Can Pa. Law Firms Start to Close Revolving CMO Door?

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Filling and keeping filled the chief marketing officer position within Pennsylvania's law firms has often been a struggle.

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  • Mike O‘Horo

    The executive committee, or whomever will make the final decision on a CMO or BDO hire, should first be tasked to think through and create the person‘s annual review criteria, and define what specific accomplishments would constitute "exemplary-", "better-than-average-", and "merely acceptable" performance. Once you‘ve established objective success criteria, you can engineer backward from there to define the skills and capabilities necessary to be exemplary. Next, you define what might constitute reliable evidence that the person has has those skills and capabilities. This becomes your search consultant‘s recruiting guidelines, and your interview guidelines. Next, fix the interview process. Don‘t merely schedule interviews with any partner who wants to get in on the act. Have a purpose to each interview, and a concrete reason for including each interviewer. For example, certain partners or firm executives should be assigned to skill/capability validation; others to culture fit, etc., instead of having everyone try to assess all factors. Each interviewer should have to submit a written interview plan explaining what the interview is supposed to ascertain and accomplish, and how. If a partner won‘t take the time to think through and prepare the interview, a good candidate will recognize that and correctly conclude that this position isn‘t important. Now, you can assemble a rational interview scheme and avoid redundant, repetitive interviews that tell the candidate that your firm doesn‘t have its act together. I would encourage the firm to prepare a project or other "tryout" assignment that validates the claimed skills and emulates some key component of the job responsibilities. Someone can either perform or not. This avoids false positives or negatives based on the person‘s relative ability to interview. Do you want to hire a good interviewee, or an executive who can get the job done?

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