Jeff Gillett is Executive Vice President of The Elliot Group, a retained executive search firm with expertise in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, and consumer service sectors. For more than 35 years, The Elliot Group has been globally recognized for its thought leadership and human capital knowledge. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of Nation’s Restaurant News.
In our executive search practice, a deep candidate assessment is paramount to a successful placement, a process we take very seriously. It is at the forefront of our practice and is expected by our valued clients. But you don’t have to be an executive search consultant to benefit from quality assessment skills — every leader in any business or industry will see value in implementing quality talent assessment practices.
The true measure of an executive’s potential impact can be revealed by objectively assessing their work history with clear examples. Do they have a winning scorecard? Have they built successful teams? Can they prove they have measurably improved a business?
In addition to these critical factors, don’t underestimate the importance of personality, drive, and how they view a business.
On the Elliot team we say to ourselves, “This person can do the job, but will they thrive as a formative leader with this company?” Here, we are looking for forward-thinking, people inspiring champions with the willingness to learn and capability for greatness.
In addition to possessing the key competencies, there must be a cultural fit, and this takes some time to understand. Our team gauges the work style, attitude, and overall feel of a workplace, and determines if there is a match. Spend time with the candidate in your business and evaluate the interaction with team members, what do they see and verbalize to you, and do they exhibit outward excitement and curiosity. This is not easy, but it’s vital to making the best decision for the team.
The Elliot Group encourages clients to think in terms of the best overall candidate instead of solely paper qualifications. We’re not dealing with widgets, but with people who come with their own talents, idiosyncrasies and ideas. You have heard talk about the value of an outside hire before: new blood, fresh ideas and hopefully driving financial performance as a result. When the wish for a “perfect fit” is put aside, leaders broaden their horizons, and can find truly qualified yet unique talent they never could have imagined — and now cannot do without.
Thorough candidate assessments will allow companies to hire smarter. This is true with adding talent at all levels in any business. Again, identify those key competencies for success in the role and probe to evaluate history and relating behaviors. If you determine the candidate has proven, positive history of success, it will be an induction they will succeed which will allow you to make an informed hiring decision. The impact of a wrong hire can no doubt cause unproductive disruption across the daily business to employee morale, negatively impact financial performance, and even affect a harmful shift in strategy. Take the necessary time to build assessment skills by implementing an internal system that reflects your organization’s strategies and goals. The payoff for your business? A happier, healthier, high performing team that’s ready to soar.