“I need somebody in here yesterday.”
Like all search firms, we want to complete searches as quickly as possible with the best candidates for the job. We typically target 90 days from the day we kick off the search to when the selected executive accepts the offer. The stars have to align pretty well in order for a disciplined search to be significantly shorter than that.
The most critical phase of any search is the preparation, and within that, defining the role is paramount. As they say, “You can’t hit the target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for.”
We recently completed a successful search for a Southern California cosmetics company. With more than $500m in annual revenues, worldwide operations, and overseas ownership, our client is much more complicated than expected. The new COO was intent on strengthening his team, and knew he needed a highly capable Vice President of Finance to lead all financial aspects of the company so that he could focus on other critical issues. It took us 48 days to finish that search.
How did we complete the search so fast? We’d love to take all the credit, but the reality is that our client, the COO, knew exactly what he was looking for and was able to clearly convey his vision to us, which enabled us to find the right candidates quickly.
According to Geoff Smart and Randy Street, authors of the book “Who,” knowing what to look for in a new executive hire requires answering three questions:
1. What is the Mission of the position? The mission describes the essence of the job, the core purpose in clear language. For our client, the VP Finance’s mission is to lead all finance and accounting operations for the Company, focusing on improving its financial performance and efficiencies in order to maximize the growth and profitability of the Company.
2. What are the Outcomes this position will achieve? Describe what this person will accomplish in measurable terms. In this case, the VP Finance needed to accomplish the following in her first 12 months:
a. Establish appropriate systems and processes which will provide timely and accurate financial reporting.
b. Build a superior forecasting/budgeting/planning system with a repeatable process.
c. Evaluate and strengthen the corporate finance and accounting team.
3. What Competencies will the executive need to achieve the Mission and Outcomes? This defines the experience and skills that candidates must have. Until you know the Mission and Outcomes, you cannot really know what Competencies are required in the role.
We commonly see clients jump right to the Competencies without really articulating or even considering the Mission and Outcomes. It’s understandable – that’s how we tend to think about positions. But it can result in a vague picture of what the perfect candidate looks like.
Do you have a gap on your leadership team? Before jumping into the recruiting race to get the right talent, take some time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for – it will make success that much easier to achieve. And we highly recommend you pick up the book Who!
Martin “Marty” McMahon
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- Three Steps to Building a Better Top Team – Step #1 in this McKinsey Quarterly article? Get the right people on the team…
BBA Aviation is a British multinational aviation services company headquartered in London. Over 75% of their operations are in the United States, including the $1B Aftermarket Services Division, which is headquartered in Dallas, TX and has major operations in Los Angeles, CA.
The Aftermarket Services division (AMS) repairs and overhauls gas turbine engines and provides services and support for legacy aerospace components, sub-systems and systems. Basically, AMS keeps planes in the air!
We’ve worked with BBA for over six years, helping the AMS CEO build her team in operations, finance, and sales. Just as AMS provides “legacy support” to their customers throughout the world, FlemingMartin has enjoyed becoming a “legacy” search partner as the AMS division has continued to expand, growing from a $100M single-site entity to a $1B+ global business.
New Additions to the Team
Marty and Fleming are very happy to announce that the firm is growing, and we have brought on two fantastic new members to the FlemingMartin team, Camille Block and Jonah Klein, both as Recruiting Associates.
Camille, based in our Los Angeles office, has a strong background in recruiting and sales and has worked for Deloitte, Kaiser Permanente and Southern California Gas Company. Camille obtained her B.A. with honors from Pepperdine University.
Jonah is based in our San Francisco Bay Area office and began his career in education as an English and History teacher. Jonah earned his B.A. from Northwestern University and his M.A. from the University of California-Davis.
Recently Completed Searches
ActiveVideo (Charter Communications)
- Director of Product Management-CloudTV
- CFO – Aftermarket Services
- Business Unit Leader – Ontic (2 placements)
- Global Sales Leader – Ontic
- Board Advisor (2 placements)
- Vice President of Information Technology
Private Software Company
- Vice President of Finance
Public Consumer Technology Company
- VP Business Planning & Analysis
- Head of Global Talent Acquisitions
Public Biotechnology Company
- Director of Talent Aquisition
Public Manufacturing Company
- Vice President of Information Technology