There are two types of companies – those that are growing and those that are slowly dying. This was a key lesson that I learnt some years ago from one of my mentors.

Trying to pick out a winner is not always easy, as some companies are suffering from the "boiling frog" syndrome, and it requires an alignment of the stars to get your selection perfect.

When we recruit for key roles, it is also vital to ensure we appoint candidates that have the potential for further personal growth, in particular with the ability to be promoted in more senior roles. This is one of the reasons why I strongly favour one-over-one recruitment, as the Chairman or CEO will invariable assess for executive potential.

Recently, I was coaching a HR Director and he was debriefing the termination of a Simon as Marketing Executive. Simon was in his role for five years, but the new MD felt he did not have razor-sharp commercial skills and after a brief period of counseling his services were terminated.

This unhappy outcome can surely be traced back to the initial appointment, as commercial skills should have been identified from the outset as critical to achieve strategic marketing outcomes. For recruiters it is particularly helpful to understand the underlying competencies as it relates to a specific strategic goal.
This business is today more than three times the size when the Marketing Executive was initially appointed.

The key questions are:
- Was Simon able to grow with the business?
- Did he reach his ceiling?
- Did the business do enough to develop him to full potential?

As a Talent Manager one the most rewarding activities is to recruit a graduate that would blossom into a general manager. I have been fortunate to work with some very talented HR people that have been promoted into senior HR roles. This includes two PA’s becoming HR Managers.

When I interview candidates, I try and track their career to see if it a steady upwards curve, or if they have plateaud, or if their career suffered from the yo-yo effect. This provides some clues, but I also try to understand the support and influence of mentors, their managers and others.

Whenever I am asked to review a situation where an executive is a poor performer, I often find they were good or even high performers in other companies, but were unable to make the cultural adjustment, demanding perhaps more of a need to operate on their own, or working in a virtual structure.
For clarification sake, I am again not necessarily suggesting recruiting the best person that may want to look for a promotion in six months’ time.

The challenge is finding those high-performing and high-potential candidates that can grow with the business.

Views: 81

Comment by David Talamelli on September 16, 2009 at 3:11am
Good article, we need to be mindful that sometimes the person with all the right skills may not be the best fit for the role. We need to make sure that the role is right for the person and ideally the next step for that person in their career (but not such a big step that they can not perform the role).
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on September 16, 2009 at 3:43am
Exactly David! MThe next role should offer personal development which means the person may not have all the skills. The worst roles are those where you give and give, but find after five years that there was little growth and you have in effect been standing still, which in our dynamic world means going backwards = one step forward and two steps back.


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