Know who you want and need - but also be knowledgeable about what the market will demand and adjust accordingly.
Here is an example. A technology incubator in a mid sized southern city is looking for a CEO to head the incubator. Their press release says the
"candidate should have 10 or more years of professional management and leadership experience, preferably in the incubation industry, strong fund raising skills and financial management expertise, a successful entrepreneurial experience and demonstrated success in program development and implementation, marketing and administration."The first thing that should strike you is "wow, this would be a pretty heavy hitter - successful entrepreneur, 10 years management, strong fund raising with demonstrated success". Second, think of how many organizations are looking for this type of person - pretty in demand person. Third, what would it take to get this person to come on board?
Then you get to their next sentence,
"A new CEO will get a mid-five figure salary, benefits, and incentives for fund raising"Huh? Mid-five figures is what, $50,000? A successful manager, 10 years experience in any sort of technology company - entrepreneurial, take charge person, looking for a new challenge. Your probably making $100k, plus bonuses right now.
Why would you take this job?
Anyone in the incubation industry with 10 years of management experience is going to be making more than that already.
I am sure they are limited in what they can pay, but why ask for all the above if that is all they can offer? They'd be better off saying:
"Ready for a second career working with entrepreneurs? We are looking for a middle aged manager with a technology business background who wants to work with new businesses. We can't pay what you'd made at ABC, co. before they laid you off, but it is a fun environment. Come talk to us!"At least that might get you someone close to what you are looking for.
If you are a small business, maybe you cannot afford to pay for the talent you need. But you have to give in on something to make it worthwhile to get the right person. You have to be creative: you are not IBM!