15 Life-Saving Tips When Hiring for a Senior Position

15 Things to Consider When Hiring for a Senior Position

Finding that key person to fill a senior management position at your business can feel like an impossible task. You need a dynamic individual that can lead your team while also performing to your expectations. Identifying these individuals can be a challenge and cause some anxiety when the time comes to make that final hiring decision. That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“What’s one takeaway you’ve learned when hiring for a senior position at your company?”

Tips to Use When Hiring for a Senior Position

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

 1. Seek 100% Alignment

“The more senior the hire, the more important that they are 100% aligned to the mission (and the way you wish to do things). A lack of alignment can wreak havoc across a department or team if they see a fracture amongst the leadership.” ~ Jeff Epstein, Ambassador

2. Make Sure You Like Them

“You have to like the person. There has to be that spark of rapport. This is so important for senior positions because you’re just going to be interacting with your senior people more often.” ~ Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

3. Look for Open Minds and Constant Learning

“One thing that we learned is to make sure whoever is coming into your family as a senior member of the staff is ready to share and grow your company but is also willing to change and adapt. Too many times, senior hires aren’t big fans of adapting and learning new ways to do things, which can make team integration and long-term retainment difficult. Start with an open mind!” ~ Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

4. Consider Unconventional Hires

“It’s easy to hire someone with 10+ years of relevant experience to lead your customer service department. However, it can be even more rewarding to hire someone who has a less conventional background but has a firm approach to problem-solving, identifying operational failures and resolving difficult problems.” ~ Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

 5. Put Them in the Mix Early

“You need to keep in mind that having them spend time working with people in different departments with varying jobs early on is key. Have them initiate interactions with peers and those that will report to them. During onboarding, have them report to you daily with a list of questions they have for that day. If they don’t have questions, that is a red flag.” ~ Ginger Jones, Jones Therapy Services

6. Remember It’s Not Always About the Money

“I’ve learned that senior positions at a startup are more about the challenge and desire to do something different. For me, that means I have to ensure I give them enough to do that will offer that, versus what title they get or how much money they want.” ~ John Rampton, Calendar 

7. Trust Your Gut

“Trust your gut on people. Chances are, you’re hiring a seasoned professional who has much more experience than you in that position. They will seem impressive and maybe intimidating. But your intuition about people and how your company culture works has been honed over many years. You know when something is off.” ~ Hongwei Liu, mappedin

8. Ensure Compatibility With Company Culture

“Oftentimes, it’s best to hire internally for a senior position because that person already has an understanding of the company culture and will be able to implement the needs of the company better than someone who has developed experience from another company and has executed processes differently. On the other hand, this might be what your company needs!” ~ Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC deguns.net

9. Run a Reference Check Early On

“Hiring managers often save reference checking for the end of the interview process, when they’ve already made up their mind, but it’s much more effective to reference check in the early-to-mid stage of the interview process so you can truly learn about a candidate and guide your interview questions accordingly.” ~ Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot

10. Value Ideas, Strategy and Execution

“All senior positions at a company are responsible for the results that occur both inside and outside of their division. A company’s senior employees determine the opportunities the company will pursue, align resources to execute its strategy and provide leadership to see that the work is getting done. As a result, you should focus on hiring senior-level employees.” ~ Alex Riley, MeritHall 

11. Consider Any Age

“These roles don’t have to be filled by older people necessarily. There can be younger, hungrier talent that can do a good job in these roles. Only focus on the skills, personality alignment and background, because looking at more traditional factors would have made me miss out on some awesome people who now have senior positions.” ~ Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

12. Listen to Their Questions

“An excellent executive should be interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing them. One of the finest executives I have hired spent plenty of time during our interview process asking questions about our company. They wanted to get a true sense of who we were and if the fit was right. This candidate’s questions revealed a lot about who they were and what they could bring.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

13. Make Sure They Can Adapt

“The more senior the hire, the less adaptable they may be. How they handle a situation may not be how you would handle a situation, and this can cause friction down the line. Make sure that in the interviews, you ask situational questions to make sure you’re both on the same page, and that they can adapt to your company’s processes.” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

14. Remember Experience Doesn’t Always Equal Success

“All positions should be viewed through the lens of the expectations for that role and what impact they will have on the organization. Senior positions should also be filled with potential mentors for both the team and the owner. It is important to set expectations and accountability to make sure that individual brings the right kind of experience to your company.” ~ Jarred King, Swagger Media

15. Hire a Recruiter

“Hiring a senior person is a big investment of resources so it makes sense to invest in the process using an expert recruiting firm with industry connections and know-how to guide the process. The recruiter will usually get better candidates and run an objective process to find the best fit. If the candidate doesn’t work out within one year, the firm will often do the search again at no cost.” ~ Eric Mathews, Start Co.

Photo via Shutterstock

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.