CEO selections

A CEO is like a captain of a team, who drives the organization and takes it to the next level. Therefore, in order to be effectively managed, it calls for an exhaustive scrutiny in the selection of a CEO. The promoters of the company may make certain demands about the preferred candidate like their past achievements, how they manage to meet the expectations, desired profile etc. Now-a-days a lot of cross industry experience is also being considered for the top job. A candidate with a cross industry experience brings with him /her exposure to a variety of problems, which in turn makes them more skilled to handle situations.

Experts recount that the top three of the world’s largest hotel companies have hired CEOs from outside the industry. But the ideal preference for the job still remains from the same industry. They add usually the ideal preference is from industry due to comfort, information, networking and expertise within the specific domain. At that strategic level, the CEO’s role towards growth of the organization depends on the expertise and knowledge infrastructure he / she can provide.

However, with the growth of the economy and movement of talent across various verticals, the industry is not as specific on domain matching anymore. Unless for a specific objective, most management teams are open to looking at candidates from different industry backgrounds. The focus of companies is shifting to product and brand management, therefore cross sector appointments appear to fit well with declared corporate strategy. Cross industry experience can also be considered but cross functional experience from the same industry should come from a strategic background i.e. the candidate must, in the past, have taken important decisions and initiatives.

To fill the post accurately, a lot of care is being taken and stress is laid on the integrity and soft skills of the candidate. The promoters of the company make certain demands with the HR for the right candidate, which is of prime importance to look out for in the candidate. Great stress is also laid on integrity and background checks.

Background checks, in the form of his / her reputation in their present as well as previous organization, consistency levels and the skills shown by the candidate, in terms of people management etc. Reference for background checks are also taken from his/her peers and from the people who know them in the industry.

Employer branding plays an important role for the client to get a buy-in from the candidate. The process, now, is more about selling the company to the candidates. One of the attractions is the brand’s value proposition to overcome the inertia of staying where they are and induce them to take on the risk of moving to a new organization. There have been very few instances of Indian companies branding themselves to prospective and current employees. For instance, Infosys did it with its middle class turning into millionaires.

It also becomes essential to sell a brand to an aspirant who would see his / her next move within certain parameters. The candidate also has to be convinced with the anticipated growth chart and the future of the business. It is very important to get in-sync with the right candidates by ensuring a connection with the right people at the client side to gather as much information as possible. Effective talent branding sets in motion increasing ‘brand equity’. Brand equity helps the organization to recruit and retain top talent while their competitors have to pay wage premiums to get good people.

Hiring for the top-job is case sensitive and confidential in nature. Care is always taken that these mandates are handled with complete discretion. This process takes time and requires a lot of patience from the clients as well as HR. Market mapping is a strategic tool where HR prepares the list of all the possible companies that fall in the same category as the company hiring a CEO to look out for the right candidate. The consultant looks for the potential areas for finding the right candidate. They follow the research and the talent identification part, where HR conducts research on the possible candidates to identify the ‘right’ talent for the job. After that, both clients as well as consultants do extensive referencing. The candidates are asked to provide references from the industry that would authenticate his / her professional capabilities.

Then, the client themselves, on the basis of their strong networks in the industry would try to find out more about the candidate. The consultants even, share any information available to them about the prospective candidate. Lots of references are important especially in case of hiring senior level candidates. Speaking to different people belonging to the same the industry can lead the consultant to the right fit. There would be different kinds of comments and feedback coming from different people about the candidate.

But, the dearth of good CEOs, are the industries facing problems in hiring the right person? This is a matter of perspective. The dearth would apply fro clients where stringency of candidate requirement is very high across all parameters. Realistically, most organizations do not have very stringent parameters across all aspects. They will clearly demarcate the most essential parameters to be met, and are flexible to consideration on the rest. Making the right decision is like tolling in the sun. It calls for extensive research, patience and confidentiality.