Senior Executive-Life Issues

Candidates also interviewing prospective companies

28 January 2013

Vauraporn Iamsupanimitr, Vice President of Human Capital Alliance talks about candidates interviewing prospective companies.

In the past decade at Human Capital Alliance, I’ve encountered a recurring theme when placing senior executives into large corporations. Invariably, almost every single candidate is also interviewing the company while he or she is questioned by senior company executives.

Equally surprising, companies that are successful in recruiting the candidates they want are usually are best prepared to answer the following six questions.  I hope that this information can help you in 2013.

1. Your company structure

Many senior executives want to know how your company is structured, so they can fully understand how they may use their knowledge, skills and experiences to add value to your operations. For instance, many candidates want to understand decision-making processes are really undertaken. The company’s real decision-making processes are always a critical question.

2.    Products or Services

Top executive candidates invariably are vitally interested in understanding your company’s products and services and more specifically your current growth and competitive strategies. They also want to know the company’s position vis-à-vis the competition so they contemplate how their skill sets can help your company achieve its overall mission and objectives.

3.    Potential performance

In my experience, candidates are more interested in the company’s potential performance than what has happened in the immediate past. They want to understand your current strategy and most importantly whether they can function effectively as part of your team that adds value. At the same time, most candidates tend to stay away from unstable companies with no viable turn-around strategies. Few successful senior executives are willing to jump into poor performing companies unless they believe that the current ownership has developed and will be able to execute new winning strategies.

4.    Who are your competitors

In today’s fast-moving globalized world, competitors you know and the one’s you don’t know can destroy companies and industries. Today more and more candidates want to ensure that owners and senior management have addressed these long-term sustainability issues.

5.   Your company’s core strengths

Although many great companies have been successful marketing their products and services for a long-time, many of them have not articulated their core strengths to potential incoming senior executives. A company’s structural competitive advantages and its culture are often critical elements that must be clearly articulated to executive candidates. These two elements are often the final selling points that convince top candidates to join new companies.

6.    Candidates future financial prospects

Although most senior executive candidates always say that compensation is not the most important element, my experience indicates that most searches climax with detailed compensation negotiations. Senior executives want to believe that their new company really wants them and is paying them commensurately.

I hope that these six key elements will help you and your company achieve great success and prosperity in 2013. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Have a great Chinese New Year.

Vauraporn may be reached at

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