When you decide that it is time to hire – whether for a new position or replacing someone – it is essential that we examine several factors that will weigh in on your ability to attract and hire the best person for your company. You may need to be open to repositioning duties in your department/company to create a position that is more in line with the future of the company. A job description should be more than a grocery list of duties and educational requirements; you need to be specific about the talent your company will need for future challenges and growth.
If you take the extra time now, before you begin the search, to do a thorough assessment, it will help orchestrate an effective search process. It may even point you in the right direction to find the candidate quickly. The following thoughts are to assist you in formulating the desired candidate profile.
BUSINESS CLIMATE AND EXTERNAL CONDITIONS
What is the business climate now? Is the job market picking up? Is your area starting to boom a bit, with new construction all around? Are residential subdivisions being built to support industrial growth? Alternatively, are there several empty facilities? Are people moving out of the area? Are there half- finished residential developments? How about the retail climate? New restaurants and store openings within a short distance; or are they closing up shop and taking loses? Take a drive around the community (if in a smaller community), talk with people who know what is going on (real estate brokers, township and city managers, local newspaper reporters) and see what the climate is for business in your specific area.
Are other companies looking to hire at all levels? Are companies continuing to downsize? Is there a shortage of quality candidates? Where are the candidates that are being hired coming from? Are local people looking for positions? Why? What kind of resumes are you receiving? Are you receiving un-solicited resumes every week of candidates that are unemployed?
The answers to these questions will tell you the difficulty you may have in finding the desired candidate or attracting a candidate to relocate for your position.
INDUSTRY AND INTERNAL CONSIDERATIONS
What is going on in your company? Are you steadily growing or maintaining at the same level of revenue? Are you a leader in your industry? Have you been in second place and about to make a push for number one? Do you have new and innovative products and services that are about to go on the market? Will you benefit from taking someone from one of your competitors?
Are you looking to build overseas? Which countries? Will you need foreign language skills? Will you need experience living and working in a foreign country? Are you currently a private company considering going public in the future? Would it be a plus to hire someone now with some SEC accounting experience? How about a candidate that has taken a company through a public offering? Do you need experience from a larger company; because you are growing at a fast pace? Are you positioning the company for a merger or sale; and do you need someone to see you through that process?
Do you need someone with firsthand experience with a specific software package that is not widely used? What are the special needs or problems within the company that this new position will be fixing – or could fix? What projects need to be done? Do you need someone to integrate the systems of the companies you are buying or have bought? Do you need a troubleshooter that can go to a problem and fix it before it becomes a disaster? Even more direct, do you need someone who can tell there is a problem before it becomes a problem?
What role will the new person take? Are you ready to allow someone else to take over the position’s responsibilities? Do you want a business advisor or someone to just do their work and keep quiet? Are the entire senior management team (or family members) in full agreement and ready to accept the ‘outside’ person as part of the decision-making team? Does everyone believe this is a necessary position? Has everyone agreed on the authority, responsibilities and level of involvement for the position? Is this a temporary position until a family member (or another person) can grow into the slot? Are you ready to offer a compensation package necessary to interest outside candidates to consider your position and company?
MANAGEMENT AND SUPERVISORY SKILLS
Do you need someone who had a staff of 50+ and mostly managed the department; or do you need someone who had a much smaller staff and was hands on. Is your support staff at the clerical level or professional level or a mixture of both – so you are dealing with many personality and career levels? Do you need someone who is comfortable in a factory setting? Will they need to travel to your other facilities and interface with the personnel there? Will they have a working relationship with you facility management?
Do you want and need a superstar? Do you need a candidate that wants to move up quickly and needs to be constantly challenged? Do you need an “octopus” that can juggle several projects at the same time with ease? Are you ready to give the new hire the authority to go with the responsibility? Are you looking for someone who will share opinions and comments about the workflow? Do you want a “yes” woman/man? Are you looking for someone to just sit at their desk and crank out work papers? Are you looking for you replacement? Do you know where the most likely next career move would be in your company?
Do you need someone who can communicate – with senior management, peers, and staff? Do you need someone who is comfortable giving presentations to others – whether a group of over 200 or their immediate staff? Do they need to be able to present to the Board of Directors or outside analysts? Consider these issues as you interview a candidate.
What is your company culture? Are you formal in your business structure? Do you shoot from the hip and make decisions on the fly or do you submit proposals and make several presentations to address an issue? Is the work style of your company fast paced with long hours and lots of weekends? Do you work pretty much a forty hour week with an occasional Saturday morning? Do you have a true open door policy or does everything follow a set chain-of-command? Do you have informal meeting around the coffee station or preset daily, weekly staff meetings with graphs, slides and presentation?
Is your dress code business attire, business casual or casual? Do you socialize with your co-workers or are most friendships outside of the workplace? Is your firm civic-minded – do you participate in food drives, blood drives and clothes drives? Is it fun to work at your company?
Company culture and department culture are very important factors to consider for your candidate profile.
TECHNICAL EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE
What exactly will they be responsible for day-to-day? Do they need some hands on experience with certain tasks/duties that are specific to your industry? What about college degrees? Do you need for them to have an MBA and/or be a CPA? Will they need foreign language skills? Special training in specific areas such as crisis management, turn around and restructuring skills, valuation experience, due diligence, acquisition and divestiture strategy or IPO experience? Do you need a candidate that has both public accounting and industry experience? Will they need excellent (write code) or very good computer skills? Do you need someone who has supervised a system conversion? Think about your background, would that work for this position or do you need different skills to complement your skill set? Think about what you want this position to accomplish.
Remember that no two companies are alike and no two positions are the same – even when they have the same title. Each company has specific needs that are dictated by the confines of their location, their culture, their industry, their future plans, the internal skill set already in place and the senior management team. When you tailor your candidate profiles for the specific needs of your company and you make an effort to set this groundwork before you begin to hire, you increase the success of finding the perfect and best candidate that will have a positive impact on your company’s future.
This is the process and questions I use each time I conduct a search for candidates for my clients. We discuss the external and internal factors, the management style and lastly the technical skills. Every company is different and has different needs so there is not a single profile that fits every situation. It depends on the company, industry, the “wounds” within the company and the future plans of the company – acquisitions, divestitures, sale, IPO, turn around situation, and the list goes on. No two company profiles should be close; similarities maybe, but very different profiles for each company and each search.