HOW WE CONDUCT OUR SEARCH
The position profile
To begin, we interview decision makers from your company who have a direct interest in the position being filled. These important questions, among others, need to be answered:
How do you define and measure successful performance in this position?
What results must be achieved, and within what time period?
What are your company’s critical core values?
We then develop an in-depth position profile that describes the duties and responsibilities of the job and helps quantify your corporate culture.
Since individuals with the desired qualities usually are not actively looking, we must seek out and identify candidates who have established records of achievement and success in fields related to yours.
During the recruiting phase we thoroughly interview and screen all prospects to determine their strengths and limitations, and conduct comprehensive reference checks with former supervisors to evaluate on-the-job performance. In the process, we learn about a candidate’s accomplishments and how those experiences relate to your needs. If we recommend that a candidate be interviewed, it means that we have gone way beyond resume window dressing to qualify the prospect.
Conveying the offer
Our role in negotiating and conveying the offer becomes most critical in the offering phase, when we must resolve issues like these: Are there any problems involving relocation? Is the spouse in favor of the move to a new job? Are there problems with children’s health care or education? Will the candidate’s current employer tempt him with a counter offer to remain?
We don't believe in conveying an offer unless we know in advance that it will be accepted. This strategy eliminates the candidates who may be using the process simply to leverage their current position. As intermediaries, we remove the obstacles and nurture a win-win environment.
Transition and beyond
Finally, we stay with you all the way through the transition phase and beyond. The traumas of resignation, counter offers, relocating and starting a new job can be mitigated when we prepare candidates for these changes.
We not only know how to uncover the best of the best -- we know what it takes to complete all three phases of a search successfully.
YOUR ROLE IN THE SEARCH
The demand for executives and professionals has never been greater, and top talent is in very short supply. To maximize your chances of hiring the very best candidates, we must become partners throughout the entire search process.
What motivates candidates to change
First, top prospects must be motivated to make a change. Are they looking for a mentor? Is staff support important? Do they crave opportunity for promotion? Are lifestyle issues compelling? Is it only money? Together, we must uncover the attractions you offer and find the best way to market them to the needs of each recruited candidate. You must be prepared to sell your opportunity as passionately as you sell your product or service.
As you know, candidates we present to you are not generally looking to change. They agree to meet with you because (a) we have found out why they would be motivated to investigate a career move, and (b) we have shown them compelling reasons to consider your opportunity. Once we ignite their curiosity in your company, the warmth of their interest intensifies through progressive interviews.
With your full participation in the recruiting process, their interest turns to enthusiasm and ultimately glows with what we call the "white heat" of desire.
There are many reasons why the white heat is generated. We are all forthright with candidates and give them timely, straight answers. We construct a predictable interview process that conveys your respect for their time and your ability to meet deadlines. It is best if, within 24 hours of the first interview, you set a second meeting to take place within two to five days. It is important that candidates know what to expect and when to expect it. If you fail to meet your commitments, candidates lose interest.
Our partnership with you
To maintain the "white heat" of candidate enthusiasm, our partnership also means that your XEC Solutions Account Executive will work closely with your primary decision making team. We make ourselves available at any time to move the process forward. Likewise, we must have access to the decision makers who will motivate a candidate to join your company. That teamwork is especially critical when it is time to convey an offer. We will share insights into the candidate’s needs to help you craft an offer that will be accepted.
As your partner, we will make the search process rewarding for you and the executives and professionals we place with you.
CRITICAL VALUES ANALYSIS
This incisive tool will help you identify the core values of your company and its work environment. In addition, you will learn how to measure the ways these values are being met. As a result, you will have a very useful method to help determine the compatibility of candidates you are considering for hire.
What are core values?
Chances are you enjoy working at your company because the environment is in harmony with personal and job values that are important to you. Values, unlike goals, are not directly measurable. For example, "generating $10 million per year in sales from new products" is a directly measurable goal. On the other hand, "we encourage creativity" can be a core value. This value is meaningless, however, unless you can cite specific behaviors or situations in your company that show what you do to encourage creativity.
