October 25, 2014

Who’s the Boss: 9 Tips for Hiring C Level Talent

The process of filling entry-level positions is repetitive: screen applicants, sort through resumes, sit through interviews and select a lucky candidate to call your team their own. And though this new hire is vital to the company’s daily operations, it’s not the end of the world if it ends up being a bad fit — you simply part ways with the recently added employee, repost to the job boards once again and start the process from the beginning.

now hiring

But looking to fill a seat in your company’s C-suite isn’t your average hiring process. The next “chief” of any of your departments will be making decisions that shape the current company culture and the future of your business. The repercussions of a bad C-level hire will spill over into every level below and can even turn off loyal clients and potential customers.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, the following question to find out how they handle the high-level hiring process:

“What’s one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting to hire C-level talent?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. What’s in a Resume?

“Intelligence, cultural fit, and an ability to work with the team are the most important factors that you should consider when interviewing C-level talent. Don’t be dazzled by their accomplishments. A resume should be one of the last items that you look at.” ~ John Berkowitz, Yodle

2. Try Topgrading

“Take your time and work through the Topgrading hiring process. We use it for all hires, but have found it gave us a great framework for evaluating all of the dimensions of pivotal C-level candidates.” ~ Nick Tarascio, Ventura Air Services

3. Ease the Transition

“Integrating a C-level executive into an established corporate culture takes time and ongoing responsiveness. Create phases of transition for the executive to move into the role at a comfortable pace. Make yourself available to offer moral support and strategic guidance.” ~ Lisa Nicole Bell, Inspired Life Media Group

4. Remember, Success Is Subjective

“Before you launch into the hiring process for C-level talent, make sure you articulate the metrics of success for the position. These benchmarks will help inform the candidates that you screen and the questions that you ask in the interview process. Ultimately, knowing the key success metrics will help the executive as well; they can better evaluate the job fit and will be more likely to succeed.” ~ Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

5. Check Those References

“Remember that executives will set the tone for the company. Don’t underestimate the recommendations given by references and be sure to actually check references. These are people that have worked next to the C-level candidate and can often shed light on important personality traits like how they respond to stress or friction in the workplace. Ask the provided references for additional referrals.” ~ John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

6. Don’t Forget the Fun

“Hire people you like to be around more every time you meet with them. Startups require people to wear a lot of hats and interact with each other frequently. Don’t hire people who grate on your nerves, or you’ll feel like you can never get away from them.” ~ Brent Beshore, AdVentures

7. Involve Everyone

“The success of a C-level employee hinges on buy-in from the entire team. Will they be able to trust and work with this person? Have team leads involved in each step of the interview process. Debrief regularly with everyone to hear their input and gauge their feelings. This will accelerate your efforts finding someone who meshes well with the organization, and adds to the established culture.” ~ Justin Beck, PerBlue

8. Don’t Be Fooled by Experience Alone

“Be careful when hiring big wigs from large companies to sit in your chief seats. Individual success within those organizations is achieved by walking a different path than the one your startup is on. Look for someone with experience taking a company from where you are now to where you want to be, and then confirm that they share a belief and passion for your vision.” ~ Christopher Kelly, Sentry Centers

9. Where’s the Trust?

“Only hire a C-level executive to whom you are 100 percent committed, and in whom you have the ultimate faith. These people must have autonomy to positively impact your company, so you must avoid conflicts of trust.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches


Now Hiring Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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