Strategist. Salesperson. SME. Engineer. Marketer. Product designer. It doesn't matter.
If a multi-million dollar prospect was debating between your company and a competitor, would you call them? Would you want to hear about it from your salesperson? One deal. More often than not, CEOs answer yes.
If your company was hiring one person who could add millions of dollars to your company, the right person who will work on deals that would effect many, many millions of dollars, would you call them? The answer is, usually not.
How I started this column is true. It doesn't matter the background of the CEO. Wherever they came up in the organization, or whatever their experience was prior to their role of CEO, they don't utilize their gravitas to bring people onto the team.
How it usually goes is the CEO says, "That's what we have managers and directors and VPs for. The CEO can't talk to every candidate!" I realize this, however, people buy on emotion.
Even when a CEO is part of the interview process, they miss the boat. Perhaps the direct manager or Human Resources extends the offer and the CEO rubber-stamped the hire by meeting the candidate. Then the candidate turns down the offer and chooses a different company. I can buy the same steak at the best restaurant in town, but mine doesn't look the same. My plate isn't the same. The garnishment isn't the same. The flavor and temperature aren't the same. Delivery and appearance matter. Period.
Whether you are the CEO reading this or you work for a company that hires people, the CEO should be involved in the interview process as often as possible. Here are some ideas on how:
- Meet the candidates. It doesn't have to be for an hour. It can be five to 10 minutes. Show you're a real person who is around and present...and that you care.
- Give your feedback to the team. If you have internal recruiters or Human Resources that runs hiring, tell them what you did or didn't like about the candidate. It could be communication style, resume, body language, or how they answered a question you like to ask. You lead the company; your opinion counts.
- Pick up the phone! After someone extends the offer (hopefully the hiring manager or a third-party recruiter who has a relationship with the candidate), the CEO should throw a call to the candidate. Even if they didn't meet them. "Hi Jane, this is Tom Gimbel. I'm the CEO of LaSalle Network. I know we haven't had the chance to meet yet, however, Mary and Dave shared with me how excited they are about you joining our team. I know you have some other options out there, but I wanted you to know I hope you choose our firm! We have some terrific things on the horizon, and it sounds like you can help us achieve them."
- Hiring someone at any level is negotiating a deal. View a hire like signing a client. Research. Want it. Go after it. Close it down.
- You're the lead player. Regardless if you're an introvert and not an extroverted salesperson, candidates want to know the person leading the charge. At the very least, they want to know that person cares.
- You can always resort to email. Drop them a note similar to the phone call. It's a form of contact. It's not as personal, but it still shows you care.
If you have thousands of people in your company then obviously it can't be done for every hire. However, there are division presidents or senior leaders who can fill that role. These are five minute phone calls from the airport, in the car, or during the weekend while headed to the gym.
People are your most important asset. Do everything you can to get the best ones on board.
If you like this, follow @TomGimbel for more.