Selecting and Hiring Senior Managers Part 2

February 23, 2012

This is the second part of a two part article on overcoming the challenges involved with selecting and hiring senior managers. The first part can be found here. Below we address how to avoid post recruitment surprises. 

Terry was pleased that he had found a new Vice President. Gerry had been introduced to him by a former colleague and by coincidence had previously worked for someone in his CEO Peer Group. Terry had hit it off immediately with Gerry but he was now beginning to raise concerns about the terms of his contract that he says weren't made clear to him before he joined. Terry was concerned "We didn't do anything differently and everyone else seems to be happy".

People are often passionate about new opportunities. They take risks and yes, that applies to careers if the upside looks good and they like what they see in the new boss. 

It's of course not quite that simple but suffice to say, full due diligence and full disclosure is sometimes overlooked. When the honeymoon is over, more often than not the new recruit only then applies the diligence that should have occurred before signing!

Terry had seen it before, engagement falls off and enthusiasm dissipates with the executive moving on when the first good opportunity comes knocking. For the company it means starting again, more downtime, additional costs and damage to employment brand. How could we have avoided that?

The Hiring Process

A first class pre-employment process makes for the most successful on-boarding experience. Here's a checklist that might help avoid some of those post employment surprises: 

  1. Total transparency needs to be the order of the day. Over communicate terms and conditions if need be, and don't stop when you hear "yeah I get it". In a new relationship too many things can be assumed and even misunderstood.
  2. Make sure that each aspect of reward is discussed in detail. For example outline when salaries are reviewed and how, the process for determining bonus awards and how those stock options compare in value to say the candidate's prior RSUs. 
  3. Explore fully what the candidate left on the table with her prior employer e.g. part year bonus, unvested long term incentives and pension. Explain what your organization can and cannot do to underwrite those losses and how the value calculations compare.
  4. Don't forget benefits. Discuss any gaps in the most important ones; disability, life insurance and emergency out of country coverage if you are an international operator.
  5. While no one wants to talk termination at the time of hiring a short discussion on provisions that might apply in the event of a takeover are best had now rather than later. 
  6. Be very clear on what key objectives are expected of the senior manager and when these need to be delivered particularly if the incentive component hinges upon their successful achievement.

Identifying a disengaged senior team member takes time. Avoid the problem by adopting a full on communication process before the new recruit comes on board. It will be worth it - you need the top team to be fully engaged all of the time.

Happy Resourcing,

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