As executive recruiters, we see companies in various stages of growth and transition. Sometimes companies hire ahead of the curve but more often than not, clients are trying to fill a major gap that has emerged due to scaling a company. Usually, the desire is to fill that gap yesterday.
Finding the right executive can take time and many companies wish they knew how to shorten the process. My recommendation is that much time can be wasted when the right skill set for the job isn't identified early in the process. As a search launches, this is the time to seek input from advisers, board members and recruiters who are well versed in the variety of experience sets available in the market.
I love that in this article by Jayson Dubin, CEO of Playwire highlights how his team was designed specifically to fill exact roles. He's talking about the value a COO brings but identifying a core skill sets can be applied to the need for any function on an executive leadership team.
As example, if you're in need of a B2B software VP, Marketing, think about what kind of expertise are you looking for. Who is the product sold to; IT, Line of Business, or someone specific? Is there company size or stage they should have excelled at in the past? What companies in your segment did well at that period of growth recently? What industry segment that you want them to know well? Do they specialize in marcoms and content or do they come from a more analytical, demand generation skill set? These are pretty typical criteria and perhaps you're already thinking along these lines.
There are more ways you can focus in on a subset of candidates to create a higher match ratio- its important to work with your recruiter and others to identify unique aspects of the role. Spending a few extra hours on this process and making sure your search team and hiring committee is aligned up front can save you months on the back end.
The reason we grew so quickly was because my cofounder, Steven Berger, and myself had purposely and thoughtfully hand-selected our team for their specialized skill sets. Everyone had a role to fill, and I know myself well enough to know that my specialty does not lie in operations. In order for us to continue growing, I had to spend more time meeting with clients and participating in the sales process.