Last week Theresa May faced any leader’s nightmare. At a crucial moment, when backing from her team was pivotal, her cabinet fell apart. Boris Johnson was the second cabinet minister to walk out over May’s Brexit plans, claiming that, “Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.”
Boris Johnson’s resignation should be a lesson to any hiring manager. When the people you employ aren’t fully aligned with the company’s strategies and objectives, they aren’t going to be the support you need to successfully execute those plans.
Fundamentally, when you make a hire, you are looking to see if a candidate meets three key criteria;
- Can they do the job?
- Are they motivated to do the job?
- Do they complement and add value to the culture and strategy of the team and organisation?
While they may tick the first two boxes on paper, if the candidate doesn’t agree with the company strategy, this will significantly impact their ability to meet the above conditions in the long-term.
So how do you ensure that potential recruits will back corporate strategies?
Many candidates may say the right things at interview, but when it comes down to it, what can you do to be sure that they are the right fit for your strategies?
1. Be clear on what your strategy is
This is something that the government haven’t excelled at. Before candidates are even approached, it is crucial that what they are expected to achieve is clearly laid out and that everyone involved in the hiring process is aligned.
If the company’s main priority is to reduce operating costs, then it is unlikely that someone whose primary focus has been on improving revenue and service levels will be suitable. Or on a major project, if the company approach is focused on building a collaborative supply chain and long-term relationships; someone with a more traditional approach to client/contractor relationships may not be the best fit.
The organisation’s strategic approach should be highlighted in the job description, discussed with candidates when first approached, and extensively covered at interview.
2. Source from like-minded companies
In football, my team Liverpool have frequently signed Southampton players. The culture and playing style have traditionally been a good fit, and Liverpool sticks with what has worked in the past (much to the annoyance of Southampton).
That’s not to say that you should pick one company that’s produced one exceptional hire for you and then poach all of their employees, but you should target companies with similar values and approaches to your own. Look at past hires and see what has worked and what routes haven’t been a success.
3. Assess their priorities
A great way to assess what a candidate is most comfortable achieving is by getting them to prepare a presentation at final interview; discussing what they would prioritise in their first six months.
By limiting the time frame to just six months, you will get a good feel for what they consider to be the most pressing concerns and what is within their realm of understanding. Hopefully they align with the company strategies, but if they don’t then you know they probably aren’t the best fit.
4. Would you do things differently?
Ask them to run through a scenario and consider if their approach to the situation is aligned with your business.
For example if they have previously set up a procurement strategy for a major programme; what was their approach? Why did they choose that strategy? What were the key obstacles and how did they overcome them? Who were the key stakeholders and how were they managed? What would they do differently next time around?
Sometimes what you are looking for is a fresh approach to a situation, new ways to tackle problems. Sometimes, the perfect candidate is one who can back existing plans or follow the current procedures. Regardless, the answers to competency based questions should support the long-term vision of the company and if there is a divergence, then you most likely haven’t found the one.
Recruiting the best and brightest talent in the market is the dream, but it doesn’t mean anything if those employed won’t enable the organisation to achieve its strategic goals.
Recruiting for strategic fit isn’t as straightforward as recruiting for technical fit and can often benefit from an impartial perspective. If you are looking to make any additions to your senior teams click HERE to see how we could help.