The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?” is by Phil Friedman CEO of CGS.
In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, your business won’t succeed without the right leaders – no matter the industry. In fact, Gallup found that on average, companies fail to choose the right candidates 82% of the time. That means that only one of every five hires is a good fit. It’s not hard to understand how companies that beat this metric gain a significant competitive advantage. Over the past 32 years as owner and CEO of my own company, I’ve realized that playing a personal hand in finding the right people is critical to the company’s success.
The human resources department can do a lot to help, but it often takes a seasoned executive to spot the winners. In growing my business from five employees domestically to thousands globally, I’ve learned that to find the right people, you can’t just focus on degrees, comprehensive resumes, or a rolodex of references. Successful organizations require employees who bring qualities often not found on paper or easily captured in a phone conversation. Foremost, are they intelligent problem solvers? Are they authentic? Will they be trusted within the organization? In the end, do they have an earnest belief in what the company is trying to accomplish?
When hiring for leadership positions, the CEO and other members of the C-level team can never spend too much time getting to know the candidate outside of the office walls. Whether it’s at dinner, events or inviting the candidate to an employee retreat, it’s important to look beyond past accomplishments and truly understand what motivates the individual. Experiencing candidates’ personalities in a variety of scenarios shows how they treat others, how they perform when stressed, and even how they react to success.
Most CEOs have earned their spots because of their ability to derive quick insight from brief experiences with people. Their organizations benefit when they take a role in assessing potential leaders’ abilities and cultural fit. This process is important to both the business and a candidates. Ultimately, averting a bad hire can save the company a tremendous amount of resources – both in money and time.
CEOs’ responsibilities stretch across a tremendous range of subject matter domains – whether strategizing with sales, creating new partnerships, or leading acquisition conversations. But one function that the CEO cannot underserve is the human resources function. Your people drive the success and ethic that surrounds your company. And while checking in on hiring may seem like another task to fit into a CEO’s schedule, it should be as much a part of business discipline as those surrounding sales or finance – because without talented, dedicated people, you won’t have a successful business.
Read all responses to the Leadership Insider question: “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?”
What This CEO Learned From a $40 Million Mistake by Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit.
The Most Valuable Lesson You Learn As An Entrepreneur by Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV.
Why It Pays To Be Nice at Work by Erin “Mack” McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG.
The key to a successful career change: start a blog by Peter Thomson, marketing director of SeedInvest.
The secret to dealing with difficult coworkers by Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision.
The best way to plan for a successful career? Forget the plan by Stephen Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.