The Secret Sauce in Leading a Successful Search


This is the start of a series on the ingredients of a successful search. In cooking we use a French culinary term mise en place to describe gathering the ingredients and tools in advance of cooking and this is the spirit of this series. I want to share the secrets we have gathered and uncovered that have yielded us successes in our Human Capital Group Executive Searches over the past 15 years. One of the secrets is paying close attention to the many moving parts and following a project management model, and another is also paying close attention to the talented candidates who we have met along the way. Let me share some of our other secrets…

Let us start from the very beginning with the story behind the opening and the job posting. So often, a yellowed template is used to craft and create this description. While this does provide consistency, this role has often evolved over the years and your current posting must reflect these changes. We also allow room in this document to set the stage for some important marketing and positioning as to why a candidate should look twice at this opportunity. This is a perfect time and place to sell both your organization and the position.

Following the creation of the job description you then must craft your story for candidates as to why this is an opportunity for them to review and consider. Many think the posting is enough, and I will admit it is a very important piece, but it is not the sole ingredient to attract the very best candidates to the role. Within this posting you can define if this is an inaugural role, a re-structured role, or an opening post a promotion or retirement. This added information sets the stage. As the person quarterbacking the search, you need to craft the story behind the opportunity. Are their great supporters within the reporting team? Is there a strong peer team of colleagues who are ready to bring on another? Or, is it the leadership team who are ready to move the organization in a new and diversified direction? You must craft the story and perfect telling it so that candidates will be intrigued and raise their hand, or nominate another for this leadership role.

A revelation shared by a partner is worth repeating. As they began crafting the posting, they quickly realized that there was not a compelling story to entice anyone to join the team. With two key staff departures, they were doing some re-structuring and re-organizing and quickly uncovered items that needed to be solved before they could begin this recruitment. “This process made us realize that curb appeal is not limited to real estate and is an important factor in recruiting the next leader for our team. We have some key DIY work to complete! "

With the story and the description completed, you can begin the next steps of researching and networking.

Stay tuned, more sauce will be shared.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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