Here are some examples of values and how they might be measured.
There is synergy in working together.
Work should be a continuous learning experience.
Contentment at home means a more productive employee at work.
The job comes first. Our window of opportunity for success is limited, and we must do all we can before it is gone.
Exceptional achievement should be recognized and rewarded.
We don’t care how many hours you work as long as the job gets done.
How we meet these values
Sales presentations are done in teams, including service techs, sales reps and managers.
Employees are rotated to different jobs and reimbursed 100% for continuing education.
We pay full family health benefits and provide on-premise childcare.
Everyone works like a dog. If we reach our achievable goals, we will all get very rich.
Our detailed job descriptions all include measurable goals and incentives tied to reaching those goals.
Dress casually, bring your dog to work, late night pizza is on us; Just Do It!
Finding your own critical corporate values
Now, find out what your core values are and how you demonstrate that they are taken seriously. On the next page entitled "Our Company’s Values-Random Order," brainstorm the values that you believe fuel your corporate engine. In this part of the process, anything goes—there are no wrong answers.
When you have finished brainstorming, go to the next page called "Our Company’s Values Ranked in Order of Importance." On the left side, list your brainstormed values in order of importance, with #1 being most important. Now for the most critical part of the exercise.
Next to each item, write down what you observe that tells you that that value is being met
Once you have established your core values, direct your interview questions to identify behaviors that imply that the candidate shares your values. For example, if you believe that "there is synergy in working together," ask the candidate to describe how he managed his last project and what interface he had with others in reaching his goals.
THE SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE PROFILE
Increasing Your Chances of Finding the Best Candidate
The Superior Performance Profile is a major departure from the conventional wisdom that guides the creation of most job descriptions. Normally, job descriptions are a statement of the obvious (e.g. a sales manager will "assist his sales staff service existing accounts and develop new accounts in the region"), followed by a list of "requirements" that arbitrarily set some minimum levels of experience and education that will establish a safe zone for the hiring manager.
Unfortunately, these job descriptions emphasize the work to be done, not the person who is qualified to do it. The selection process then concentrates on what the hiring manager thinks candidates must "have" to get the job, instead of what candidates must "do" once they are on the job.
We have a different philosophy. We believe that to find superior candidates, you must first define superior performance. Rather than making a list of requirements you think are needed, determine what results you expect from a top performer. Then, finding the right candidate means finding someone who can show, through similar experience, that he or she can deliver the results that are most important to you—results that define superior performance.
Start the process by asking yourself questions like these:
What are the three most important duties of this job?
What tasks or challenges have the highest priority? When do I want them completed?
What objectives have I set for this new hire in the first 3-6 months? What obstacles are there to achieving them?
What is the #1 result I want in the first 12 months?
When you have answered these kinds of questions, you will have a clear understanding of what you expect the new hire to accomplish. Now you can structure an interview that focuses on finding the best candidate—that is, the one who can demonstrate, through past experience, that they can reach the objectives that you have outlined. With this shift in strategy, you will:
Focus on your real needs, without having to rely on imagined requirements.
Communicate your needs clearly to potential recruits.
Simplify the interviewing process by uncovering candidates’ achievements that indicate that they can deliver the results you expect.
Hire someone who clearly understands what is expected of them.
Using the Superior Performance Profile effectively means that you must fight the natural tendency to be influenced by first impressions. When you meet a candidate, set aside your initial impression for 30 minutes. We all know that, when you get to know someone and their abilities more thoroughly, first impressions can often prove meaningless.
Write out a patterned interview to be sure that you are covering the same salient points with all candidates. Probe their answers by asking follow up questions that expose their real contributions to the accomplishments they claim, and what obstacles they overcame to reach their goals. That will give you a chance to get into the candidate’s accomplishments that relate to your performance objectives and focus on how well the candidate can do the job and provide the results you expect.
Ultimately, which is more important to you—that you find people who can meet all of your requirements, or find people who can deliver the results you need? The Superior Performance profile will deliver results!