Does Microsoft’s challenge sound familiar?
As a recruiter I don’t envy Bill Gates.
I’m talking professionally and not about his bank account of course!
But a few years back he commented about how many people he’s interviewed to replace Steve Ballmer.
And I think the challenges that he and Microsoft faced, although on a slightly bigger scale (!), are also the same challenges that most hiring managers face when recruiting today.
In a nutshell, the challenge Microsoft faced was whether they went for a CEO who’s orientated around product, finance or people?
No doubt every CEO who met Bill was more than capable as a CEO, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the best person for Microsoft at the time.
So what can us recruiters and hiring managers learn from this situation?
To me there are 3 things;
1) Step back; sometimes hiring managers jump into the process to hire a carbon copy of the previous candidate without considering the big picture. How has the role changed since it was last recruited for? What will change in the future that might have an impact on the role? Who are the key stakeholders now? Has the team changed and does the role need to be up scaled or reduced in nature?
By stepping back initially you can re-profile the role to suit today and tomorrow instead of recruiting someone for the past. And once you know the remit its then much easier to think about the traits.
2) Look for the traits; similar to CEO jobs marketing roles vary enormously, even between roles with the same title. Sometimes a Marketing Executive role can be about creativity, numbers, design, I.T, relationship building or all of them. So once you know the remit of the role you can tailor your recruitment process to identify the key traits needed to be successful in it.
3) Does it exist; Bill may be looking for something that doesn’t exist, unless he looks in the mirror (!), so sometimes you need to be flexible without compromising on calibre. Does the marketing role carry the right title, is it paying enough, can you send someone on a Marketo course instead, can you improve their relationship skills? By being flexible with the remit of the role or the traits of the person, you can still find someone who can add real value.
The marketing job market feels at its most buoyant for a long time, so making sure you consider carefully the type of person you want to recruit.
And being flexible if need be, will ensure your time is invested wisely.