As a leading executive placement firm in Northern California, Pacific ExecSearch knows that executive leadership can have an enormous impact on company-wide productivity, turnover and confidence. However, according to studies, such as ones conducted by Harvard Business School and Right Management Consultants, the failure rate for new executives is anywhere from 30 – 40% after 18 months. Costs related to turnover at this level can be huge.

So what can your company do to increase the odds of hiring successful leaders? Here are 3 simple steps:

Step #1: Make the process collaborative.

Beyond HR and other company executives, invite those who would report directly to the new executive into the process. They will be able to speak better to specific departmental challenges and opportunities more so than someone who doesn’t work within that particular team. Keep in mind too, if subordinates are not on board with a particular candidate, it could cause a lot of tension should that person get hired.

Step #2: Ramp up due diligence.

When a candidate provides references, they’re most likely from individuals who will give positive feedback. However, considering the cost of a hiring mistake, it’s important to take your due diligence a step further.

Supplement the candidate-provided reference with your own research. For instance, identify individuals in the candidate’s previous company and reach out to them for information about the person you’re considering. Also connect to those in the industry who may have gotten to know the candidate and can offer you additional insight and perspective.

The more data points you have, the better. If there are any red flags, it’s better to find them now than after the person is hired.

Step #3: Go beyond traditional interviews.

When you have a couple of candidates you’re seriously considering, it’s important to go beyond the typical one-on-one conversation with a fellow executive or panel interview with those who may not be trained in interviewing best practices.

Instead, implement other mechanisms in the hiring process that allow you to get behind the candidate mask. For instance, you may want to provide the candidate with information about a current challenge the company is facing and ask them to make a presentation on their solution for it. Other ideas include role-playing scenarios or having them run a meeting. They key is to create a situation in which the candidate is forced to think on their feet and adapt quickly.

Do you need more help hiring senior leaders who will last at your organization? Contact Pacific ExecSearch. With more than 25 years of experience as an executive placement firm in Northern California, we can not only help you recruit top executive talent, but we can also shorten your time-to-hire and reduce the associated costs. Contact us today to learn more