As the economy continues to improve, companies will look to bring on talent and skills which they had been putting off. Of course, there is the delayed filling of executive and managerial positions which will now take place, but there will also be the natural inclination to "opportunistically" bring on a great talent who is available as a result of downsizing or "a situation". This brings up some interesting questions for both the employer (especially smaller and midsize companies) and also the potential employee. Both parties should carefully think through what could be a win/win deal, lest the bloom comes off the rose in a few months.
A couple of thoughts for the hiring company executives: Let's assume the candidate is great, passes our hurdles and has necessary references, can we provide opportunities for him/her to perform quickly in a demonstrable and satisfying manner? Will we have opportunities for promotion by two levels within three years? If not, why bring in horsepower, disrupt our organization, and push our culture needlessly, not to mention causing an unhappy situation for everybody. If we don't need a real leader with long-term potential with us, we should contract for the skill sets (I.e. hire consultants) we need. This is especially the case for those companies which do not have well-established executive development programs.
If you are a potential candidate who is seeking a new opportunity, there are also some important questions to consider. Perhaps the position responsibilities sound terrific, but how integral is the role to the long term success of the business? And are there opportunities to demonstrate real performance? Am I being considered for my leadership skills for the long run, or do they just need my recent experience and contacts; especially true in sales functions? These considerations do not preclude the fact that this could be a great opportunity, but sometimes, in the haste to bring on a real upgrade in talent, some basics are overlooked. The most important consideration in an opportunistic hire is to have a good fit between the opportunities in the position and the potential executive’s long-term prospects with the company.