different from firm to firm. A global strategy firm may
value a candidate who is highly intellectual and has a
fierce sense of self (allowing them to go toe to toe with
successful CEOs), while someone who is more relation-ship-focused and driven by process and communication
may be a better fit for a performance improvement firm.
While culture is personal to each firm, the bottom line
is that culture fit should be 51% of the hiring decision.
3. BUYING A ROLODEX
When a consulting firm is recruiting a partner from
another firm, there is often an assumption that that
this person will be dragging along a roster of existing clients. This will in turn, open doors for your
firm to sell new or different services to these loyal
clients. Right? Not likely. It simply doesn’t happen
that way most of the time.
Of course, you may have decided from the onset that
it’s worth waiting out the legalities associated with any
non-compete agreements. But that’s only one piece of
the puzzle. Non-competes aside, I can’t tell you how often firms make the mistake of assuming that clients are
transferrable from one practice or firm to another. More
often however, the hiring firm ultimately discovers that
their services may not be in perfect alignment.
Rather than banking on an existing client roster that
may or may not pan out, hiring firms must focus on a
candidate’s track record of sales and his ability to build
and maintain relationships over time. In other words, the
best predictor of future performance is past performance!
4. BUYING INTO THE FALLACY OF INSTANT
Congratulations! You’ve gone through the arduous
process of identifying, recruiting, interviewing, offering, negotiating and finally signing the person who
meets (maybe even exceeds) every major qualifying
category to help take your firm to the next level – competency, experience, and cultural fit. Let the transformation begin! Wrong.
Unfortunately, while there are often well-defined
processes for onboarding entry or mid-level consult-
ants, this is often overlooked when it comes to ex-
ecutives. As a result, once a partner is hired, he/she
can become isolated. The fact is, although new-hire
integration may look very different for a partner or
principal, it is equally critical.
A partner, who may be initially hindered by a non-compete agreement, must make up for his/her inability
to be aggressive outside the firm by being aggressive
inside. In the first six months, this may include spending half of his/her time travelling to other offices to
meet other partners in the firm. This will immediately
position this person as a visible, approachable, team
player. In turn, he/she will build credibility within
the firm and become a go-to, trusted leader for his/her
niche in the organization. The best place to start building relationships is inside the firm.
5. FORGETTING A FUNDAMENTAL RULE: “YOU GET
WHAT YOU PAY FOR”
With the high rates that consulting firms charge, I’m
always amazed when a firm wants to low-ball the compensation package for their finalist candidate. To recruit a successful, passive candidate (i.e. one who is
not actively searching for a new position) is always
a financial stretch. In a great economy, your qualified
finalist is likely even more expensive.
When we examine the ROI for recruiting a partner
who can grow a function, sell and deliver impactful
work, build and maintain relationships with clients
and build eminence for the practice—all while mentoring practitioners—it should be seen as an easy investment. This is even more true when we compare
the ‘cost’ that often results when a less experienced
or reputable person is hired to fill a role that he/she
isn’t quite ready to handle.
Firms should be not be hung-up on signing bonuses or the high guarantee in performance bonuses.
Instead, they should focus on making sure that the
finalist has the proven competencies that are predictors to success, personality traits that complement the
firm’s culture and strong references to validate your
assessments. If you follow these steps, your new partners will pay for themselves very quickly.
Paul Maranville is co-founder and Managing Partner of Lantern
Partners, a national, retained executive leadership recruitment
firm. He leads the firm’s Professional Services practice, focusing on senior-level recruitment for Partners and other executives
within strategy, operations, and technology consultancies. Paul
can be reached at email@example.com.