How to hunt for “stars”?
How to hunt for “stars”?
The ability to find exceptionally talented and capable managers is, probably, the greatest talent of the world class entrepreneur, the most important resource for business development and success. There is an obvious correlation between the progress of modern technology companies and the founder’s ability to employ the world class leaders.
Igor Sill at Redherring.com tells about ten lessons learned from Silicon Valley’s Pioneers concerning ways to select and recruit world class management leaders and create high-performing leadership and management teams.
1. Seek intelligent, driven people. “Type-A” members of administrative staff are people possessing the quality of achievement, as well as an inbred “fear of failure”. “Type-A” managers hire other “Type-A” players, while “Type-B” managers opt for “Type-C” players. You will evaluate the candidate through asking deep questions about his/her role, mission in the company, the ways in which s/he sought to realize his/her vision. Pay attention to people seeking to constantly improve their personal achievements. Hire bright, “hungry”, and very ambitious candidates.
2. Seek “Evangelists”. These are people who believe in success of your products and services. They understand the value of your business to the customers. Certainly, education and relevant business experience are of utmost importance, but the burning passion and involvement of the employee are still more important. Ask your candidate to describe your company and its products. You will understand how well s/he is prepared for the meeting with you, your company and its clients. Personal interest and genuine involvement form a good foundation for a long-term hire.
3. Seek candidates with a full-fledged ethical system. Ask complicated questions in the sphere of ethics, ask about their attitude to personal immunity, defrauding of income, sexual harassment, hiring preferences … These topics are worth while exploring in the process of new leaders selection. Pay attention to the candidates employed by the companies with high ethical reputation. They may introduce some valuable behavioral qualities into your business.
4. Check references. You may learn much about the company, its management style, processes, and the candidate examining resources and references. Ask the candidate about his/her organizational functions and responsibilities as early as during the first interview. If possible, make inquiries among former colleagues; ask them about your candidates, his work style, leadership skills, and communication skills. If circumstances allow, inquire about the company’s compensation scheme, bonuses, incentives, stock options. Together with the information provided by the candidate you will get a holistic picture of his activity. If you spot any discrepancies, ask the candidate to comment on them.
5. Trust your intuitions. You may get a much deeper understanding of the candidate by looking directly into his/her eyes and paying attention to his/her facial expression, while s/he is describing personal accomplishments, performances, and organizational qualities.
6. Be decisive. As soon as you understand that you are ready to make your choice, do not procrastinate. Set a plan for completing the hiring project; fix the dates for the discussion of position, details of compensation, Board of Directors participation, stock options … Schedule meetings with other key players of your company. Once you are sure, that this is the “right candidate”, make him a priority, particularly in terms of time-management.
7. Compare the candidate’s potential against that of your team. Take another look at your own team and its experience. Make sure that strengthening your team with a superstar, you will really make the employees admire him/her and respectfully acknowledge: “We were able to attract him/her!”
8. Do not assume that the candidate will agree so easily. Spend some time to offer the position to the candidate personally. If possible, invite the candidate and spouse for a walk or dinner. Time spent outside the office setting will help you realize the candidate’s real attitude. If the candidate is ready to resign from the company s/he is working for, invite him/her for a strategic meeting, featuring CTO, CIO, and CFO Managers before s/he actually starts employment. This will help to get him/her involved and committed.
9. Think out the process of integration of the new candidate. Once your candidate consents, invest your time on his/her integration: discuss with him/her your vision, company’s mission, his/her expectations, your company’s operation, functions, resources, the most important principles of team management and structure.
10. Hire new employees together with your “star”. Once you have hired your “star manager”, ask him/her to recommend other high-qualified experts. Trust his/her recommendations, since a superstar will not recommend ineffective managers. Remember, “Type-A” players hire “Type-A” employees.
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