Questions to Ask Before Starting a CPG Executive Search

Posted by The Garner Group on Jun 15 2016


While working with a CPG recruiter you are bound to cover a lot of contract questions. Maybe you ask them what their deliverables, how long the search project will take and if there any guarantees. These are all important and good questions, but what about the position itself? Are you both clear about what you are looking for in your CPG executive search?

In order to hire the right person and conduct the ideal search, you and your CPG recruiter need to be on the same page about the open position(s). Having a clear outline of the position and the skills required will be essential to avoid hiring a disappointing candidate. Knowing exactly what you are searching for as far as skills, experience, and personality will impact how effective the search is and save resources in the long run. IRecruiters and companies who don’t understand each other can make costly mistakes. Here are three types of questions you can discuss to uncover the specific needs of a job before you begin the search process that will help set you up for success.

Question One: What are the basics?

It may seem redundant, but going over the very basics of a position in a clear and concrete way is vital to set the foundation for more in-depth questions about the job later. Leave no detail ambiguous or up in the air. 

Ask yourself:

  • what is the job title?
  • who does the hire report to? 
  • what are the advancement opportunities for this position?
  • Will this position be offered remotely or will there be traveling involved? If so, how much of the time?
  • What if the candidate has to relocate? Will your company help with costs if they are a desirable candidate?

It's likely your job ad will be posted on many different websites and maybe even in print, so be sure your recruiter has the basics down to a T for the job ad creation.  Make sure the recruiter also knows the exact location of the open position, how long it has been open, and why you had difficulties filling that role internally. It’s helpful to outline why the previous person left that position in order to avoid hiring an individual who may leave for similar reasons.

Reviewing the basics is a step in the right direct to ensure there is no miscommunication between you and the party doing your CPG executive hiring. Although it may seem like common sense, do not neglect the simple questions in your quest to hire the perfect candidate. 

Question Two: What interview methods are we using?

Once you have established some parameters in your CPG executive search, it is a smart idea to ask the recruiter what type of interview and hiring methods they will be using and how they complement your job opening. Different search and interview methods will yield different results.

Consider what job sites (LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, etc.) this ideal persona spends the most time on and be sure to post where they will be looking. Ask yourself what kind of personality this role requires. Would that person respond best to in-person, telephone, video-conferencing, or blind interviewing? Should you implement a personality or skills assessment if candidates have fallen short on necessary competences in the past? To be sure about a candidate, will you ask for references? If so, how many and what questions will you prepare for them?

Establishing an interview methodology before potential employees are even contacted will help you discover what is important in a position and what facts you need to determine with an interview. The methods you choose should correlate with the skills, personality, and experience you are looking for in your next CPG executive.

Question Three: What are the essential skills for this position?

After reviewing the basics and deciding the interview methods that will yield the results you desire, you have likely uncovered some new information about the position. Using this newfound information, dig deeper into the role to analyze your wants vs. your needs for the open position. The perfect candidate in your mind may be much grander than what you actually need to get the job done well. Having characteristics that are nearly impossible to find will distract you and your hiring recruiter from finding a realistic new hire in a very shallow talent pool.

Ask yourself what the long and short-term objectives for this position are and try to name at least three for each. Make sure you can answer what a day in the life of this job looks like and what the base salary you are will offer is. Try to rank the skills this position requires in order of importance. There’s a chance the list might be long, but if your recruiter brings in someone who meets the top five "must-haves" then you can feel confident the essential needs are met. What skills can be easily taught with daily on-the-job experience versus the crucial skills they need to have on day one? Knowing which skills are deal-breakers and which are just “nice to have” will help you make strong judgments during the interview process.

Before you jump into your first interview for a CPG executive, take the time to analyze the open position. Chances are there is more work to be done to establish exactly what you are looking for and what that position needs. If you are working with a recruiter going over these questions will help ensure you are on the same page. This communication is vital to avoid mishaps in hiring and costly wrong turns.

Topics: recruiters, CPG, executive

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