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How do you hire a Chief of Staff?

In order for a company to be successful, the right people must be in place. In other words, without a solid leadership team, a small business won’t reach the next level. A part of keeping the senior executives on track is ensuring they have a rock solid staff supporting them. Hiring a Chief of Staff to partner with the CEO, or other senior leaders, will greatly contribute to the executives’ success and therefore, the bottom line of the business.

Since a Chief of Staff can wear many hats, recruiting for this role should be a more intricate process. Every phase should help narrow down the search and bring you closer to the right match. Here are three crucial steps to take when bringing on this dynamic team member.

1. Define the purpose of the role

Decide if the Chief of Staff will be primarily strategic or operational, or both. More specifically, maybe he or she will help scale the business or work cross-functionally to improve workflows. What outcomes will you be hiring them to achieve?  Also, consider if the role will be part-time or full-time a contractor or employee. This important initial step of clarifying the role will allow you to recognize top candidates and articulate the Chief of Staff’s purpose to these applicants.

2. Search for candidates

As your relationship with your Chief of Staff can be a bit more intimate, reaching out to your network for referrals is always a great place to start recruiting for this position. Simultaneously, using a Chief of Staff specific search firm or specialist Chief of Staff firm such as ours, will provide a steady stream of qualified candidates as well. LinkedIn and Indeed are also robust search platforms, allowing for targeted recruiting.

3. Interview qualified candidates

Once you have candidates whose skills match the job description, it’s time for the interview. Asking questions based on the required outcomes of the Chief of Staff position will help determine if someone is the right fit. In addition, this process should include conducting emotional intelligence and soft skill assessments as the Chief of Staff truly acts as a partner. This can be done through case studies or having the candidate shadow you for a day.

Using these steps as a guide will allow for a productive Chief of Staff recruiting process. As this person is your right hand, finding the very best candidate is worth any extra time it may require. The ideal Chief of Staff will greatly contribute to the leadership team’s agenda and the overall success of the business.

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