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The 10 Commandments in Executive Search: 5. have a meaningful process, 6. stick to it and 7. be transparent!

Today, there are three commandments at once and they all relate to the recruitment process for executives at companies. While the processes for entry-level positions are often established and well-tested, there is often uncertainty as to which and how many process steps make sense when recruiting executives: Is a short video call with the HR department followed by a personal interview with the management on site sufficient or should you schedule another get-to-know-you meeting with the team, further interviews with other managers or even with the supervisory board? Presentations of case studies, personality and intelligence tests and even trial working days are further ways of getting to know the candidate.
As is so often the case, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' when it comes to the selection and number of stations, but there is a 'meaningful' or 'less meaningful'.
As a rule of thumb, I recommend asking yourself the question: Does the hiring depend on the respective process step or can it fail because of it? Example: Does the team ultimately decide whether the person gets the job as their manager or does they have a veto? If this is the case, a meeting with the team must of course take place. However, often only a 'non-binding meeting' is suggested. But this has no place in the recruitment process and can also take place later. The same applies to a 'brief meeting with the CEO'.

A meaningful process therefore maps exactly those things that are important for the role and on which the recruitment depends - no more and no less. If many aspects have already been checked by an external consultant through interviews, the process can be shortened accordingly at the company and in most cases an interview can be skipped.
Once the process has been defined, it must be adhered to. Sounds obvious, but it is not. I experience time and again that additional interviews or process steps are 'pulled out of a hat'. This not only unsettles the candidates, but also shows uncertainty on the side of the company. This is usually due to the fact that it was not defined precisely enough at the beginning as to what should take place and why.
After all, transparency towards the candidates is important: if you explain exactly what the interview process looks like and why it contains the respective steps right from the start, everyone will get involved. The same applies to changes and delays. These can always happen, but if candidates are to understand and be kept in the process, they must be informed honestly, comprehensively and at an early stage.

About the author

Dr. Sebastian Tschentscher finds the best digital minds for your company with his executive search boutique "Digital Minds".

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