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What you need to know before hiring C Suite executives as a scale-up

What you need to know before hiring C Suite executives as a scale-up

What you need to know before hiring C Suite executives as a scale-up

What you need to know before hiring C Suite executives as a scale-upBy Rafael S. Lajeunesse founder and CEO of ReachX

Finding talent is often a challenge for founders, especially during a period where talent is scarce. And it gets exacerbated when the goal is to hire top C-Suite Executives. The talent pool becomes smaller, and it is increasingly difficult to lure top executives away from larger companies in uncertain economic times, even with a high salary and a strong benefits package.

In addition, you have to make sure your candidate has the right fit and that they can confidently fulfill the goals you’ve set out for them and the company. Below are some considerations to ensure you get the right person the first time.

  1. Focus on Energy, Intelligence and Integrity

There are three key factors that make top level executives successful and lead the company to greatness, and they come down to:

  • Energy: Does this person have ambition and self-motivation required to succeed in the role?
  • Intelligence: Does this person have thorough experience of their industry, not just when it comes to challenges, but new developments and identifying opportunities?
  • Integrity: This is a defining factor among those who are an asset and those who are liability – do they have good principles? This characteristic helps your company survive in a crisis, the one that stops your company landing in hot water.
  1. Look for a mix of problem solving and operational experience

This is a much higher requirement for growth companies with a “Can Do ” attitude. Many talented executives grow accustomed to having an army of people to execute for them, but when joining a scale-up they need to be able to deal with issues that come their way, but also still have their ear to the ground to be successful in this role.

Hiring an C Suite Executive for a role like this can be tricky, as most are used to a more managerial role, where they lead teams rather than execute. Bearing this in mind, make it clear when you hire this person that the role requires someone who’s happy to get involved in the more practical aspect of the job rather than just advise. This also means they’ll be keen on pushing things over the line and getting projects completed.

  1. Get someone who is results oriented

As a scale-up, you generally have demanding investors who are very KPI or OKR oriented. They want to clearly see what milestones have been hit and what’s next. That’s typically the root of the “agreement” between companies, management and investors.

In this case, the person you’re hiring must always have the end goal in mind when it comes to the activity they’re owning. “How will activity x accelerate our growth and when does it need to be done by?” is a question they should be frequently asking themselves as well as ensuring deadlines are met.

As investors want to see a topline overview of how the company is achieving milestones and how quickly, having C Suite Executives who can all think this way will help you showcase progression much more easily.

  1. They must be aligned with your values

This is especially true for younger companies (it also depends on the CEO and founder mindset), it’s important that anyone you hire at a C Suite level shares your company values. It’s not to say that these can’t be refined over time, but it’s important when hiring people who will have such a big impact over your company because they’ll shape the direction of your company.

Values can also help attract talent, in addition to a high salary or benefits package. If someone truly believes in your mission, the work you’re doing and the way you do it, then value alignment can help you weed through who’s the best fit if you’re presented with several people who all have the right skillset.

  1. Share your purpose

We’re seeing that purpose has increasingly become a top motivator for employees when it comes to taking a new position. This purpose might be that your company helps the planet, helps communities or helps society in some way. This can go a long way in attracting the right talent because it’s a greater motivator than profit alone.

  1. Accept mistakes and experiment

Hiring is one of the most difficult activities for a Founder, so you have to accept you will make mistakes and have to let go of people when things don’t work out. The fine balance is how long do you give a situation to see it play out?  We generally sense that after 2 or 3 months you have a good enough sense of the people you are working with.  We also always recommend to our clients to start with a project for 2 or 3 months and really get a sense as to whether the candidate can be the right partner. From experience, it is a good approach for start ups rather than go through the full hiring process.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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