Stop Making Your Executive Hiring Decisions Over Beers

4 Jul 2018
By Abbi Vermey

Junior mining companies are perhaps the most needing of an executive search process.

Why? As a junior, you have big plans but little cash. You have lots to do but little (or no) employees to help. You need a new person urgently but you don’t have the time to find them. You have your network but you don’t know if there is someone better out there. You’ve spent a lot of time searching already, ‘interviewing’ (i.e. having a beer with) potential candidates. You feel like “you’ll just know” when you see them if they’re the right one, but you’re now up to coffee number five because you’re still not 100 percent sure. You also get the feeling that they might not be completely sold. You don’t want to disappoint the Board or shareholders by making the wrong decision. You know how important this role is but you’re not certain they will do a good job; whether they’re the right one.

Formally engaging an executive search firm to lead the right process covers all your bases and ensures you land the right one. This right process includes:

  1. Defining the right job. Mapping out the outcomes with extreme clarity – what results will this person need to achieve to be successful in the role?
  2. Searching the entire market (not just your network) for people who have achieved similar results in the past.
  3. Attracting the best people. A search firm will market the role in a way that attracts the right people - even high level execs that may not have normally been interested.
  4. Holding onto the best ones. This requires carefully crafting and nailing the pitch, and keeping candidates feeling confident, informed and appreciated at all times - reassured by the professionalism of the process.
  5. A fair process. The consistency and rigour of the assessment process ensures fairness for all candidates and avoids any bias or you making a decision you might later regret.
  6. All risk managed. Any ‘hidden’ behavioural risk is managed – through psychometric profiling, interviews, thorough reference checking and due diligence procedures.
  7. Setting you up for success. You get tailored advice on the best way to optimise your new starter’s performance and pre-empt any potential leadership derailers.
  8. You know you’re getting the best deal on salary and negotiations (via access to Acacia & BDOs The International Miner 2017 – Remuneration Report).

What does this - engaging a search firm to lead process - mean for you?

In short, it means you find - and land - the best one; the right one for the job. And when you find the right one, who is aligned with your strategy, on board, clear on what’s expected and ready to deliver the outcomes required of the right job, there is no room left for underperformance. When the right job is defined as what the business needs to succeed, the right person brings the business (and shareholders) that success. Plus, going through the right process also means your decision is completely justified and defensible to the board and shareholders. How do we know?

We recently placed an extremely talented, dynamic and driven Managing Director with an up and coming junior explorer – an MD that had three other offers on the table. He could have gone with any of the other roles… Why did he choose our client? In short, it was the confidence he felt in the process he went through as a candidate for the role. He had previously caught up with other potential employers for numerous ‘coffees’ (and / or beers) to talk about the projects in which they were keen to get him involved - but only one gave him confidence that they were serious, committed and crystal clear on the plans they had for the role. Our client had taken the time to sit down with us and map out what outcomes would need to be achieved within the right job – before talking to any candidates. The right person in this case would need to be able to promote their story, raise market awareness, establish a cornerstone investor, and execute on the strategy. Defining the job meant the successful candidate knew exactly what the company’s plans were for the project, and had insight into their strategy and how he fit in. This MD knew exactly what was expected of him from the get go - and ‘get to it’ he did. With a positive response from the market, and some wins already clocked on the board, the share price for this junior has already increased by more than 20 percent with the announcement of his appointment. While still early days, finding this junior the right person for this difficult job, has already resulted in significant wins for everyone involved.

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