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Picture this scenario. Your company is facing issues and you’ve just decided that it is time to bring a new key executive onto your team. What do you do now?

Before initiating a search, it’s critically important to zero in on what you really need in your new hire. The better your understanding of your needs, the greater is the likelihood of identifying the right person for you.

Obviously each functional area in management has its own demands, and there are many position descriptions available on the Web. But first take a sharp look at your company as it is right now. What are the main challenges that it is facing, and how will they impact the job that the new executive will be expected to do? Besides the standard requirements of such a function, what sorts of special skills will s/he need? Spend the time up front to bring other people into the planning process. The person to whom this position reports will provide valuable input. Peers and subordinates may also bring up ideas that you had not considered. Of course, you will reflect on the type of career experience needed, but also consider the personality styles that would work well with your existing team. For example, if your firm is small and fast-paced, hiring executives who have only worked in large, somewhat slow entities is risky. No matter how good their skills and intentions are, they don’t yet know what they don’t know about the small business environment, and not everyone can make that transition successfully. As Don Clifton, CEO of the Gallup Organization said, “Don’t blame a fish for not flying. If you needed a flier, you should have hired a bird.”

An additional section of the position specification to consider is the description of your company. A few lines on the history of the company and its current situation will suffice but they should paint a truthful and enticing likeness. Tell the reader subtly why s/he should join you!

Lastly, since we live in the real world, remember that this picture of your new executive may need to be modified as you encounter the realities of the marketplace. If your search professional, having spoken to many candidates in the course of the search, returns to let you know how the market views the position, it may be time to re-evaluate the compensation package, or the “must-haves” and the “nice to haves.” Don’t settle for not-good-enough, but do determine what is truly non-negotiable for you, and hold out until you get it.



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