While a mis-hire made at any level within an organization can be detrimental, the impact of a mis-hire in a senior executive position can be even more significant and costly than firms initially consider. Consider these recommendations to improve your hiring practices in securing executives who will excel within your organization.
R e t a i n e d E x e c u t i v e S e a r c h Construction Facilities Management Real Estate Engineering Pi8sburgh www.helblingsearch.com 724.935.7500 The Effects of a Senior Executive Mis‐Hire and How to Prevent Your Firm From Making One ‐ by Sami L. Barry Mis‐hire: Hiring a person for a role who does not What can you do to prevent an execu1ve mis‐hire? have the appropriate qualiﬁcaCons and abiliCes to There are many diﬀerent strategies that can be developed to fulﬁll the posiCon’s responsibiliCes. improve execuHve hiring pracHces, and they can be implemented at various phases of the hiring process: before interviewing While a mis‐hire made at any level within an organizaHon can be candidates, during the interview stage, and throughout the ﬁrst six detrimental, the impact of a mis‐hire in a senior execuHve posiHon months of the execuHve’s employment. can be even more signiﬁcant and costly, creaHng negaHve consequences beyond those that many ﬁrms iniHally consider. To Before Interviewing Candidates:improve hiring pracHces, there are many strategies that can be 1. Clearly deﬁne the posiHon’s responsibiliHes so that each implemented to ensure that an execuHve is qualiﬁed for a candidate will be measured by the same parameters and prospecHve posiHon, and that he/she will excel within the role and so that each interviewer understands the role. the organizaHon itself. 2. Outline the posiHon’s performance expectaHons. A number of business experts esHmate that the average employee 3. Consider the qualiHes/technical skills of an ideal candidate mis‐hire can cost four to six Hmes the employee’s annual regarding competencies, educaHon, and experience.compensaHon. In his book ‘Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People’, author 4. Create structured interview quesHons to determine a Bradford D. Smart, PhD., concludes that the average cost can candidate’s technical skills/experience.mulHply signiﬁcantly (up to 24 Hmes of annual compensaHon) with 5. Develop a formal interview feedback process that must be the mis‐hire of a senior execuHve. He comes to that conclusion followed by everyone who is interviewing the candidate. based upon consideraHon of “lost opportunity costs”. 6. Assess your company’s culture and determine the “ideal” It is important to realize the costs and eﬀects of a mis‐hire go cultural ﬁt.beyond analyzing lost opportuniHes and wasted interviewing and 7. Benchmark posiHve traits of high performing execuHves training Hme. Many ﬁrms fail to understand the “psychological on your management team so that you can recognize impact” of a senior execuHve mis‐hire which can lead to such them in a candidate.issues as: 8. Benchmark the negaHve traits and qualiHes of previous ‣ Sending the wrong message to other execuHve mis‐hires to be on the lookout for those same a8ributes in management and employees about the “leadership future potenHal candidates. mentality” you desire on your management team which 9. Develop milestones for 30, 60 and 90 days. can cause uncertainty and addiHonal key employee departures. During the Interview Process: ‣ QuesHoned validity of benchmarked procedures and 1. Discuss the responsibiliHes of the posiHon with each hiring pracHces of senior execuHve management. candidate and measure him/her by the same parameters ‣ Clients may sense instability within the execuHve team or as outlined within the posiHon’s responsibiliHes. view the mis‐hire as an inability to accurately assess talent 2. Discuss the posiHon’s performance expectaHons with each which can lead to doubts about the organizaHon’s overall candidate. capabiliHes. 3. Measure every candidate by the qualiﬁcaHons/technical ‣ Within a public company, a mis‐hire can create turmoil for skills you are seeking in an ideal candidate. the company’s board, investors, and overall growth projecHons. 4. Allow interviewers to add their own subjecHve quesHons, but make sure all standard quesHons are addressed to When considering the psychological impacts above, you can understand a candidate’s experience, knowledge, skills begin to understand how costly a senior execuHve mis‐hire can and abiliHes. be.
