5 steps to hiring your next CEO

Hiring a CEO doesn’t need to be a complex, long-winded or expensive process.

In fact, the longer and more drawn-out your interview process is, the higher the chance you’ll turn off the best leadership candidates. Afterall, C-suite candidates are the most time-stricken individuals you are ever likely to hire, they also come equipped with credentials deserving of a slick and painless onboarding.

Put faith in what your business has to offer and remember, CEO candidates come with a wealth of experience and knowledge, so be prepared to budge on the status quo and don’t even be afraid to let a prospective CEO take the reins throughout the recruitment process.

Here are our five critical steps for hiring your next CEO, and indeed, any leadership vacancy.

1. Where are you going and what’s stopping you

From the very outset of the CEO recruitment journey, you need to be very clear about what your goals are.

Ask yourself: Where do you want the business to be in three and five years?

Work closely with the board and shareholders, to ensure that all ambitions are aligned and to understand what the biggest challenges are that are stopping you from getting there.

It’s important to note, the new incumbent may not be the best person to help you understand these. So be sure to hold council with the ultimate business owners first and foremost.

2. What behaviours do you need?

Very commonly, senior hires are made based on an individuals past skills, experience, and results.

To make an educated decision about someone’s future capabilities, you need to identify and understand what behaviours you need in the role in order for someone to be successful in the future.

Be prepared to measure and test these for all of the candidates you are meeting, not just the final shortlist.

3. VM2

To attract the best CEO talent, you need to be able to sell the opportunity to a discerning audience.

Using the pneumonic VM2 will help you to sell the Vision for the business, the Mission that someone needs to undertake, the Values of the business and why they are important and finally the success Milestones that you need someone to hit.

Remember and rehearse the key attributes of VM2:

Vision – what do you want to achieve in the future?
Mission – what is the purpose?
Values – what do you stand for?
Milestones – what are the key measures taking you towards success?

4. An efficient interview process

Design an efficient interview process that is well thought out and creates an excellent impression on the candidates in the process.

Don’t cover the same ground in each interview, ensure the dynamics mean that you are selling the opportunity as much as quizzing the candidates.

Neither your team nor your candidates want to be in an elongated, repetitive or uninspiring process.

Looking for inspiring executive interview questions? Read: 7 Great Interview Questions to Ask Executives, and Why.

5. Onboard effectively

Once you’ve decided upon your ideal CEO candidate, now is your chance to make a fantastic impression.

– Ensure that your offer letter and contract go out promptly
– Follow up with a congratulation message and welcome to the team call
– Invite them in for prevalent meetings or social events to start the onboarding process early

Lastly, assign them a coach or mentor to help accelerate their performance during the 90-day dip.