Organizational Changes – Hiring a General Manager, Part 1

This post continues a series discussing the handling of some major organizational changes at my company.

After filling our new manager roles, we turned our attention to hiring a new General Manager of Consulting.  This position would include most of the responsibilities that Jan had carried out as VP of Professional Services prior to her retirement.

We knew that we wanted to find an external candidate for this role.  Our HR Director identified candidates through all the traditional recruiting channels – recruiters, employee referrals, LinkedIn, job posting sites, etc.  After resumé screening and phone interviews, we identified four candidates we wanted to bring in for interviews.

Interestingly, the candidates naturally grouped into two main categories (with two candidates fitting into each one):

  • Consulting Delivery Focus
    Two of our candidates had very strong track records for delivering Consulting services.  Each had been a VP of Consulting, managing large Consulting teams, delivering more revenue than our team currently delivers.  Both had grown up through consulting organizations, having started as consultants with strong technical skills in the core technologies that are essential for our team.
  • Consulting Sales Focus
    Two of our candidates had very strong track records for selling Consulting services, with career focus in Business Development.  Again, each had a strong track record, but focused primarily on “generating demand” for consulting, rather than “fulfilling demand” for services that had already been sold.

We arranged for each candidate to fly to Seattle for an interview.  Because of the critical importance of this position, we also arranged for key remote employees (especially Rene and Chris) to travel here to interview the candidates in person.

As we scheduled the interviews, it wasn’t clear (at least to me) which of the two divergent areas of strength would prove more important to us.  It would depend upon meeting the candidates themselves.

In the next post, I’ll describe the interviews with these candidates.

For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:

When filling key positions, it is valuable to consider candidates with differing (and contrasting) strengths.

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