Looking to fill a seat in your company’s C-suite isn’t your average hiring process. The next “chief” of any of your departments will be making decisions that shape the current company culture and the future of your business. The repercussions of a bad C-level hire will spill over into every level below and can even turn off loyal clients and potential customers.
Take the time to look for the right candidate, consider more than the resume, be clear in your job description about what you want and need. Here are a few tips for hiring c-level executives so you'll be happy with your new CFO or COO:
LOOK INTERNALLY FIRST: With someone who's going to be managing as much as a C-level executive, it's often best to source internally. Your final choice would already have a strong grasp of the company, its needs, and its culture, which is what you need from your hire. This person would also best be able to take the company in the direction that it needs to be in. Sourcing internally also boost morale, as it means that several people within your company will get a promotion.
FOCUS ON THE COMPANY'S VISION: If you do decide to search externally for your new executive, make sure to find someone who shares in the company’s vision. This is true for a startup as well as a larger enterprise, as the new hire won't be a good fit if he/she doesn't fully believe in what the business is trying to accomplish. This can include traits in the executive that fit with company culture and mission.
INVOLVE OTHERS IN THE FINAL DECISION: Since this new c-level executive will be the boss of a lot of people, and probably people who have been with the company a while, make sure that they play a role in deciding their new boss. If your company has a board of directors, make sure to involve them, too. By leaving the decision to just one person, it might not be a good one if the new hire can't earn the respect or trust of those under his management, or has trouble fitting his/her leadership style into the department or company.
PREPARE FOR THE TRANSITION: This is one of the best practices for hiring just about anybody, but it's especially important for c-level hires. If the person is new to the company, or even new to such a management role, you need to give the hire, and everyone else, some preparation and time to adjust. Make sure everyone understands that there will be a change, and make sure current employees give the new hire a chance to do their job and to lead the team.