The Process a Company Should Follow to Pick a CEO – Advice from CEO Andrew Miller

Hiring a new CEO is both incredibly similar and also very starkly different from hiring any other employee.  On the one hand, you have to do the delicate juggle of figuring out pay, hours, and perks- but on the other hand, this person’s decisions alone will make or break your business.

Instead of freezing up and living without a CEO for even longer: here’s the process a company should follow to hire a fantastic CEO, according to former Polycom CEO Andrew Miller.


The first step is to try and find as many suitable candidates as possible.  The larger the pool of possibilities, the higher the chance that you’ll get to make the best choice possible.  Although it may seem daunting to try and get word of mouth out there, this is the best way to do it.  You may find that someone knows of a CEO who recently stepped down or of a highly skilled executive who’s ready to step up.

Form A Committee

You’ll need a board to go over each possible candidate and vet them thoroughly.  The best people to make up this board are the top investors, managers of your employees, and anyone who may have to work directly with them.  You want to ensure that you have a good group of minds working together to pick someone who will be a perfect fit.

Consider Using A Firm

A firm is a great way to find a fantastic candidate.  Working as a matchmaker for businesses and executives looking to prove themselves, you may be able to find the perfect person to lead your business.  It’s essential to thoroughly read up on any fees and stipulations before signing up for any of these services since almost none of them are free.

Research Candidates Thoroughly

Take your time getting to know each candidate.  This plan is a huge undertaking and not something that can be done overnight.  Give informational cards about each of your top three to five candidates to those currently on your committee.

If you want more thorough research, you can ask everyone to read through and look up every candidate on their own.  Sometimes a google search can help turn up incredible information about people that you wouldn’t have expected, and it’s good to know who you’re facing before you hire them.

In-Person Interview

There’s a lot of pressure riding on this interview!  Talk to your candidates in person, and ask for their opinions on things important to your business.  Track their responses carefully, and figure out if they’re the best match you can find.

Interview Their Previous Employees

This step is one that you can’t afford to skip.  When you’re gathering references, ask if your candidates are alright with you contacting the previous companies they’ve worked for.  Contact companies they worked directly with, or beneath, your candidates and find out whatever you can about them.

It’s vital to focus on finding out how they work with others, react to adversity, and their personality.  This person will be heading your company; you want them to be able to handle it.

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