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You Need a Leader- Now What?  How to Choose the Best Person for Your Organization

by Jim Citrin & Julie Hembrock Daum

Reviewed by Glenn Kaufman on Mar. 27, 2012 in Biz Lit

Most senior leaders that I have worked with believe that they are good at hiring.  They have their formula for interviewing candidates and a process that they are comfortable following to get from short list to offer.  Some are rigorous in using data from assessments and seek input from a wide range of stakeholders, while others rely on “gut” and may even subtly signal their disinterest in receiving challenging opinions or advice from others in the organization.  I’ve witnessed success and failure from both extremes, and many in between.  Does this mean that there really isn’t a way to improve the odds of successful hiring?

Citrin and Hembock Daum clearly lay out such an approach to hiring leaders based on a wining combination of research and wisdom gained from years at the top of the executive search field.  They have been intimately involved in some of the most high profile, high-stakes CEO appointments of our time.  We can learn a lot from them.

The book grants a lot of real estate to the issue of “fit”, and how to do the best front-end assessment of the company’s situation and the factors that will make or break leadership success.  They go on to outline a process for vetting candidates against these factors, and show us how to avoid making errors by using criteria that the research clearly show are useless (and potentially illegal) like age, the “need” for having had a similar job in their past, and the role of industry experience.  They also raise interesting points with their data on insider vs. external hiring, and the best company situations for each.

If you are a CEO or other leader, read this book to tweak your hiring practices and make better decisions.  If you are an H.R. professional in Talent or Recruiting, read this book to have better conversations with your CEO and speak with more conviction about the process that is in place in your company.  In either case, the book will help you to challenge existing assumptions and processes to get better selection results.


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