Four Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring High-Caliber Execs

Word count: 293; approximate time to read: just over 2 minutes

1) Low Volume. Even among “qualified” candidates, Pareto and the 80/20 rule dictate that there is always a bell-shaped curve of quality. The curve cannot to come into clear focus when you interact with a small number of prospects. Solution? To find and hire the “best available” candidate and not risk settling for “good enough,” initiate contact with a 100+ prospects. (And depending on the role, it may take 500+.)

2) The Halo Effect. It is easy to subconsciously hire the best interviewer and the person you like best…rather than the executive who will be the best performer in the role. Solution? Recognize the inclination; play devil’s advocate with your own leaning; use the same evaluation standard for each candidate; and force yourself to be objective by sighting specific examples to support your assertions.

3) Selling vs listening. In your desire to fill the opening quickly, you can inadvertently come across as someone that cares more about filling an immediate need for the company than the long-term career fit for the executive. Solution? Listen carefully for their priorities and drivers; take time to connect the dots for how those can be fulfilled at your company; and give ample time for them to ask questions.

4) Loss of control. Hiring right is not rocket science, but there are a lot of moving parts, and places where the process can be derailed. Solution? Proactively manage the steps by providing guidelines to the interview team; pace the process to maintain momentum and a high level of enthusiasm (and over-communicate with candidates when this is not possible); and because a candidate’s references often double as mentors that will influence whether or not the candidate accepts your offer, make sure to subtly “sell” their references on the opportunity.


About the author

Scott Kaufman is the founder of Convergence Recruiting, a firm that helps organizations hire and retain peak performers. 

He has successfully placed executives in large and small companies, non-profits, most industries, and for all functional areas of leadership (including general management, operations, finance, HR, IT, marketing, and sales).

Typical clients have revenues of $15MM to $500MM with 50 to 1,000 team members.

More information is available at, or Scott can be reached at 678-879-7980. 

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