but left a number of years previously.  Someone who had prior experience in the client’s current business and specific brands.  Then we helped that individual examine their career and determine this role was an ideal fit.

Finding the needle

I am quick to admit that not every role filled needs this much precision: but most important ones do.  In this instance, we delivered the needle in the haystack, not through luck, but through our process.

Our client has written: “I have worked with Cornerstone Atlanta for several years when I have added key members to my team.  Without exception, their search process has delivered candidates who fit the profile we have targeted.

Any search Larry helps us with results in us hiring the right candidate, within budget and within the expected timeframe.”  

For more information on Cornerstone Atlanta and other executive search members in 35 countries, visit our website at

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