Talent search can be a daunting process, especially when you’re looking to fill top executive positions. We’re pleased to share 10 of the best tips to help you find and hire the ideal executive for your organization.
Find a trusted search partner
Don’t assume that all search firms are created equal. Speak with multiple recruiting firms that have specific experience in filling executive positions. The best executive candidates are probably not applying to jobs online, and you want to be sure you are working with a firm that has an extensive network and experience recruiting employed executives.
Many try to rely on their network of contacts to hire top executives; however, this likely leaves many qualified candidates out of your pool. Finding the best candidate can have a major positive impact on the future of your organization. Don’t sell yourself short. At a minimum, if you are trying to recruit on your own, be open to seeing candidates from recruiters somewhere during the process. You will not know you have the best you can get if you narrow your pool of candidates by excluding those whose business it is to find the best talent.
Really sell your organization
What makes your organization a fantastic place to work? Qualified executive candidates will be in high demand, and you need a way to stand out from the crowd. Be sure to present your benefits, advantages, reputation, and organization in the best light possible. This might take some planning and effort, but to bring in executives that are best in class, the work is worth it.
From the first phone call to the end of the process, you should be gathering as much information as possible. It’s imperative that you remain aware of anything that might keep you from hiring a top candidate. Ask him or her directly if they are receiving or entertaining any other offers, how far they are in the process, what their timeline for a decision is and what their decision criteria is. If you’re talking to a highly qualified candidate, it’s likely they’re talking to other companies too. Assuming otherwise may cost you your potential leader. Work with your candidates to maintain transparency and awareness of what’s going on outside your interview process.
If you want the best of the best, the search can’t be all about your process and timing. It’s okay if you need to adjust your process – you’re trying to hire the best candidate, not the candidate that can cooperate with your specific interview process and timeline. It will, of course, take a while to find the right fit but good candidates don’t stay on the market long. This may mean that you must adjust your process to fill a position, but in the long run, your priority is who you’re hiring, not your method of hiring.
Make competitive offers
A common snafu many organizations make is to present below market offers to highly qualified candidates. It is important to recognize the talent that is being offered by your chosen candidate. Remember, if an average candidate won’t take a pay cut, a stellar candidate won’t make a lateral move. If you want the best, you need to pay them like the best. Finding a qualified executive is an investment, and it needs to be treated as such in the offer you make.
Listen to your recruiter
If you have hired the right firm, your recruiter has your best interest in mind. There may be times you don’t like what your recruiter may tell you; however, recruiters are operating in the market for talent every day and very likely have better information than you do. A recruiter is one of your most significant assets in gaining information, understanding the market, finding talent, negotiating offers, and closing a deal. When hiring for executive positions, small details can make a big difference in whether a candidate accepts an offer. It is the recruiter’s job to understand the needs of the candidate as well as the employer. As an example, if your recruiter says it’s in your favor to add an extra week of vacation time to your offer, you should very seriously consider doing so. These, what might be considered small things, can be the tie breaker.
Consider but do not over rely on assessment tests
You’re looking for someone who would fit your company and your needs, not someone who performs well on an assessment. Assessments can be a valuable tool in the search but understanding the candidate’s experience, expertise, references, behaviors, strengths and weaknesses cannot be boiled down into a standardized assessment. Human interaction and effort are required to make sure you have the right person.
Don’t bypass your recruiter
All communication between a company and a candidate should be visible to your recruiting firm. Not being transparent to all involved can cause errors in the process, possibly making your process, and you by reflection, look disorganized or not on the top of your game. The candidate will see the process as a reflection of your company’s values and mode of operation.
Hire the strongest candidate possible – think ahead
This one might seem obvious, but it shouldn’t be skipped over. Don’t just hire someone that can do the job. Hire a candidate whose service is going to elevate your organization. This is one of the most important investments your organization can make. Don’t get someone that “fits” your organization now, only to reap diminishing returns in the future. Hire candidates that can take you to where you see your organization in the future. Or better yet, hire someone that will help advance your organization beyond what you imagined.
Handle things ethically
As always, be professional and be ethical. Don’t make any decisions that could jeopardize a deal or reflect poorly on you or your organization. For example, get permission before any reference checks. Even if it’s something you don’t think your candidate would find out, do everything correctly and professionally.
Hiring for executive positions is a process that requires the utmost care and attention. If you need help searching for the best candidate to fill an executive position, contact Lauber Business Partners today. Their trusted company is skilled and experienced in finding the top executives for organizations across the board.