Finding the right person to fill a senior-level position is hard for any company.
You have to identify the right candidates, find out if your needs are aligned, and come up with an enticing salary package.
It's why in a lot of cases executive-hiring becomes a long and delicate process.
Jeff Markowitz, a partner at VC firm Greylock Partners, recently published a slide deck titled "Blueprint for Executive Hiring" to help explain what needs to be done before making a final offer to executive candidates.
Here's a summary of it:
1. Create a 12 to 18 month road map.
Start early and think about all the key hires you'll need in advance. Meet and learn what other people in similar positions are like. Develop a priority list and be prepared for any surprises.
Ask yourself: "Why are you looking to fill this role?"
2. Take control of the whole process.
Maintain a good balance between buying and selling candidates. Identify what attracts the candidates to your company and what makes them want to leave their current positions.
Ask yourself: "Is this candidate closeable?"
3. Read what the candidate wants.
Listen to what the candidates say and try to uncover all questions and concerns they might have about making a move. You may want to ask the candidate to make a list of all the reasons why he/she may want to move.
4. Hold a mini-board meeting.
Holding a mini board meeting gives your prospective executive a chance to present a strategy plan to your leadership, and find out if both parties are aligned.
This works for any executive position. But do this before making the final offer.
5. Check references.
Referencing is the best predictor of a successful hire. Even more than interviewing.
6. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Look for patterns by looking at the candidate from all angles. Dig deep into the candidate's past experience. Don't be afraid to ask many questions. The goal is to eliminate any surprises after hiring this person.
Ask yourself: "Do I want to manage this person?"
7. Find out what the candidate expects to get paid.
Learn the candidate's expectation early on. Ask about their past compensation packages and make sure it's in line with what you can offer.
Give the candidate a sense of what the compensation package will look like after all other issues have been resolved. This should be the last thing to discuss before the final offer.
8. Make sure there's no hesitation before making your offer.
By the time you're ready to make your offer, the candidate should be able to look you in the eye and say, "I want the job."
At this point, you should have confidence that your offer will be accepted.
Always make the offer in person.