In wanting to free himself up to be the creative driver of his business, Nigel Shanahan has been on the hunt for a new CEO – and shares some valuable tips.

Appointing a new CEO is a key process for any business, and it’s imperative you make the correct decision. However, when faced with many outstanding candidates, how can you tell which one is the best fit for the culture and ethos of your business?

At Rant & Rave we recently appointed Kenny Bain as our new CEO. Kenny brings with him over 14 years of experience in the customer engagement sector as we look to expand both here in the UK and overseas. Finding Kenny could have been a long, difficult and drawn out process. However, using a reliable and high-quality headhunting agency from the outset really simplified the process. We have a long and established relationship with strong headhunters and a close level of trust. They understand our company, what it is we do, the people we employ and know what it is we’re looking for when it comes to high-level recruiting.

The process was quick and efficient. They highlighted five potential CVs to check that these were the type of candidates that we were looking for. Once agreed, a further 30 CVs were then found. We whittled these down to 12, met with eight, and then invited three to come in and meet both the executive and non-executive team.

When interviewing for potential candidates, whether its for a new CEO or not, we look for three criteria:

  • Are they excited about the potential in our company?
  • Does their attitude favour better over their experience?
  • Can they innovate, create and align business objectives?

We always look to find people that share a genuine interest and passion for Rant & Rave.

I am also a strong believer in that whilst each candidate needs the necessary skills to run a company, it’s more important to find somebody that demonstrates the right “attitude”. Chances are, if a candidate is interviewing for a CEO position, it’s a given that they already possess the skills to successfully run a company. Experience isn’t always necessarily a great indicator of future performance – so we want to find people that have fires in their bellies. We also understand that running a company isn’t a solo role – it’s a team game. So when looking for a potential new CEO, try not to dwell too much on what they have done previously but look for the positive attitude they exude when talking about how they can grow your company and its team.

Opposites attracts

For any company founder looking to appoint a new CEO, I think it’s imperative to find someone who compliments your skill sets. At Rant & Rave I see myself more as the creative driver behind the business while Kenny will focus more on the day to day execution.

For us, culture is just as important as attitude and experience. It may sound clichéd, but an organisation is only as good as its people and at Rant & Rave our people are passionate about delivering great service to our clients. As a CX-based company, it’s imperative that our people practice what they preach – and they certainly do that. If I was to offer one key piece of advice it would be to hire somebody that understands the culture that they are coming into and with Kenny that was certainly the case.

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.