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"Sorry, Wrong Executive"
-Jenny C. McCune
Winter 2000

A recently published article in the October 1999 issue of Management Review entitled "Sorry, Wrong Executive" describes the consequences of hiring the wrong external candidate for a high-level executive position. The article, written by Jenny C. McCune, presents evidence of recently increasing disconnects "between the recruitment goals of companies and the senior executives they eventually hire."

According to the article -

"Forty percent of people who are promoted or recruited into high-level jobs fail within 18 months." (Manchester Inc.)

"The washout rate for senior executives hired from the outside is higher due to a lack of familiarity with cultural mores and the way things get done." (Ray Harrison, Manchester Inc.)

"The average one-year estimated replacement cost was $750,000, which included finding a replacement, training and developing the person, and getting the new hire up to speed" excluding costly severance packages. (Survey of 100 managers and executives regarding replacement costs by Development Dimensions International.)

Mismatches frequently occur as a result of:

  • "The clash between the new hireís old culture and the culture of his new company." (Sharon Jordan Evans, Jordan Evans Group)
  • Politics! "What typically happens is that the person doesnít have the social network to really get into power." (John Slocum, management professor, Southern Methodist University in Dallas)
  • Large-company executives joining start-ups! "New companies desperately need experienced executives to succeed, but sometimes these large fish donít thrive in a small pond." (Seth Harris, Christian & Timbers)

The article encourages companies to consider a number of precautions to decrease the likelihood of a mismatch, such as:

  • Doing "a better job of analyzing the competencies required - the skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary for a person to successfully carry out a job - and then measure candidates accordingly."
  • Offering "competency testing to ensure that candidates can handle the new job."
  • Providing "mentoring or coaching arrangements to ensure the success of the new hires and nip cultural incompatibilities in the bud."

Finally "companies need to figure out what they really need in a high-ranking executive and then spend time determining whether a candidate has the right stuff."

The Professionals at Vernon Roche Hodgson!

Effective selection depends on the ability to maximize the "fit" between a candidateís competencies and the strategic needs of the business.

Vernon Roche Hodgson (VRH), specialists in employee assessment, executive selection, and professional coaching, identifies the abilities that influence how an individual will behave and fit within a new organization. Using a combination of tests, interviews, and screenings, VRH provides additional insights on the match between an individualís skills and experiences, and the requirements of the position. Considering the long-term return-on-investment generated by hiring the right individual versus the cost and headaches associated with a poor hiring decision - isnít it worth having the most complete selection information?

VRH offers over 60 years of management and human resource consulting experience so that individuals are better equipped to manage their businesses and their careers.

"Let us put our 60 years of experience to work for you and your company." (Dr. Jonathan Dehlinger, President of Vernon Roche Hodgson, management consultant and business psychologist firm headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Source: Management Review, October 1999, "Sorry, Wrong Executive"  By Jenny C. McCune.


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VRH Insights 
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Commemorating 20 Years of Service 

"Sorry, wrong executive." 
"Leaders aren't born" 
"Fit is It" 


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