Schmidt has spent the last seven years coaching in Europe, most recently leading Ireland to the Grand Slam, and is McCaw’s first-choice to take over from Hansen after the Rugby World Cup.
“He’s been away for a while but there’s no doubt amongst the people who understand rugby that he has a very good way of looking at the game,” McCaw told the Irish Examiner.
“He’s quite innovative and looks at ways of pushing everyone to get better.
“I think he’s probably quite an intense character but that drives a standard of excellence and that’s the view a lot of people have.
“I think everybody sits there hoping one day he’ll come back and put himself back in the mix in New Zealand and we get the benefit of all the experience he’s had at an international level, and obviously quite a few years successfully at club level as well.
“From Ireland’s point of view, you want to try and lock him (Schmidt) in and from New Zealand’s point of view, if Steve doesn’t continue, they’re going to want all the options on the table.
“It will be hard for Joe because he wants to concentrate on doing a good job for the next 12 months but if he wants to put his name in the hat it will be pretty good to have a coach like that looking around.
“We’re pretty lucky that there are guys coaching Super Rugby at the moment that will put their name in the hat but they would be silly not to look at a Joe Schmidt or a Vern Cotter, guys that haven’t been coaching in New Zealand but are the right man for the job.”
Schmidt is expected to make a decision on his future at the culmination of the November internationals.