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5 Executive Recruitment Strategies to Maximize Search Efforts

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Finding capable leaders who can effectively innovate, influence, put out fires, and bear the responsibility of your organization’s success is no slight undertaking.

Recruitment processes for senior-level positions can’t follow the same format as your process for hiring lower level talent. Everything about executive talent acquisition needs to be more personal, more streamlined, and more intentional.

The following recruitment strategies will help your human resources recruiting team identify and win the best talent for your executive-level roles.

1. Talk to People Who Know the Role

Of course, you’ll need to speak with hiring managers and C-suite executives to identify the qualifications of an ideal candidate and create a basic job description.

To get a more well-rounded grasp of the role, its needs, and the qualifications that the right person needs for the position, consider checking in with a few others:

  • Board members (and other top company stakeholders): Identify future direction for the company, upcoming goals, and thoughts from this audiences’ perspective on what would make someone an ideal candidate for the position.
  • Direct reports: Ask questions about team members’ preferred working styles and the culture within the team.
  • Executives currently in the role: Branch out to other organizations. Ask others who currently hold the role you’re hiring for, and find out the most challenging aspects of their jobs, and what tactics they take (and that top candidates should have) to overcome them.
  • Recruiters who’ve filled similar roles: Speak to others in your HR circle to find out how their executive search and hiring process was structured, and take notes on what they looked for in a candidate, what adjustments they had to make in their search, and why.

As you’re speaking with these different groups, take note of traits and comments you hear come up frequently, and include those in your candidate review process.

2. Be Exhaustive in Your Candidate Search

The candidates you want for your executive roles—CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, VPs, directors, and so on—aren’t sitting around job-hunting. 99 times out of 100, the person you want is actively engaged in a rewarding role.

This means you’d better get creative in finding potential candidates, and be prepared to really sell your opportunity when you do find them.

  • Leverage leadership networks: Senior executives often have deep networks. Start your executive search by leveraging the networks of the rest of your C-suite. One post announcing the current search on LinkedIn can go far and result in a surprising number of high-quality, personal referrals.
  • Utilize executive search services: If you’re coming up short in-house, or you simply want to streamline the talent search, then a recruiting firm can help. Professional executive search firms can identify top-tier talent around the world using networks they’ve already built. This can majorly save you time.

3. Evaluate Candidates Systematically

Associate ideal skill sets with ranking scores, making the most important skills “worth” more. Each candidate is going to be very different from the next, even if they have similar backgrounds. Using a scoring system helps prioritize the most important requirements for the role, makes candidates more easily comparable, and keeps your search as fair as possible.

Use pre-determined interview questions alongside your established grading rubric to be sure that each candidate is given the same chances to showcase their expertise and qualifications for the role. It helps to make sure at least one of your interview questions will allow you to gauge candidates’ potential fit into your company culture.

Finally, when interviewing candidates, be sure your interviewers are capable of accurately gauging candidates’ responses and scoring that response fairly and correctly. It wouldn’t be fair to have an HR director gauge the extent of a CFO’s financial literacy.

4. Focus on Earning Trust

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of establishing rapport and earning the trust of your executive candidates during the interview process. Potential hires at this level aren’t looking for just any position. They’re looking for a position where they can create positive change, leave an impact, and enjoy their time and coworkers while doing it.

Earning trust requires more than simply being friendly. You must be transparent in every regard, like when explaining why the position is currently open, in sharing responsibilities and expectations for the role, and in discussing how compensation is structured. Explain these details clearly and honestly, but also in a way that attracts, engages, and excites your prospects.

Possibly most important when interacting with potential new hires: Always focus heavily on listening. Ask about your candidates’ aspirations and double-check that they’re a fit for your role and organization.

5. Be Mindful of the Candidate Experience

When hiring for lower-level positions, you may submit a job posting that brings in 50, 100, or 500 applications. Your HR team will be overwhelmed, and many applications will go completely unanswered.

This cannot happen in executive search.

Likely, though, you won’t have near as many qualified candidates to consider. Still, every candidate you speak with should be given proper respect and attention. Follow-up on emails and phone calls within a respectable timeframe, and don’t be late or frequently reschedule calls. The top talent at this level is interviewing you just as much as you’re interviewing them, and the experience you provide during the interview process will speak to the experience that candidate will have as a full-time employee.

How Executive Search Firms Source Top Candidates So Easily

As professionals in talent acquisition, executive search firms already have far-spreading connections around the nation and the world in tons of industries. Their decades of outreach experience means they come prepared to your organization with tens of thousands of contacts made and conversations had. All you need to do is let them know what position you’re looking to fill and what ideal skills the right candidate would have.

Executive search firms will take it from there. They know how to research the role you’re trying to fill, find out what the C-level position really calls for, identify the best candidates, and streamline the assessment and executive recruitment process overall – so you spend less time waiting for the help you need.

When selecting an executive search firm to partner with, be sure they possess in-depth experience in the field with verified long-lasting placements of top executive candidates. That way, you can count on the same service … and sleep better at night to boot.

Ready to find expert help for your executive search process? TDS Global Solutions is here to assist, ensuring your placements – and all the placements thereafter – meet the needs of your organization in less time, with less fuss, than ever before. All you have to do is schedule a call.

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