During a recent discussion on a Business Manager search I asked our client if he could detail the ideal candidate background for this position.  He immediately asked why this was important, as he thought it was more important to discuss salary, benefits, our services, etc.  So then began our discussion – which I thought I would share with you.

Show Me The Money

At the beginning and the end of the discussion it’s all about money – more or less.  More if the hiring manager can define the candidate background specific enough to enable a productive and profitable search result for the employer.  Less if the hiring manager dismisses this effort at definition by telling the executive recruiter to “give it your best shot.”

Why is it more?  Thinking through the discussion I had with our client it became apparent to him at the end of our chat that there was a direct correlation to his ability to define the professional and personal background and characteristics of a candidate and the ability of the company to earn more money.

The Questions

I asked about the need for a candidate to have the ability to lead talent, to have strong administrative, financial, accounting, and operational management abilities and experiences, to have demonstrated planning and organizing abilities and experiences, and to have a ability to communicate his/her vision to others, amongst others.    He gave me very detailed feedback on why these characteristics were important to the success of the person in the position, and why they were vital to the success of the business.

We discussed the behavioral strengths he thought would benefit an ideal candidate – in this instance, he thought it would be great to find someone who was great with structure and process and paid attention to detail, but not at the expense of developing strong relationships with others, and someone who was willing and able to make those tough decisions.  Again, the success of the company would hinge on this person’s ability to make things happen.

Communicating and Motivating

As an executive recruiter and an executive coach I’m always interested in identifying and understanding the communications and motivational culture in the business.  This interest results directly from my experiences in leading and managing businesses as well as providing coaching, training, and yes, recruitment services to our clients.

Understanding how the business communicates internally and externally begins to tell me what type and kind of candidate is needed to help the business be more successful.  Additionally, understanding the culture of motivation within the business will help inform me on what level of success the person with the ideal candidate background will have in the organization.

This knowledge will help inform the discussion with my client about preparing the business and the candidate to the change that the ideal candidate will bring to the business.  Change will happen.  I have yet to meet a client who wants the same old people and processes.  Competition requires change – positive change.  Businesses and candidates require it.  So it always makes sense to me to start off my search engagement discussion with this topic.

As you think through the characteristics you want in your ideal candidate’s background think further about the role that the executive recruiter will have in this process.  A lot is at risk when you decide you need to fill a position.  Mis-hires can be devastating. Great, successful hires can improve your bottom line.  Be prepared to work together with your executive recruiter so you can have a successful end to the process.