Challenges of Defining a CEO Profile

04 February, 2021

By Toni Koskinen, HRS Advisors Oy (Finland)


Our client is a medium-sized, Finnish construction group with offices around Finland. The company’s business has grown over the years, and was undergoing a change in ownership. The CEO/ Owner had decided to step down from operational responsibility, looking to find a successor to fill that role.


Our objective was to find a new CEO with solid leadership experience, excellent collaboration and negotiation skills, and a history of successful change management. The company needed an active and experienced leader who was prepared to commit to developing the company’s operations in the long term. In addition to operational responsibility, the new CEO would need to ensure profitability and sustainable growth. To top it off, the candidate should possess a personality and work style that matched the company’s corporate culture.


  • It turned out that the decision-makers had different views, motives, and strategic wishes related to the situation;
  • They also had differing visions of the recruitment profile and the kind of person they wanted for the position;
  • There were no internal candidates;
  • The head office is in a geographically challenging location;
  • The former shareholder/CEO’s future role was uncertain – including whether there was readiness to take a step back.

Task Management: Recruitment Through Headhunting

The most important step of the recruitment process was interviewing key people to determine the person that they wanted. Having defined the CEO profile, we initiated the next stage of headhunting: research, to form a full picture of the available candidates. We conducted an extensive survey of experts, seeking potential candidates to meet the customer’s needs using all available channels and our network.


We interviewed 12 candidates, of whom six went on to client interviews. Our client selected three candidates for psychological assessment. After the completion of assessments and references, the client made a contract with one finalist. Two equally strong candidates with very different personalities had made the final shortlist. The board spent a long time deciding but ended up choosing a candidate with better industry expertise and a similar work style to the previous CEO.

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