Why Did We Hire This Person: Part 1

We are beginning a guest post series by our colleagues Ben Dilla and Ron Evans discussing a topic that an organization may not necessarily want to admit. This series will cover 7 observations for organizations finding themselves asking this question and those wanting to prevent being in the situation.

“Why did we hire THIS person?

It’s painful to realize that a new executive is not the ‘right’ fit for the position, team, or
culture of your organization. And it’s often devastating for the person who does not fit.
Despite long and seemingly careful searches, many CEOs, board members and hiring
executives find themselves asking “Now, why did we hire this person?” Typically we find
the reasons can be narrowed down to a few common errors:

Observation #1: “We didn’t really know what we were looking for . . . but this definitely isn’t it.”

We routinely find that organizations do not spend enough time defining the characteristics, experience, and other attributes needed for key hires. Whether the position description is outdated, nonexistent, or just too general to be useful, the absence of specificity hurts.

In reviewing many hundreds of client position descriptions we often find they are much clearer about what needs to be done (duties and responsibilities) than on how things need to be done. Yet it is the how aspect of executive performance that so often makes the difference between good fit or bad.

Comment: Begin each search with a thorough review of the position and its critical requirements, expressed in terms of personal characteristics, behaviors, and experience needed for success. This analysis should be based not just on what the role is today but careful consideration of what will be needed in the future to achieve organizational
strategies. Don’t cave in to the pressure to ‘just start looking’. An accurately defined role will save you precious time and money, and will help attract candidates that last for the long haul.

Next up: We will cover the topic of facing challenges as a result of limiting the talent pool.