Both functional manager and general manager are different. When you are a general manager, you have to hire people who are highly competitive. Many times, you have to recruit for a position you have no idea about. How many CEOs have worked as a manager in HR, engineering, sales and similar fields? Very few.
So, with less experience, it becomes very difficult to hire someone.
Know what you want
Don’t start the hiring process until you are completely sure about what you want. When you have never done the job, it is probable that you have a very vague idea of what you are looking for. Many people try to educate themselves by conducting interviews. This method is illogical and can result in losing some highly competitive candidates.
If you start hiring without figuring out what you want, you may hire someone on how they look. Many CEOs and board of directors just hire executives based on how they speak, how good their personality is and how good they appear.
Don’t seek perfectionism
Many people seek so many great candidates for executive position just because they are not ready to compromise on certain shortcoming. You can never get a perfect executive who does not have any weakness. Many people who are great at their jobs lack a few interpersonal skills. For instance, if you are looking for VP Engineering, you should be willing to tolerate a few interpersonal shortcomings. And, if you are hiring an executive in the area of communication, you should be willing to tolerate some functional shortcomings.
Work in the job role
The more mature and experienced you are, the more you realize that every employee in your company has certain weaknesses. Now, this may sound a bit far-fetched, but the best way to know about a job role is by working in the role for a few months.
Many CEOs don’t want to work at job roles which require functional knowledge but they lack it. But working in the job role for a few days. Great CEOs have worked as VP of HR, CFO, CMO and more. Don’t hesitate to work at the job role just because you don’t have enough knowledge. If you don’t have adequate knowledge, then work at the position to acquire it.
Another way to acquire knowledge about the job role is by interviewing a domain expert. If you are looking for Cheif Finance Officer, interview them comprehensively and learn from them. Ask them what should you look for in the candidate and who is perfect for you for the specific position. If you can include the subject experts in the interviews, that’s great.
Translate the knowledge
After you have gathered the knowledge, now you need to translate it into a thorough process that helps you hire the right executive. The executive should be great at following things:
- Running the function
- Managing the teams and running the operations
- Making contribution at strategic levels
- Shaping up department
These things don’t have equal weight for all positions. For instance, if you are hiring a chief marketing officer, then you are probably going to need someone who has outstanding interpersonal skills. However, if you are looking for a position like VP engineering, then you can tolerate a few interpersonal shortcomings, while you may want to hire someone with exceptional functional skills.
Assemble a committee
Assemble a committee to help you with interviews. Include major stakeholders including the board of members, executives or domain experts. Another committee you might need should consist of people who will help the executive get on-board and will support them in their first days. You may have employees in your company who may make it difficult for the executive to integrate into the company.
The team which is interviewing the candidate should ask questions based on their expertise. And, they must know what answer to expect.
If you are short on time and want to hire immediately. Then hiring an executive search firm can help. These might be expensive but they are connected with a wide range of talented executives. For instance, Ecap is an executive search and board placement firm which helps companies in different sectors hire executives level employees.