Assessing Executive Talent

March 26, 2012 in HR Best Practices



Are your candidates just “talking the talk,” or can they truly “walk the walk”?

Determining who a candidate really is, and what he can really do, are critical parts of a job interview.  But when it comes to evaluating executive food & beverage talent, résumés and interviews only reveal so much.  As a talent manager, it can be extremely difficult to determine if a candidate is accurately representing himself, and if he can actually perform to the extent his new role will require.

To eliminate some of this uncertainty, many organizations have expanded their selection process to include business simulations.  The following article sheds some light on this assessment tool and the role it plays in successful executive hiring.  Here is a brief summary of the article’s key points:

Lead with Questions.

The first step in a proper assessment is crafting a strong interview.  While you may be tempted to jump into what the candidate can or would do in the new position, start by taking a look back.  Choose questions that elicit behavioral examples from candidates, allowing them to explain how they handled similar situations in the past.  Follow-up with questions that reveal the outcomes of these situations.

Make Sure the Candidate is the Real Deal.

Many companies are increasingly looking to business simulations to identify and hire the right executive.  These tailored, intensive, one- or two-day-long programs place executive candidates in fictitious, yet highly realistic situations designed to mimic the challenges of a potential position.

Business simulations go beyond a typical “How would you react?” behavioral question.  Candidates are required to react to actual, unpredicted events that well-trained consultants help play out.  Here is how a typical business simulation is executed:

  • A few days before the simulation, the candidate receives a rich case study on a fictitious company.  He is given a job description and role to play within the organization.
  • After reviewing the company profile and proposed challenge (e.g., merger, cutbacks, major distribution channel change, product line extension, etc.), the candidate reports to work as if it were his actual daily routine.  While the situation is completely new, he and the consultants (who play fellow executives and/or subordinates) act as though it is a regular day at work.
  • Throughout the day, the candidate is inundated with typical workplace challenges (e.g., harried bosses, disgruntled employees, phone interruptions, etc.).  The consultants who play his co-workers observe his reactions to those challenges and the decisions he makes.
  • Once the simulation is complete, the candidate reviews his own performance with the consultants.  Together, they identify the candidate’s strengths and development needs.

Value of Business Simulations

Some individuals fare better during a traditional interview process than others.  The candidate who performs best in an interview, however, may not actually be the best person for the job.  For this reason, many organizations now rely on business simulations to assess high-potential executives.  Used in conjunction with interviews and assessments, simulations provide a more complete picture of a candidate’s leadership skills, management style and shortcomings.

Workplace simulations turn the candidate evaluation process into a high-touch development experience.  Once completed, the assessment can be used as the basis for long-term development if the candidate is hired.  This developmental aspect is especially beneficial for internal candidates being considered for promotion.

At the end of the day, interviewers want to know if a potential candidate can exhibit the skills, right now, in situations that reflect the challenges of the available position.  Assessments that use real-world simulations can provide the depth of information talent leaders need to make high-stakes hiring decisions.  While the time and cost of such an intensive process is high, the ability to essentially “test drive” a potential leader make some simulations well worth the price.

Ensure Successful Placements with Kinsa – Food & Beverage Recruiters

When hiring an executive for your food & beverage company, you can’t afford to take chances.  Kinsa’s comprehensive Recruiting Process includes a full range of assessment options to ensure the success of your next hire.  Partner with Kinsa today and connect with the industry’s top food & beverage executives and professionals