How to fill (and not to fill) a vacancy

How to fill (and not to fill) a vacancy

Hiring can be tough, and bouncing back from a bad hiring can be tougher.

By Francisco Rodriguez Chapa*

Looking back today, there are some things that I would have done differently. In this space I will be exploring different situations any C level can relate to.

25 years ago, the group I worked for was small, as was the volume and complexity of its activity, and therefore its staff did not require much specialization.

After some years of sustained growth, the man who was my operational director, someone with extremely empirical knowledge, began to show weaknesses in relation to his peers in other departments, who had also an academic background that enabled them to use electronic tools and technical skills for the fulfillment of their activities. The weakness in comparison to his peer’s work presented such deficiencies that his exit from the company was inevitable.

Soon, I was in charge and had to decide who would replace that key player in a core area of ​​the company, so I got in touch with a person whom with I had shared confidence and friendship for a long time. He had been working in the administrative area of a group of companies, he had expertise in accounting and had already questioned why I had not given him an opportunity (borrar) to be at the first hierarchical level by reminding me of his accomplishments, so, I decided to fill the vacancy with him, more because of his loyalty than for his logistic knowledge, thinking that soon he would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge the position demanded.

At the beginning of his tenure, we noticed a breakthrough in the department. He demonstrated leadership, focused on setting goals and later seeing them fulfilled; in his initial process, he planned a redesign for the company routes and acquired new suppliers. His work improved the communication and commitment among his peers from other departments. He showed professional orientation, personality to seek perfection in every detail, a good level of commitment, and zero tolerance for failure, as well as extending working hours and encouraging greater productivity, cracking down on those who did not comply.

Within a few months, staff turnover at the department rose along with the fulfillment of goals, lowering the level of frustration in my director, although he was failing to deliver the specific and required immediate results the company needed: deliver the high level of services demanded by the market, correct and revive the budget management with well and thorough procedures, and produce adequate leadership from himself and his team.

Before the year ended, I found myself in need of asking him to leave the organization by my boss’s orders, who despite his happiness with the individual, did not see results.

I was left with a sense of losing and wasting someone very good in the administrative, distribution and social area.

In business, a cool head and focused view can really make the difference. After that experience, every time I start looking for a replacement in any division, I ask an expert to review the candidate’s profile and figure out how they can meet the current demands and needs of the company in the medium term. Analyzing the technical skills and the type of personality required to cover the job, added with an outside view from a third and expert party can help you make the best decisions.

I learned that it is always important to keep the job profile updated and look for someone that can cover both current needs and the ones planned for the company’s future. There are specific things a company needs in a determined time, and you cannot forget the true goal is to meet up with those immediate demands, that is your goal and whatever confidence or friendship you have with someone, the job must get done.

It is vital to fill a vacant position with the person who satisfactorily fulfills the level of education, experience and ability to perform the required functions.

Finally, in cases like this, something that could help is looking at the talent that’s already within the organization. This way, finding the necessary potential to design a work plan that enables the filling key vacancies is easier, and it saves you the bad experience of wasting great tools and people.

*Francisco Rodriguez Chapa is a businessman based in Mexico City. He has been Management Director for Redpack and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

About the Author:

Francisco Rodriguez Chapa
Businessman based in Mexico. He has been Management Director for Redpack and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
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