5. Receive interview feedback from each interviewer within ‣ Stay close to the execuHve during his/her on‐boarding your preferred structured format. Ideally, all interviewers process and provide support as needed. should have a meeHng to discuss each candidate for a ‣ Monitor performance closely and perform the 30, 60 and more eﬃcient and producHve decision‐making process. 90‐day assessments as promised and idenHfy and 6. Compare the candidate’s ideal corporate culture with that subsequently address any issues. of your organizaHon to determine the cultural ﬁt. Have the candidate idenHfy the 5 characterisHcs of their “ideal” What can you do if you think you’ve hired culture and one that they thrive within to weigh the the wrong execu1ve? diﬀerences. Almost every ﬁrm is going to, at some point, hire a wrong execuHve 7. Assess any posiHve traits you see in a candidate and for a posiHon. When that happens, the ﬁrst step is to address the compare them with the benchmarked posiHve traits. issue as soon as possible. Once major problem areas are idenHﬁed, the mis‐hire’s superiors should determine what could potenHally 8. Assess any negaHve traits you see in a candidate and be done to resolve his/her shortcomings in order to avoid compare with benchmarked negaHve traits. reopening the posiHon. However, it is equally important to 9. Discuss the 30, 60 and 90‐day milestones with the determine why those shortcomings were overlooked during the candidates and ask for his/her thoughts and opinions of interview process to address the issue with the hiring team. those milestones. Highly recommended addiConal issues to address: What are some ideal quali1es of execu1ve candidates for the industries Helbling serves? ‣ Ask the candidate to describe an issue that he/she expects As recruiters for the A/E/C industry and associated owners, we to face in the role and how he/she would plan to handle it. encourage our clients to implement pracHces such as the ones ‣ Assess the candidates leadership and teamwork outlined above for eﬀecHve execuHve hiring programs that mentality. How does he/she promote team development? generate posiHve results. Our consultants look for certain traits in How does he/she insHll leadership qualiHes in other team potenHal execuHve candidates to complement those eﬀorts when members? How does he/she handle knowledge transfer? performing assignments, and they also evaluate more speciﬁc ‣ Ask the candidate to describe achievements as well as characterisHcs according to the industry of our client as outlined areas of weaknesses. below. ‣ Ask and understand the criteria on which the candidate is General Professional Traits: evaluaHng the posiHon to determine true moHvaHon ‣ Strong leadership skills (compensaHon, opportunity, etc.). o Adaptability ‣ Ask the candidate to comment on his/her own ideas for o People skills 30, 60 and 90‐day milestones. o Self Awareness ‣ Ask the candidate to describe his/her career goals to o Decision Making Ability ensure long‐term ﬁt. o InnovaHon OpConal yet eﬀecCve: ‣ Consider the candidate’s secondary place‐ability factors: ‣ Strong industry relaHonships and established reputaHon bringing instant credibility and the ability to acquire commute Hme, children in a certain school / area, business from those relaHonships. spouse / signiﬁcant other’s support of changing employment. ‣ Acute business savvy and proven experience in posiHoning an organizaHon / project and increasing proﬁtability. ‣ Take the candidate and his/her spouse out to dinner and ‣ Ability to change tacHcs, approach and strategies based get to know them personally. upon market condiHons. ‣ Hold the interview in a locaHon other than your oﬃce. ‣ AppreciaHon of technology and how to manage the People are more apt to be "themselves" in a less eﬀecHve and eﬃcient use of sokware. professional atmosphere. ‣ Ability to hire, train, moHvate and empower staﬀ.First 6 Months of Employment: ‣ Past experience at a similar level to what the client is The “hiring process” is not over aker the execuHve comes on board seeking.because the transiHon period is just as criHcal. To ensure a smooth ‣ Good communicaHon skills (wri8en, verbal, listening, transiHon for the newly hired execuHve, their superiors should: persuasion). ‣ Make sure that he/she is properly introduced to relevant ‣ Stability in past employment (extended tenures). staﬀ. ‣ Problem solving ability. ‣ Ensure that the posiHon is in alignment with what was ‣ A8enHon to detail. described during the interviewing process.
