What does it take to become a CEO in a Company?

Companies are becoming more demanding in the choice of their staff due to the increase in competitiveness in the market. This compels them to have high profile executives to face the rising challenge.

In that sense, selection processes must be as thorough as possible, especially when it comes to professionals of the highest level, as a CEO. But, how do you choose these professionals in order make a company thrive?

The responsibilities of a CEO involve decisions that can empower or lead a company to failure. Therefore, the qualities they must possess are essential for the success of the company. Even though the characteristics looked for in high-level executives depend on the sector and specific position, there are some general requirements that all CEOs must meet. Here are some of them:

  • Expertise: They need to be proven and tested leaders, which have a long and successful professional career with ample evidence that under their administration a company or an important division within the company was successfully managed. This high profile executive must have international experience, be proficient in a foreign language and be up-to-date in technological matters and, of course, in their own field.

  • Versatility: CEO candidate should have ample experience not only in marketing, finances and sales, but also in logistic operations and human resources, because people are an essential factor in the success of a company today.  The CEO also has to have a humble and accessible profile, attentive to the demands of the workers and, above all, of the customers.

  • Leadership: Potential CEOs must be great motivators. They must be leaders who can engage their teams with the mission, vision and goals of the company. This is a key competence: a vision for business and the ability to create new visions for the organization, to be strategic, have initiative to take on challenges, opportunities, and provide solutions to problems and situations, and be prepared for change and innovation.

  • Team-work. A CEO should be someone that is committed to work in teams in order to improve the company’s progress. Business does not just mean for them selfish gain. But there is an interest in making the business grow for the corporate benefit and that of the employees as well.  CEOs work with managers at a higher level but they are able to relate to workers as well.  Not only with their own teams CEOs should be able to work, but with other directors of the organization that may be in other locations, since companies with a global operation require team efforts to get better strategies and results.

  • Communication. A CEO must have the ability to interact with others, leading work teams, to influence, manage and control all the people who work in the organization, with the aim of achieving business results. Not only must the CEO be able to communicate but also to listen. The CEO must convey the mission and vision of the company effectively. if they fail to communicate the goals of the company in the right way, it would be harder for the organization to go where it needs to go.

  • Approach to results. In a globalized world as the one we are living in, a CEO must show excellent business results and should also be prepared to deal with any organizational change, strategy or personnel that may be present in the company. Some CEOs may face challenges in the achievement of results due to political, economic, social or market issues, but if the leader is focused on the result, the right strategies will be implemented to overcome any problem that comes their way.
  • Know-how.  Potential CEO candidates must know the company’s operation in all of its levels. In some cases, they might have to demonstrate how a process should be done. That ability to understand the overall operations of the company encourages employees to trust their management. Additionally, they must have excellent administrative, negotiation and decision-making skills. They have to be practical, oversee and guide and empower employees to excel.
in the office_hiring a ceo_jason hanold_human resources

Image courtesy of Grant Wickes at

Recently, in our blog an article about “how to improve the job interviews in your company” was posted.  If you want to read more about the topic visit this link 

To sum up, any candidate that wants to take on the challenge of being a CEO has to prepare. They have to develop the necessary skills that will enable them to assume this great responsibility when the opportunity arises. In order to do this, they must assume functional roles that enrich them with the experience, knowledge, visibility and exposure required. Also, they have to be very proactive in order to anticipate the right moment to take a step forward.


Top challenges CEOs will face in 2016

CEOs are in store for their share of challenges during 2016. With the world changing towards a more technologically advanced way of running a business and a shift in recruiting policies, CEOs have to keep up to continue to run their business smoothly.  So, their challenges increase more than we would expect.

Of the many challenges that they are facing, one of the ones that will not be determined until September is the presidential election. The outcome of the race for office, is sure to change up the policies and laws affecting businesses in all industries. Times will change from so many fronts that it is quite unpredictable to guess how the country will be affected, and in turn how this will impact the business you are in directly.

Although there will also be internal changes, that obviously affected by how things are changing in the outside world, are being reflected on the inside of your company. One of those changes is the benefits that employees get, including flexibility in their schedules. Today’s business world is about a lot more than just hiring the best talent out there. It is about retaining them and being competitive to be able to acquire that top talent. So, the perks and different benefits that you can add to the contract at the end will make the difference between an employee staying or leaving. Similarly, the flexibility in schedules is becoming a necessity with the amount of increasing mobile and transient workers in the offices, at all the different levels within a company. Young professionals are trying to reach a healthy work-life balance and to do so require certain flexibility. If they find a company doesn’t offer this, they will simply look elsewhere. At the same time, you’ll find that this young professional is also looking to develop opportunities within the company that can foster a flexible and engaging environment, where these future executives can develop and hone in on their skills. CEOs that realize that this is what the up and coming young professionals need, will easily be able to have a high quality roster on their team, and the possibility of scaling up or training for future roles and endeavors within the company. This will lead to yet another big change, and it’s that employees are hard to find, most top talent in companies are either already working or not interested in working for a company, because they rather be independent consultants. Qualified candidates are wearing thin, so understanding this and implementing different strategies to attract and retain top talent in your industry will be essential.

