Using your board or network is a fantastic way to get qualified candidates when you are looking to fill a new, executive role. That said, it’s also easy to make some mistakes when you hire from within your network.
Risk #1: It’s easy to have someone say “Hey, I know this guy. He’s really talented and can do a great job.” However, there’s a fine line between hiring someone who’s abroad-based athlete and someone who’s a quarterback that’s got a proven specific track record and can step into the job immediately. A lot of start-up companies and technology companies are in fast-paced, competitive environments where they don’t have time to hire someone in a key role who’s going to need a long ramp up time.
Risk #2:It’s easy to forget to do proper due diligence on candidates in your network. This one often happens unconsciously and most executives don’t even realize it. Again, just because you know someone and like that person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do reference checks and try to vet out their background.
Risk #3: It’s easy to have people in mind without really conceptualizing all the details of the new role and without a formal evaluation process in place. Before you start the search process, write out a detailed job spec for the position. Then create a scoring grid to compare your candidates, both the ones within your network and those outside of it. A scoring grid is the key to comparing and evaluating each one of your candidates.
We often get hired by clients who already have people in their networks that they are considering, but they still want to conduct a thorough search with us to validate the entire candidate pool. What we usually find in these scenarios is that very few of those candidates in their network are right for the job.
Whether you decide to recruit someone within your network, which is a great tool, or with the help of an executive search firm, make sure you write out a detailed job spec and have your scoring system in place and have a reference check procedure in place. This will help you to compare your candidates and make the best hiring decisions.