General Personality Traits: Real Estate ExecuHves: ‣ Ability to perform at a high level under pressure ‣ Strong network of contacts. ‣ Strong morals and work ethic ‣ Knowledge and experience within the property type and geographic region(s) the individual will be operaHng in. ‣ Commi8ed and passionate Caring, team player ‣ Understanding of regulatory issues and standards and ‣ Intensely moHvated managing processes through governmental agencies. ‣ Relish challenges ‣ Master planning experience. ‣ Respectable ‣ Well versed in legal, poliHcal and managerial ﬁelds. ‣ Intelligent ‣ Numbers driven while also understanding the ebb and ‣ CharismaHc ﬂow of the market. ‣ CreaHve ‣ Track record of successful ﬁnancial transacHons. ‣ EnthusiasHc ‣ Exposure to a variety of ﬁnancial arrangements (i.e., ‣ Aggressive leasing, owning, partnerships developed for tenants with a long‐term leaseback). ‣ Persistent ‣ Ability to analyze opportuniHes and risks of potenHal ‣ ProacHve deals. Speciﬁc Traits According to Industry: ‣ Understanding of space uHlizaHon, value engineering and energy issues. ConstrucHon ExecuHves: ‣ Strong negoHaHon skills. ‣ Ability to develop work as well as to manage it (seller/ doer). Engineering ExecuHves: ‣ Proven track record of posiHve impact on the success of ‣ Ability to develop work as well as to manage it (seller/ projects (i.e. shortened schedule, under budget, etc). doer). ‣ Ability to understand partnering with vendors and ‣ Proven track record of posiHve impact on the success of suppliers to bring added value to projects. projects (i.e. shortened schedule, under budget, etc). ‣ Experience and understanding of ﬁeld and contracts. ‣ Experience and understanding of ﬁeld and contracts. FaciliHes Management ExecuHves: ‣ Knowledge and experience within the market sectors the ﬁrm operates within. ‣ In operaHons roles, proven success in posiHvely aﬀecHng the bo8om line of an insHtuHon’s faciliHes management ‣ Fluent with current informaHon technology. department. ‣ Understanding of and ability to collaborate with architects • Savings on projects, purchasing, and uHliHes. and construcHon ﬁrms. • Successful management of budgets and the ‣ Sustainable design and engineering experience. ability to work within the organizaHon’s respecHve constraints. ‣ Strong relaHonships with boards, senior administraHon, By implemenHng these thoughts and hiring pracHces, our clients and end users. are able to make more informed decisions about execuHves they want to hire. In turn, they create more viable opportuniHes for ‣ High level of paHence (usually have longer decision themselves in the marketplace. Therefore, just as strategies are making periods). imperaHve when iniHaHng plans for growth and proﬁtability, they ‣ Sustainability experHse, implementaHon of green are also criHcal when developing and implemenHng programs to iniHaHves. secure senior execuHve management. Once the right execuHve is ‣ Strong board presentaHon skills. in place, he/she will be able to lead the transformaHon of their ‣ Understanding of faciliHes management from a technical organizaHon long into the future. standpoint. ‣ ProacHve in technology advancements regarding products and services. ‣ For public enHHes, execuHves need more sok skills to manage relaHons with the public, shareholder groups, analysts and governmental enHHes. ‐ Sami L. Barry performs Strategic Market Development for Helbling & Associates and has been with the ﬁrm since 1994. She is a member of the InternaConal Facility Management AssociaCon’s PiTsburgh Chapter as well as the Green Building Alliance of PiTsburgh.