internet explorer_jason hanold_Ceo Executive search

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee at

The internet is one of the things that has changed and will continue to change how businesses are run, from reputation management to internal procedures like meetings or selection process. The internet has given all of theses procedures a facelift and is offering simpler more effective ways of doing things, but these changes have to come from the top, so it will be the CEO’s task to understand how these things are changing your business and how they can appropriately be included into your internal chain value. For example, meetings can now be run from remote locations via video call or conferencing tools like Skype or Google Hangouts. This will prove to be more effective, time saving and cost reducing to your overall process. On the other hand, it can also affect procedures like the selection process in so many ways like where to find candidates, or how to interview them or even how to profile them. Now, reputation management has become a hot topic topic lately, due to the increase of social media, immediate consumer response via public channels that leave an impression on anyone who runs into it on the internet. Reputation management is something you have to be aware of, by making a plan, preparing for the worst and being ready to repair in case harmful comments or videos threaten to tarnish your company name and brand. Knowing how to respond, having reputation management experts on your team or outsourced is key, to be on top of everything and this way be able to respond in time. The internet and social media specifically will also allow you to make a closer connection with your customers. By reaching out and inviting them to actively communicate with you through the different existing channels, you will find more loyal customers. CEOs must realize and filter through the (sometimes seemingly infinite) list of alternative channels to reach out, and choose the right ones for your product, service or brand. Finding the right one will be key to captivating your audience in the best possible way.

This fast-paced world will ultimately make us follow its pace or get left behind. Those CEOs that are fast to respond to the internal and external needs and changes will find that it will be a bit easier to thrive in the brave new world ahead.

How to find just the right fit for C-level Jobs

Not all companies are in need of hiring a C-Level position, and not all employees are cut out for C-level job openings. From the corporate side, it is important to understand your company and its needs, and that those people at the top will most likely shape the future of the company. As for an employee, certain characteristics are necessary and if you don’t have them, it is better to look for other options more suitable to your particular skill set.  C-level jobs are high-level managers, basically any job title that starts with a C, which stands for Chief, is what we’re talking about here. Yes, these jobs get much higher salaries, but that’s mainly due to the fact that they also work far more than most other job positions in the company. Besides this, their role takes on an important level of accountability when making decisions on the company’s behalf. Education and work experience are key factors when selecting a person for a C-level position.

Hiring a C-level Position

Understand where you’re heading as a company.

Before getting into the specifics of what taking on the role would entail, the company has to make a decision about whether they need one to begin one. That’s right, some companies may not need one all together and can easily get by by hiring a consultant to do the tasks needed. First of all, this will allow the company to save money and allocate it into other resources. And secondly, it will allow you to recruit other necessary talented employees that may help the company grow in other aspects.

Know what you want

Be sure to know what kind of profile, set of skills and personal traits you want the new C-level position have, once you’ve decided you need one. The newly appointed C-level position should be a solution very tangible needs that the company now has and others thinking ahead to the future. Additionally, when you do this you have a complete view of the company needs so as to be as accurate as possible in the job search.

Let people know you’re looking  

Due to the type of job position, you are are usually looking for influencers and people who are known to be part of networking circles. So, begin your search there. Start letting people know you are looking, circulate the job description to those close to the company or strategic people who might know just the right fit.

Have a plan

It’s not enough to just make the profile and wait for people to come in and be interested. You have to set in place a strategy, a plan that will not only detail the hiring process, but the training process as well. This plan should include all the parties that have to participate in it, and specify what they expect each of them to do in this process. Be sure to do this until you have at least 3 strong candidates. When digging into their references, keep an eye out for hints on their strengths and weaknesses and don’t get ahead of yourself during the negotiation. Don’t rush into it, simply take it step by step.

newspaper_jobs_jason hanold_hiring a ceo

Image courtesy of Kevin Harber at

Searching for a C-level Position

On the other end of things, some C-level quality talented executives may be on the lookout for a job opening, so here are some valuable tips for their search. It all comes down to visibility. Do people know who you are? Do they know what you can do?

