Companies that use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) are seeking more than your classic COO/ General Manager. They’re seeking an Integrator who will be the “glue” who holds things together for your company and sets the cadence for your leadership team.
Integrators play a very important role in your company. They are responsible for P&L results, the business plan and often serve as the tie-breaker on the executive team to keep them honest.
This all means that the interview process for selecting and hiring an Integrator is exceedingly important. There are key questions you should ask to better understand if your candidate is a true Integrator to help move your company forward.
At Kaplan, we’re an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting Integrators, COOs, and other key leadership team members. During our process, we help you prepare for the hiring and onboarding your next candidate from start to finish. Some things we like to ask you, the clients before beginning the interview process to help them prepare are:
- Did you clearly define the job description to ensure that your candidates are aware of the type of person you are seeking?
- Have you defined your company purpose and mission? This helps candidates prepare for an interview by being aware of your mission statement on your website.
- Have you clearly mapped out the goals and responsibilities of the integrator so that you can ask situational questions related to the role?
As you go through this process, it’s a good idea to have a structured interview guide and rating scale. This will help you hold each candidate to the same standards and provide an easier way for you to rank the candidates and choose the one that best fits your required skills and abilities.
10 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK INTEGRATORS
1. As an Integrator, what are you really good at? Conversely, what are you not so good at?
You should review the description of an Integrator that EOS® provides to ensure you know what to listen for in a response to this question. The goal of this question is to see how the candidate will balance out you, the Visionary. This question basically asks the candidate to define their strengths and weaknesses as an executive.
As a subset of this question, you’ll want to know how the candidate handles friction because it is normal for friction to occur between the Visionary and Integrator. As the tie-breaker on the leadership team, your Integrator needs to be very comfortable in those disagreements by being open and honest with you.
2. In reviewing our core values, which values most resonate with you and why?
While skillset and previous experience will play a large role in your decision making, ensuring that your new Integrator is a culture-fit is also crucial. Be sure to have the candidate elaborate on why your mission resonates with them as this ensures they aren’t just reading your values back to you. Maintaining your culture is important to retaining your employees and accomplishing your mission so don’t glaze over this question.
3. What is your process for taking a vision, and turning it into an actionable plan?
As a Visionary, you are constantly coming up with new ideas. The Integrator is there to evaluate these ideas and decide which ones to move forward. As you interview candidates, be sure to evaluate how they would handle creating processes and implementation plans for the many ideas you may have. They should have a strong, proven record of taking ideas and turning them into project plans in the past.
4. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to make significant people changes in an organization to improve the business? What obstacles did you face? How did you overcome them?
Typically, Visionaries are not very good at holding people accountable, so when hiring an Integrator, it is key that the individual is able to hold people accountable. When a new Integrator comes onboard, they ensure that the right people are in the right seats across the organization. If an individual in a functional role does not get it, want it, or have the capacity to do the job, then that individual will need to be moved to a better seat or transitioned out. You want an Integrator that is comfortable making these changes, especially if there has never been an Integrator in the business.
5. Would you say you are a good leader? Why?
As described in question 4, Integrators are responsible for employees throughout your company. This means that they must be very strong people managers. Look for this in their response to this question. Listen for how much experience they have dealing with difficult people management situations and how they ensured a strong outcome in those situations.
6. How do you track the financial impact of your operational decisions?
Recall from question 3, the Integrator will choose which ideas to pursue. This means it is important that the Integrator be accountable to those ideas by tracking their successes and/ or failures. You want to ensure that your Integrator is good at following these ideas through from inception to success. If not successful, your Integrator needs to be able to make additional adjustments or changes where needed to ensure a strong bottom line.
7. What is your experience in scaling growing organizations?
More than likely, you are hiring an Integrator because your business is growing. You want to know what experience the candidates have with scaling a business for growth to see if they can help your organization achieve your vision. Listen closely for tactical examples instead of just hearing that they were a contributor at another company during growth. You want to ensure that they were in a leadership position during that growth and oversaw operational changes and efficiencies throughout the process.
8. What is your experience working in an entrepreneurial organization? What do you like most? What do you like least?
Some leaders are not cut out for an entrepreneurial organization. An Integrator has to be comfortable with change and constant development. You’re not seeking an executive who is comfortable with the status quo. As an Integrator, this individual will be responsible for driving results, which means thriving in an entrepreneurial organization where you’re constantly evolving.
9. Where do you want to take your career?
It is important to understand the career goals and aspirations of your future Integrator. When bringing someone into your organization, if it becomes clear that there is not a path to achieve their future goals, they will be more likely to be unhappy and eventually leave. Additionally, as an Integrator, you want to hear from them that their future goals align with the trajectory path of an Integrator.
10. Why do you want to leave your current role?
This question can be very telling. Beware of candidates that trash their boss or current organization. What you want to hear from a candidate is that they are looking for a new challenge or an organization that is in growth mode. Ideally, the candidate has already had a discussion with their current Visionary in which they expressed the desire to begin looking for a new career.
These interview questions to ask Integrators should help you find the right candidate, but they aren’t a sure-fire solution. Be sure that as you go through the interview process you:
- Take good notes that score candidates objectively.
- Involve multiple team members in the interview process to get additional insights.
- Ask candidates to elaborate on their answers where you feel that’s necessary.
- Allow time for the candidate to ask questions to ensure a strong fit on both sides.
- Close the interview by providing the candidate information on next steps.
If you’re hiring other executive team members, read our article on interview questions tailored directly for them. If you’re seeking additional help with hiring and interviewing for an Integrator position, contact Kaplan Executive Search.
- Get a copy of our Integrator Job Description Template.
- Check out our EOS® Integrator and Leadership Team Search Services
- Better understand your role as a Visionary. Here are the 3 Most Common Types of Visionaries.