retain leaders
Step 3 of 3 steps to hire and retain leaders who fit your culture: Prove

You’ve clarified job requirements, assessed candidate capabilities, and now it’s time to put your findings to the test.

We’ve looked at the first two steps in hiring and retaining effective leaders: clarifying job requirements, and using assessments to uncover potential best-fit candidates. The third step is to look for proof that someone can meet the job requirements in the way you expect and need.


The best way to see if you have the right leader for a particular job is to test them! 

The goal is to evaluate and measure candidates’ level of experience and fit for the job and organization. Start with the performance scorecard you developed in Step 1. You’ll use those components to give candidates a scenario with an assignment.

Now is the time to be specific. Say you want an executive candidate to explain what they’ll do in their first 30, 60, or 90 days on the job, related to the performance scorecard. Outline your expectations for what they come back to you with. For example:

“Articulate what you’re going to do to change this environment to accomplish these goals. Show me a plan and walk me through it.”

This is not an easy assignment, and it’s not meant to be. Too often, organizations don’t ask people they expect to lead important areas of the business to prove they can do it. It means candidates put in some hard work up front, tied to the position’s duties and goals.

How well candidates perform in that assignment—that proving ground—will give you further evidence of their competency and fit for the job.


Set expectations up front.

Be aboveboard with candidates about what the process entails. Tell them they will be evaluated against the items in the performance scorecard, take an assessment, and complete an assignment. Be specific that the assignment is a presentation, a report, or whatever is important to you. Getting their buy-in to that process up front—or not—can save you and them time and frustration.

But wait, isn’t this costly?

Certainly, there’s a cost (time and dollars) to put multiple candidates through a hiring process that involves interviews, assessments, and assignments. But there’s also a significant cost involved in hiring the wrong leader.  Every company is different, but an often-quoted stat from the Department of Labor says the cost of a bad hire can be up to 30% of the individual’s annual salary.

It’s easy to see how it adds up. There’s time spent by HR, recruiters, and managers (posting, screening, interviewing, verifying, hiring, onboarding). The cost of advertising and background checks. Lost productivity while a job is vacant. And productivity drain all over again when a bad hire fails to perform as expected and morale suffers, too.

If you have never implemented this type of process before, you’ll likely have to justify the costs. Over time, you’ll need to prove the investment is worth it by tracking the retention and performance of leaders hired using this process (and their team’s retention and performance).


3 steps to hiring:

In our experience, if you follow the three steps we’ve outlined in this series, you will see a positive return on investment by ultimately hiring leaders who are the right fit for your needs.

1: Clarify – Create your performance scorecard and use it to develop questions to identify candidates’ level of experience.

2: Assess – Choose an assessment (keep in mind there are free tools on the market) to help you better identify the type of individual that will fit your organization.

3: Prove – Put it to the test. This underutilized step in the hiring process can give you valuable proof to make the right hiring decision.


We regularly help organizations find compatible candidates who are ready to contribute to a successful, unified team. See how to put our Executive Search services to work for you.

How can we help your leaders and business excel?