09/09/2011 02.28 EDT
When we begin a new search on a client’s behalf, we meet with the hiring manager and leadership team to fully understand the position, its scope and responsibilities, and its place in the organization. Clients speak at length about the requirements of the role and the consequent qualifications they are looking for in candidates. They outline desired work experience, educational credentials, industry sector experience, etc. They often have a very specific set of requirements related to candidate qualifications – most of which can be ascertained by reviewing candidate resumes and interviewing them.
In a prior life, I worked with clients who were dismissing executives, sometimes because they were not successful in their roles. When I would ask clients why the executive failed, they seldom said things like “Well, she only had seven years of management experience instead of ten years” or “He went to a state school and not an Ivy League university.”
Instead, I heard things like “He always had to be the smartest person in the room” or “She couldn’t work collaboratively across departments” or “He just wasn’t seen as a credible, genuine leader.”
So, the “derailers,” if you will, had little to do with concrete work experience and credentials. Instead, they were tied to style, emotional intelligence and those most elusive of concepts – cultural fit and chemistry.
When recruiting a new executive to a company, the assessment of their cultural fit is arguably the most difficult part of the process. After 15 years of finding the right people for the right job, here are three things I always tell clients to do when evaluating fit:
Because everything we do involves people and their foibles, quirks and eccentricities, there is no sure-fire way to guarantee cultural fit. But I know for sure that you will not be able to evaluate it from a resume.