Is finding a good executive just a matter of luck? – 27 Septiembre 2018

« How do we select a cook? With a good conversation? Of course not! If we want to select a cook, everyone thinks it’s normal to have this candidate to cook for us.
But if we want to select a manager, we have a good conversation! And then we think we know if this candidate-manager can lead a team or organisation? That is at least strange ».

This is a quote of Dr. Jeroen Seegers (MSc, PhD), published in the recent whitepaper « Role the dice or selection? »(2018). As an expert in Leadership Consulting and Assessment he states that Research shows that the regular selection interview is not a very reliable method for measuring talent, « because there are too many factors playing a role that can cloud the image. The chance of selecting someone who performs more than average is 15%, which is similar to throwing a dice ».

Of course this are the average results of research and with extended experience, professionality and the right interview techniques, the score could be considerable higher, but I agree with Dr.Seegers that Assessment Centres can be a very effective fair tool if done properly: « they are far more accurate than a standard recruitment process as they allow a broader range of selection methods to be used during the process ».

The Assessment Center method is a procedure in which, in a systematic way and using both group and individual exercises, tests and simulations, an attempt is made to determine the qualities that are essential for the proper performance of one or more (future) employees. Sedna Executive Search is convinced that Leadership Assessment could have an important added value of assessing knowledge and skills of leaders. But it can also be an instrument for evaluation of the motivation, the character and the values of leaders, which nowadays are at least as valuable. And there is one aspect even more important…..

Over the years Management, HR and Executive Search firms were focused on the performance and achievements, and later more on the competences, but « looking backwards ». What a leader has demonstrated in the past is significant, nevertheless what a leader can contribute in the future is even more crucial. The right Leadership Assessment is offering an opportunity to evaluate the potential of a leader and his/her capacity to learn. This is the real ability which describes the success for the future executive role.

Or as Paul Schoemaker, Steve Krupp, and Samantha Howland, experts in the fields of strategic management and decision making say; « When situations change, leaders need to be adaptable, and skilled leaders must attend to these situations strategically by varying their style of leading. Strategic leaders require the skills to anticipate, interpret, challenge, decide, align and learn from diverse operating contexts  » (Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills Harvard Business Review 2013).

Of course, we all need some luck in our professions, but finding a good executive is clearly more successful if we reduce the « luck factor » by following a thorough selection process with the right sourcing strategy, competency-focused interviews (like the STAR method) and additional Leadership Assessment.

Therefore Sedna Executive Search implements an innovative Leadership Assessment platform. A flexible platform which can be adapted to the need of the different selection processes.

For more information, feel free to contact us at:

Martin Poppe, Founder and Managing Partner, Sedna Executive Search, 27 September 2018.