What to consider when looking for a winning candidate?
Not only does each company face challenges that require someone wit
1.) A domain expert or a generalist?
As the hiring manager, you are the only one who knows the level of importance this position carries. Are you okay with someone with a longer ramp time because this person needs to understand the competitive landscape, conduct SWOT analysis from scratch, learn the objections by playing the role? Or do you need someone who’s a generalist, knows how to ask the right questions, work hard at solving one problem and move on to the next? If so, how long will this project be? If you are looking for a domain expert, are you able to answer the question “what makes your product different from competitors in the same domain?” A domain expert is well sought-after. What can you offer this person that his/her current employer cannot offer? What are your selling points?
2.) 30-60-90 day plans and beyond
This will take some deep thinking. You may need to think through the short term and long term goals you need this person to achieve in order for you to determine this person’s 30-60-90 day plans.
Second, is your organization nimble or has many layers? In your honest assessment, are there are a lot of red tapes or does the senior management team have room for risks? I point that out because that will influence the kind of person you need to hire. In a more nimble organization, the long-term plan you lay out may need to shift depending on the results after the first 90-days. If you end up hiring someone with only big company experience, do you think this person can adapt to this sudden change of plan? Conversely, if you hire someone with mostly startup experience, how do you think this person will respond to bureaucracy?
3.) Someone with the right quality or someone who’s a dream-comes-true?
wer to this question depends on the seniority of the position you are filling. The more senior the person, the more complex the problem this person will need to solve, which means it will be more likely that you need a dream-comes-true than someone with just the right quality. You will need someone who’ve been there done that. And in the process, they can create magic that will surprise even themselves.
If you are filling a mid-management position, you need to ask yourself if you want someone with “just enough" experience but the potential to grow into a more strategic role? Or do you feel better if someone has deep experience. If it’s the latter, do you see yourself creating high-level long term projects for this person to keep this new hire engaged? If not, you may want to find someone with enough skills to hit the ground running but the tenacity to fight through problems.
There is always an element of risk when it comes to hiring a new person. One way to minimize some of the risks is, of course, by conducting a thorough reference check. Another is by reading and studying other business models, learn from the mistakes other businesses had made when it comes to hiring and building a business. I also believe in surveying a diverse mix of candidates allows you to explore different options. The 3 tips listed above are mainly from my personal experience and from personal studies. Feel free to share yours in the comment below.