This post continues a series discussing the handling of some major organizational changes at my company.
We brought in four candidates to interview for the General Manager position. As noted before, the candidates fell into two groups of strengths: Consulting Delivery Focus and Consulting Sales Focus. Going into the interviews, my expectation was that delivery would be more important than selling. A big reason for this was that we had moved Kelly (one of our Consulting Directors) into a role focused exclusively on helping our sales team to sell consulting services. With her already in that role, hiring additional strength in selling services was less important than other skills.
As we spoke with the candidates, the interviewers were generally in agreement, even before having a debrief meeting. One candidate (who was “sales focused”) clearly interviewed far better on the phone than he did in person. He was quickly (and unanimously) eliminated from consideration. Of the two “delivery focused” candidates, one was clearly stronger than the other.
That left us with two strong candidates – one “sales focused” and one “delivery focused.” As we made the final decision, it became clear that a weighting between those two areas wouldn’t matter. Although both finalists were strong, one candidate, Jon, seemed better in most ways and (just as importantly) was nearly as strong at “selling services” as the one purported to be more focused in that area.
So, our final decision was relatively easy. We all agreed that Jon was our choice. I worked with our HR director to make an offer, which (happily for all of us) Jon accepted.
Next time, we’ll complete this series with the final transition of responsibilities from Jan, as she reaches retirement.
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
Don’t pre-judge what’s most important when interviewing candidates with diverse backgrounds. Allow the interview process to play itself out.