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Fact-Based Process for Evaluating C-Suite Candidates

The Challenge

The head of Talent at an Am Law 100 firm was tasked with a search for a new C-Suite leader for one of its key business services functions. The firm’s leadership wanted the selection process to be inclusive and responsive to the needs of more than 45 partners who would be involved. There was concern that seeking the views of this many stakeholders would give disproportionate weight to the opinions of a vocal or persistent minority, potentially resulting in the selection of a candidate who did not fit with the firm’s culture.

Calibrate’s Solution

Calibrate worked with the Firm to create an inclusive, rigorous selection process designed to eliminate bias and drive agreement.  Elements of the process included the following:

  • Strategic Decision Criteria: Well before starting the search process, Calibrate worked with the firm’s top leadership team to envision the outcomes they wanted the new leader to accomplish.
  • Broad Engagement: A survey of all attorneys gathered insight into their needs and requirements for the new role and its direct reports.
  • Role Design: The new position was scoped as a leadership role, not a managerial one.  Expectations for the role were defined in terms of business outcomes, not processes.
  • Stakeholder Selection: A well-rounded group of stakeholders was selected from various staff levels and interest groups across the firm, including practice group leaders, other business services Chiefs, and  partners/attorneys who would be the new leader’s internal clients.
  • Phased Interviews: Three rounds of interviews were scheduled, each with a different purpose and focus.
  • Interviewer Guidance: For each round a full information package was provided to the interviewers, including candidate resumes and our initial evaluation of their fit against the position’s requirements. We provided a suggested menu of interview questions to help the interviewers extract the most relevant information, and the interviewers were asked to stay on script.
  • Candidate Scorecards: All interviewers were asked to complete a structured candidate scorecard following each interview.  The scorecards were aggregated and analyzed, and a cumulative score was created for each candidate along with a sentiment analysis of the verbatim comments.

In the end, a very strong candidate was selected and accepted the position.  The leadership were confident that the selection process had integrity, that the right decision had been made, and that the decision-making criteria supported the strategic direction of the firm.

Let’s Connect

To learn more about how Calibrate can help you develop a candidate selection process that will support your firm’s strategic plan while eliminating bias and encouraging data-driven consensus, please reach out to Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Calibrate.