Show who you are through a blog

Blog nowadays have become a sort of open book to get good insight into what people think and how they are. A blog is a great way to show off your skills and knowledge. Be sure to post at least bi-weekly and to include a photo. In your blog it is essential you focus on topics that you are an expert on. Give new ideas and thoughts on those topics, generate conversation.

Use social networks to our advantage

LinkedIn is the social network for professional networking, so use it to your advantage. Be sure to connect anything you find relevant to demonstrate your expertise, knowledge and experience in your field, such as your blog.  Keep the posts coming with your leadership and management thoughts, this will allow people and companies to get a sense of who you are.

Creating opportunities to be visible

Either volunteer or find out how you can write publications for different sources like You can also spread the word on relevant and interesting topics and share your knowledge through conferences or events developed for your industry. Make sure you always have your contact information easily visible and up to date on everything you do.

Become a thought leader

Once your professional profile is out there, you should want to become a thought leader in your industry. This will allow you to be visible to all those looking to acquire talent in their companies. You can do so, by either creating short lectures on YouTube or writing an e-book. Be sure that if you do get around to writing an ebook it gets published on, Kindle and other reputable sources that will make it more accessible and attractive.

3 tips to focus on the right CEO choice.

You started recently in the market and you are exceeding initial expectation.  Your startup has gained recognition and value.  You think it is ready for the next step.  It’s time to find someone to get you there.  Easier said than done.  The next CEO is either going to take your company to where you want it to go or set it back.  The choice will have an impact on the company for years to come.  Decision makers must be sure it is the right one.  Here are some tips to ease the process.

Come to a consensus.

The decision to replace the head of a company should not be made alone.  There is a Board of Directors for a reason.  Founder. Current CEO. The board.  They can’t work separately to come to terms on the future of the company.  Every executive with a vote should have a chance to express his or her opinion on what kind of person should take the reins of the company.  This open dialogue will allow the decision makers to come to a consensus about what kind of Chief Executive Officer is the best to entrust with the company’s future.

Some of the things that should result from the discussion are:

  • Does the current CEO have what it takes or is a new one needed?
  • If a new CEO is needed, can the company promote from the inside?
  • Should a recruiting firm be hired to assist the process?
  • What are the personality traits the company needs from its future leader?

Get on the recruiting path with some help

It’s time to find candidates.  Word to the wise: Don’t do it yourself and find a recruiting partner.    firms are in the business to help companies make sure they don’t get in their own way.  They provide an objective point of view that ensures the best decision is made.  Choosing the correct firm is of utmost importance.   The firms should:

  • Have experience headhunting within the company’s business sector.
  • Generate trust with the company.  The recruiting firm should make the company feel their decision is in good hands.
  • Help the company analyze and improve the criteria it has come up with for hiring the next CEO.
  • Be given detailed information on what the company needs and what it can give to the future head of the company.

A little advice:  it doesn’t hurt if you do a little research on prospective headhunting firms. Get in contact with companies they have helped and see which one suits your company’s needs the best.  

Take your pick


Image courtesy of 드림포유 at

Ok.  Let’s go back and see where we are in the process.  Your company has outlined the profile of the new CEO. Check.  You’ve hired a respectable and experienced recruiting firm to help you narrow the list of candidates to those who fit the criteria. Check.  Time to make a choice.  Keep in mind that the future of your company is a marathon and not a sprint.  Don’t rush into the decision of the future head of the company.  Set up a deadline for the selection process.  It’s a good idea to keep it between two and six months.

The recruiting partner came up with a list of possible candidates.  Go through the list and see what each candidate brings to the table and what he or she takes off from it.  Once again, it’s the future of the company you are going to entrust someone with so it’s better to take your time.  Many companies feel they have to make a decision quickly so they often make it under pressure thinking it’s the best way to go.  Going through the list of candidates will guarantee that the company made the best informed decision it could.  

There are some aspects that both company and potential CEO should have clear during the interview or interviews that are held.  The company must feel that the future CEO shares the values the company expects out of all the employees.  The CEO should be a perfect fit for the company so that the transition will go along a lot smoother.  The future chief of the company should have a verifiable record of past success in the business.  Additionally, both parties need to have a clear and honest discussion about how each other prefers to work.  This can include things like:

  • Decision making protocol that each one prefers.
  • Limits of everyone’s role.
  • Differences in opinion.  This one is especially important because it will help everyone understand how to deal with each person’s varying point of view without going over anyone’s head.  

Finally, the trust factor.  We like to work with those we feel we can trust.  Any doubts in the person’s integrity or character should be addressed.  

There are no guarantees in the business world.  The people a company chooses can make it or break it.  A no choice is more important than the Chief Executive Officer.