There is certainly still far too much "gut feel" and an issue with being safe and recruiting the type of senior leaders that companies have always hired without thinking of the context in which you need to recruit them.

Quite often, companies don't really consider why they are recruiting a role and just think about filling the vacancy in the same way and with the same type of person that they did the first time around. If it was successful, why not, but if you want to reap the reward of this investment then you need to think deeper before embarking on any recruitment campaign.

I like this article from HBR which puts forward the argument that senior leaders should be recruited in context to the problem, challenge or opportunity for which the role will be measured. It is not about the current situation but rather about having a clear company purpose and vision and then identifying the types of behaviours that will ensure your newly appointed senior leader will get you there. If you are looking at making major acquisitions and executing a strategy of rapid growth than you need a leader capable of achieving it. Likewise, if you are implementing a strategy of retrenching or divestment then they should be capable of this too. In addition, the person also needs to align with your company values and the culture you have taken so long to nurture.

Identifying such behaviours is difficult at interview and HBR firmly recommends using robust psychometric tests that are right for you and your situation. Again I totally endorse this having used various tools successfully for over 12 years.