How to hire an executive today for the culture you need tomorrow

Exec meeting

The executive you hire today will be the leader who decides how your organisation responds, and ultimately meets, the challenges you face.

What will your workforce look like a decade from now?

In all likelihood, it’ll look very different to today. In part, that’s because the very nature of work is changing. It’s not just working from home, which we’re hearing about a lot these days; entire structures and processes are evolving.

  • Technology is revolutionising the way mining operates
  • Old leadership models are being challenged by the need for agility
  • Stakeholders are demanding sustainability (Environmental, Social and Governance leadership)
  • Company culture is becoming integral not only to talent acquisition and retention strategy but to achieving business goals.

The executive you hire today will be the leader who decides how your organisation responds, and ultimately meets, these challenges. While their mining knowledge and leadership skills will be crucial, it’s their approach to culture which may ultimately prove vital to your company’s long-term success.

That means it’s important not to hire for the culture you have today; hire for the culture you will need tomorrow.

Hiring a leader for culture

The attention paid to any candidate’s “cultural fit” during the hiring process has been greatly refined over recent years. We’ve seen behavioural and targeted selection interview techniques become increasingly common, especially when targeted at values and culture . These are often supported by psychometric assessments and other such science and tools, designed to validate your gut instinct (or at least try to).

This is really the art of managing the risk associated with any new executive hire. The trick is to deploy these tools to successfully hire the right leader to meet your company’s cultural needs of tomorrow, rather than the cultural fit of today. Culture is not static it is forever evolving. Sometimes not in the way that you want.

In the end, a new executive hiring decision boils down to three core principles which will always hold true:

  1. Character: could I stand by this person in a trench and take fire?
  2. Chemistry: even if this person reports to you ask yourself, could I see myself reporting to this person? Could we lead, grow or change something together?
  3. Congruency: is what I am seeing in person matching the resume? Does it pass the sniff test? Body language and emotional intelligence can be very revealing and insightful. Ask cultural and values-based questions to reveal the real person.

A new breed of mining leader

Mining companies today are looking for leaders who can rise to meet the challenges (and embrace the opportunities) of tomorrow.

  • They’re looking for leaders who have the intellect and the humility to know when they don’t have the answers. Your culture needs to support this.
  • They’re looking for leaders who demonstrate the passion to find out the what and the why, because they instinctively know the when will always be soon. Lack of drive and momentum will run you over.

The really smart mining companies are looking for a new breed of executive and leader who is able to create the opportunities for their team and a sustainable culture long into the future. There is a shift from ‘Traditional Leadership styles’ as we know them to ‘Servant Leadership styles’ that leave a legacy long after they are gone.

We all remember that one great Boss….

Mining People International has more than 26 years’ specialist experience helping mining companies uncover the best candidates for their executive and leadership roles. Find out more about our executive search service here or get in touch directly.

Lindsay Craig
Mining People International