When should CEOs exercise the veto?

October 31, 2013

CEO Talent ManagementAs CEO, you should interview as many of the people joining your organization as possible. As the organization grows, you will have to be more selective–interviewing only those who will have the greatest impact on the business. But you shouldn’t stop interviewing. Interviewing is one of the greatest tools you have to influence the culture and alignment of your organization.

When interviewing, you shouldn’t choose whom to hire, but you should veto candidates who aren’t good cultural fits. Vetoing may cost you some leadership capital in the short term (if people on the hiring committee really like the candidate), but it’s far more costly over the long haul to hire poor cultural fits for key positions. Plus, vetoes help clarify the organization’s culture and the importance of maintaining that culture going forward.

CEO/Talent Management Officer

CEOs need to see themselves as Talent Management Officers, since they are in charge of the organization’s culture and the alignment of its talent/resources. As a Talent Management Officer, you must occasionally exercise veto power, but also demonstrate respect for the hiring committee’s work. With that in mind, you ought to:

  1. Interview all or most critical hires.
  2. Provide feedback on the candidates, but not decide which one(s) to hire. Hiring should be done by the hiring committee, otherwise they can’t and won’t be accountable for their decisions.
  3. Trust the hiring committee’s process for vetting candidates with regard to skills and competency.
  4. Veto only based upon whether candidates fit the organizational culture. Your people will soon get the mental model of who you want working at your organization. As a result, your need to veto should decrease over time.

As the CEO/Talent Management Officer, you should be involved in the interview process for key hires. Your organization’s culture and alignment are at stake.

Have you exercised your veto power yet?

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