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The difference between a bad hire and a game-changing hire is vast, especially at the C-suite level. Real opportunity for your business is measured by the distance between the two. That being said, why wouldn’t you want to hire the best of the best? Your people are the key to reaching your next level of success, so it’s critical to land the leadership team you need to make profitability happen while continually building customer and employee relations.

Avoid Costly Mishires

A company may tend to cut corners on executive hiring due to budgetary and other factors. While that may be understandable, those considerations should be weighed against the devastating cost hit your organization takes when an upper-level hire goes south.

  • Direct costs of a failed hire include an executive’s initial recruitment and total compensation. This encompasses salary, bonuses, stock options, benefits and if applicable, relocation and/or legal fees. Add to this, severance costs and the expense of a replacement. The latter may include paying an interim executive to handle the role till a permanent hire is made.
  • There also are indirect costs. Performance is disrupted which, in the case of an executive departure, typically impacts a significant percentage of an organization. Leadership productivity falters during the period of time required to restart a search and then onboard yet another new executive. Potential opportunities like market share and investments made in support of the departed leader’s misaligned priorities could be enormous.
  • Goodwill is lost. Morale, engagement and retention plummet. Meanwhile, your competition continues to move forward, unruffled by this level of turmoil. Consider carefully whether all the financial and cultural costs are worth your frugal thinking, however well-intended it may be.

Changing the Game Means Hiring the Best

Rather than nickel and dime your executive hiring decision, make it your strategy to recruit intelligently. Work with your recruiting firm to pursue the best and develop the market understanding to distinguish top performers from empty suits or even average talent. Tactics include:

  • Pre-referencing talent: Reputation matters. Check discreetly through back channels to verify that an individual is indeed a top performer.
  • Looking for sincere, intrinsic motivation. Your goal is to land someone who deeply, passionately wants to be a leader and has the qualifications to realize this goal. Look for evidence of all your desired executive qualities in their achievements to date.

Maybe they’ll cost a little more – and maybe they won’t. When it comes to leading your business, it’s about more than just a paycheck. But never compromise excellence.

Partner with the Right Search Consultant

Recruiting top-performing executives is labor intensive and requires a rare set of skills and expertise. In essence, good enough never is. You want great hires, as those made at your C-suite level can make or break your company. The best firms are in the business of delivering the top performers – the 20 percent who effectively delivery 80 percent of results.

Are you interested in knowing more about making the right executive-level talent choices? Connect to the best in human capital by letting the BrainWorks team source candidates you may not find on your own. Contact us today.


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