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Strategic hiring is a process, one that hiring managers and HR professionals either appreciate as the necessary step towards “doing it right” or would rather just avoid it all together.  For CEO’s, making a strategic hiring decision is a recognized means to an end.  For a large company, hiring a mid-level manager to high level executive can be a costly venture, but any good CEO realizes that it is a cost that must be incurred in order to find the right person.

What’s at stake in a strategic hiring decision?  Only things such as company culture, sales, customer service and trust!  These are the life blood of a functional, profitable and successful company, so any strategic hiring decision has to be taken in a methodical, well thought out process that properly vets the WHOLE candidate.

Unfortunately, these things are what makes a CEO lose sleep.  Was hiring that person the right decision?  How are they gelling with the culture and other employees?  Are they showing and putting into practice what we saw in the interview?  All executives worry about whether or not the company is moving forward and remaining successful and profitable. Every hiring decision makes an impact, but when it comes to a mid to higher level position where those strategic hiring decisions come more into play, there is a greater chance for disruption within the company if attention was not paid to every aspect of the individual. A CEO needs to be able to believe in the people within their organization, and trusts that the people brought in will carry the culture and the company forward without fail.

Here are some insights from CEO’s and other executives about what keeps CEO’s up at night when it comes to hiring.

“Every position is difficult to hire for, and that’s because you want to make sure the prospective hire is the right fit. Our company has developed a certain culture, so we need to make sure that our new hires are a good fit with that culture. New hires can’t disrupt what we’ve worked so hard to achieve, rather they need to seamlessly blend into it.”

– Rich Kahn, Founder & CEO, eZanga.com

“The most important and expensive decisions an entrepreneur makes are hiring decisions. There are many things to consider, but there is ultimately one key trait you must look for in every successful hire: coachability. How does this person react to feedback? Are they open, receptive, and responsive?

A nice or cooperative personality doesn’t mean someone is coachable. Coachability can be tested in an interview environment by asking candidates to prepare a short presentation before coming in. Have them present, give feedback, then have them give a second presentation then and there. This puts them on the spot, and gives you a real window into how well they respond to and incorporate feedback.”

– Elle Kaplan, Founder & CEO, LexION Capital Management, LLC

“The thing that keeps me up at night is whether I can trust my hires. Trust is paramount in any work relationship, so once it is broken, it’s virtually impossible to fix. As a result, lots of extra time goes into monitoring since you can no longer trust them. And because you cannot always fire the culprit on the spot, you have to think though how you’re going to work with the hire after your trust has been broken until such time as it is prudent to get rid of him or her.” 

– Ian Aronovich, Co-Founder & CEO, GovernmentAuctions.org

“The thing that keeps me up at night: making the wrong hire who is low on substance and high on posturing. We want to bring in people who *do* things and are motivated to make moves immediately. That’s why we’ve designed our hiring process to evaluate that”

– Preet Anand, CEO, BlueLight

“When hiring, CEOs are looking for leaders who have the ability to grow others. This approach ensures that the success of the business doesn’t simply rest on the shoulders of a few, and instead is carried forward by a diverse range of inspired and capable professionals.”

– Aram Arslanian, Vice President, Humphrey Group

“One of the biggest concerns is finding someone with enough experience but who isn’t completely set in his or her ways. As a startup, flexibility and comfort with pivoting are both important skills.

When trying to decide between two candidates, I always choose the one who I think would make the best cultural fit. I made the mistake of not doing this a couple of times early on, and choosing a candidate for other reasons (experience, education, etc.) was never the right decision.”

Brittany Hodak, Co-Founder, ZinePak

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