TYLER, Texas — When selecting an interim executive, there is always the risk of making a bad choice.
Too often the decision is based on the resume and the advice, slanted or not, from the interim company executive touting the candidate list. Frequently these decisions are made at a time of crisis and with a sense of urgency, and the organization is already looking forward to starting the permanent search. It is as if they are thinking, oh well, how much damage can the interim do?
Barry Dykes, FACHE, Managing Principal of Westwind Advisors in Conway South Carolina, and a former hospital CEO, says that selecting an interim candidate, whether for human resources, nursing or finance, is critically important. Once you have made the decision that you must bring in an interim to help the organization transition or expand, there is usually a sense of urgency that precludes the same thoroughness of an executive search. “This is a critical time and making the wrong choice for the interim role can be a huge, costly setback.”
“Selecting executives to lead a turnaround is one of the most critical decisions a governing board can make,” says Ian E. McFadden, FACHE, President of HRM Solutions, LLC of Valpraiso, Indiana and a veteran of six successful turnarounds. “The wrong choice can lead to closure of the hospital. There are vacant lots where hospitals use to be for that very reason.”
What if you could review the resume, the interim’s skills/experience assessment by the recruiting company and references, as well as watch a short video of the candidate answering key questions? Would that help you make the right decision?
Our research shows that clients tend to make the right choice when they see videos of the candidates before either inviting them to interview, or, in a time sensitive rush situation, making a choice and offering a contract. This has to be better than sight unseen.
In times of urgency, you do not always have the time to bring two or three candidates in for an interview. But here is the problem, interim firms, like executive search organizations, are not keen on innovation. Why bother when what you are doing works just fine, revenue-wise, they argue. So, you are forced into a decision structure that is fraught with risks.
The interim recruitment business and its high society cousin, retained search, rely on the same business model that they have used for the last 40+ years. It is working, some say, so why would you want to change — don’t fix it if it is not broken.
That has the ring of an excuse, not a rationale. Only the brave search consultants will reluctantly admit that this is the way it has always been done, but the industry practice of the majority of firms suggests that is how they feel. They are content to keep doing what they have been doing for years. If the clients aren’t clamoring for something better, we must be pretty smart, right?
First, just because a client isn’t asking for better service doesn’t make you smart.
Secondly, conventional wisdom and conventional recruiting practices have something in common: they are not always right.
Third, finding, screening and presenting interim candidates in the conventional manner does not necessarily serve the best interest of the client. So why be content to do something because this is the way it has always been done?
I could not agree more. And we have a plan, the flexibility — and the technology — to change the game. For more information, contact me. If you are an interim candidate, and would like to be included in this innovative initiative, send me your resume.
I believe the JohnGSelf + Partners approach will better serve the needs of our clients for less cost than what some of the national firms charge.
The this is the way it has always been done approach needs to change.
© 2020 John Gregory Self