From recruiting high-quality candidates, vetting, and training the chosen leader for their new role, it can be time-consuming and costly to bring in a new senior executive.
However, it's a process worth getting right on the first try. Senior executive roles are essential for your company's growth and management, so it's wise to invest time and resources into bringing in someone who will stay long-term.
But how do you know where to start the process of recruiting for the C-suite?
Below, we'll explore senior executive recruiting in detail and give you some actionable tips for hiring these critical roles — including how to leverage an executive recruiting firm.
What Is Senior Executive Recruiting?
Senior executive recruiting is different from filling a traditional professional role.
When you hire for a senior leadership position (like a vice president, chief financial officer (CFO), or any other full-time C-level role), you're looking for empowering motivators, trusted leaders, knowledgeable stakeholders, and strong decision-makers.
When you begin C-level recruiting, you need to begin with an executive search strategy. This will help with the complex and in-depth process of filling major staffing roles in your organization.
Unlike filling lower-level roles, senior executive candidates often come with years of highly specialized industry experience (usually with the education and proven track record to back it up) and extensive leadership experience.
How To Hire the Right Candidate for Senior Executive Roles
Having a strategic approach is important to hiring senior executive roles. Here are five tips to help you hire the best candidate for your open senior executive position.
1. Use a Full-Service Recruiting Company
A full-service recruiting company helps you find executive hires that match your list of requirements while helping you standardize your executive search process.
While it is possible to find candidates on your own, it can put a lot of pressure on internal HR teams and limit the pool of candidates you have to choose from.
Rather than trying to fill an executive role in-house, you can rely on the expertise and knowledge that recruiting firms offer and lean on their networks to find the perfect candidate. A recruitment agency like Hunt Club provides talented executive recruiters who can find the best senior executive candidates for your unique organization.
Learn more about how Hunt Club can help grow and scale your business with the right executive talent.
2. Create an Effective and Thorough Interview Process
While at least one interview is expected for most roles, C-level senior positions require a much more extensive interview process — after all, the chosen candidate will be deeply involved in your company's dealings with clients, partners, and vendors.
Create an interview process that goes beyond what you'd prepare for a mid or senior-level role. You may even consider asking for a presentation relevant to the role or your industry to assess their communication skills and expertise.
Ask unique, open-ended interview questions that give the candidate the opportunity to get deep, and ask follow-up questions if you need to.
The questions you ask will vary somewhat based on your organization's priorities and the responsibilities of the role, but these are a great place to start:
- What is your vision for our organization?
- What's one thing you think our organization does well, and one thing you think we can improve?
- Tell us about one decision you’ve made in a past role that you wish you could undo. How would you tackle it differently if given the chance?
- How would you boost staff morale?
3. Promote From Within the Organization
While we often think of hiring a C-level executive from the outside, it’s also possible to hire from within your company. There are several benefits to promoting someone to the C-suite from within the business:
- They're already committed to your brand and have extensive knowledge of the organization, reducing the onboarding and training process needed for a fresh candidate.
- They're already familiar with (and trusted by) fellow staff, so there would be less of an adjustment period for team members.
However, there are also downsides to consider when you promote from within:
- Your pool of candidates is much smaller, and there will still be an open role to fill as the individual moves up to the C-suite.
- There is potential for conflict between competing employees.
Carefully consider the pros and cons, but you don't have to completely rule out hiring from within entirely when looking for C-level leadership.
4. Nurture Candidate Relationships
Simply posting a job ad online and hoping that the right candidate will stumble upon it isn’t good enough when looking to hire a senior executive. The talent you need is often passive, and they aren't waiting by the phone or exploring job boards to begin with.
You need to do your due diligence and nurture candidate relationships in order to surface the best candidate.
While using a recruitment agency can help in this process, you can also do your own research.
LinkedIn is one resource for connecting and following up with candidates, but you can also ask for referrals within your existing networks if you have the opportunity. Leverage the tools at your disposal to build meaningful connections with qualified candidates.
And even if they're not perfect for your open role, they may be a great fit for a future opening.
5. Evaluate Culture Fit, Not Just Credentials
Of course, you'll want candidates with a relevant professional background and a strong portfolio of credentials. However, that can’t be the only thing you look at when you are looking to fill leadership roles.
You also need to see if they will be a good cultural fit for your organization.
Part of your interview process should entail asking candidates about leadership styles, what goals they would implement, and how they deal with challenges as an executive.
A candidate's credentials will only bring them so far if their professional ideals don't align with your organization's. In fact, 90% of recruiters have rejected candidates due to their lack of cultural fit. Finding an executive who meshes well with your company culture will increase their likelihood of staying on board.
What To Look for in a Senior Executive Recruitment Company
If you decide to use the expertise and talent of a senior executive recruitment company, then there are a few key elements to look for. Not all executive search firms are the same, so you want to ensure you pick the best option to help you fill senior leadership roles. Consider a firm with the following attributes:
Maintains a Vast Network of Executive Candidates
A strong executive recruitment company will have a large talent pool to choose candidates from. They will already have profiles of their candidates with information that helps determine if they are the right fit for your position.
Rather than starting from scratch, they know which candidates to begin with and can start the process much quicker than internal teams (who are likely tasked with several other responsibilities).
Uses Technology To Reduce Time to Hire
Another important feature of a senior executive recruiting company is the technology they use to help speed up the hiring process. The modern business world is becoming increasingly reliant on technology and digital tools to solve problems and speed up the pace of growth. Hiring an executive role is no different.
The best recruitment firms will use technology to find candidates, stay in constant contact with them, schedule interviews and calls, nurture relationships, and gather relevant information.
Offers World-Class Talent Expertise
A recruitment agency doesn’t just rely on technology to find the best candidates: they also have teams of expert talent recruiters who can source and deliver potential candidates. Leading executive recruiting firms like Hunt Club employ agents with years of experience in finding highly-experienced candidates that fit your organization's unique needs.
Senior Executive Recruitment by Hunt Club
Filling a senior executive role is an important but complicated task. The tactics and strategies you use to fill lower-level positions may not be enough to find the right talent for C-level roles.
That’s where executive recruitment agencies like Hunt Club come in.
At Hunt Club, we excel in matching qualified candidates with top companies looking to fill senior-level roles. Our team of expert Talent Advisors can help you quickly and efficiently fill your senior executive positions and grow your business.
Get started with Hunt Club and discover exactly what we bring to organizations that want help managing and running the hiring process for executive roles.