When I receive a new assignment for a C-Level search I’m naturally excited.  My game plan involves developing a full company and position profile, developing a search campaign that will identify the most qualified potential candidates for the position, and developing a process to maintain constant communication with my client on the search status.  Here are a few pointers in my process.

Map Out A Schedule

Some call this a critical path, I simply refer to it as my search schedule.  Often this is determined by the urgency of the search – other times its determined by the availability of the candidates – and at other times determined by the client’s availability and willingness to pull the trigger.  I’m optimistic by nature so usually plan a 75-day schedule and work back from the selected candidate’s start date. I build in a 2-4-week window for a candidate to give their notice, and then ensure there is room for reference checks, final and first client interviews, my screening interviews, assessment administration, and developing the candidate and company profile.  Can it be done in a shorter time – sure, I just completed a search in 2 -weeks – but that’s because I maintain an active candidate inventory for just those situations. Can the actual time be longer – absolutely, and I anticipate those when I’m working through the process.

Company and Position Profile

This part is exciting because I get to speak with ownership, the executive team, and employees about the company, as well as research company products and services.  My focus on the company profile is to understand what their value will be to a qualified but initially uninterested candidate. I look at the company’s strategic plan, budgets, goals, strategies, mission and vision.  I want to know where the company will want to go if they get the right candidate.  I want to know the company’s future vision for itself, and how the right person will help them get there.  Simple stuff – right?  Well, it should be.

The position profile seeks to complement the company profile. I try to understand what type of professional skill sets are desired, what decision-making, motivators, and behavioral tendencies are desired, what learning curve will be required, and what growth potential will there be in the position or the company for the person in the position.  In a sense, will the position need a person to mind the store – or help the company create new opportunities and successes (I prefer the latter of course).

The Search Campaign

Others have opined – if you know where you are going, you will have a good sense of how to get there.  That focus helps me understand what rocks to uncover, in what geography, and in what industry sectors.  No one search strategy applies – and you’re correct – I’m not going to delve deeper into my tactics.  Suffice it to say my tactics work.  I search for that person-future fit and am relentless in its pursuit.

Client Communication

I like to maintain focus on my purpose – to help the client achieve that person-future fit.  That requires weekly communication because I understand as a business owner myself and one who ran large businesses, that things change – there may be a shift in a business market, another key employee may leave, maybe a key client went to a competitor. It’s important for me to understand these changes so I can be tied into the company’s business cycle and decision-making processes – under calm and under crisis.  It’s one of the best ways I know to help find the right match.

In any C-Level search, whether for a growing company – or even a company that is being acquired and the new owners need new C-Level executives at the helm, the process is similar but always tailored to the client’s short and long-term needs.  Adaptability and fulfillment of the search is critical to each of my client’s success.  Helping my clients achieve a positive return on their investment is always important.