Hiring an executive for a leadership role is one of the most important, and one of the most challenging, tasks of any recruitment team. Often, the process can be time-consuming and exhausting, and the outcome will make a massive influence on a company, so the pressure is really on.
Depending on the size of a business, executive searches can last months or even years. The number of incredibly talented executives is small, and recruiting them away from their current positions is difficult.
Especially today as we find ourselves in the midst of labour and talent shortages alongside growing competition between companies and increasing expectations from employees, the stakes are high and the process is tough.
Further, it’s generally accepted that great leaders don’t tend to be on the hunt for jobs, they instead have to be found. It’s also important to remember that what makes someone a great leader for one company, might not necessarily make them a great leader for your company. Lastly, proven executives are often difficult to lure away from their established teams and companies to lead new businesses.
For these reasons, it’s often a better use of resources to make use of an executive search firm.
Executive recruiting is the term for a hiring process when a business is looking for a leader for a given department or section. Executive leaders are a rare and highly valued commodity. Leaders who have survived and thrived in the brutal pipeline that leads toward executive positions exhibit character. They have learned the value of communication, delegation, and problem solving and use that knowledge to benefit the business and its employees.
Executives include all those titles that begin with the coveted ‘C’. Think, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
There are three core strategies that companies use to search for executives
- Internal Promotion
- Using internal personnel to look outside the business
- Hiring an executive search firm
Internal promotion refers to, of course, boosting the position of someone already working within the company – moving existing employees up the career ladder so to speak. It’s advantageous in that you know the candidate and can trust they are invested in the success of the business and already form part of the company culture. It’s also a great show of faith in staff.
However, promoting internally, means that you are essentially putting someone untested into one of your most precious roles. This person might also be too invested in the status quo, and unable to inject a spark of new vision and fresh energy.
Looking outside the business also has pros and cons. These searches are carried out by existing executives who are intensely aware of the competition, and exactly the type of candidate they want to be working with. They are mindful of possible cultural changes within the business and there’s a level of knowledge behind the decision-making process that should be valued.
However, these searches put a high-stress burden on already busy executives. Added pressures considered outside their purview interfere with the day-to-day operation of the business. They are also inclined to dismiss candidates with which they have personal issues.
According to Key Search, the most important fundamentals of beginning an executive search – whether internally or externally – is to ensure the candidate holds the right balance of soft and hard skills. Soft skills come with experience and include things like communication, problem-solving, organization and motivation. Hard skills are those fundamentals such as time management, research technique, understanding finance tables and so forth.
While soft skills are revealed to possible employers through the recommendations made by the people with which they have worked, hard skills are more challenging to explore. A resume will list these skills. However, the application of those skills is harder to display. It is during the interview process that the level of these skills possessed by the candidate is revealed.
Hiring an executive search firm is often the best way to ensure a successful executive hiring process, it can save resources, and it doesn’t burden busy staff. Looking for executives is the bread and butter of search firms and they have extensive portfolios of clients which can help expedite the process. Search firms are also well aware of the important attributes (including both hard and soft skills) that executives need.
Of course, hiring an outside firm can have some challenges – first, search parameters need to be drawn up (including the personality, drive, record, and leadership abilities desired) and this itself can be a lengthy ordeal.
Outsourcing to an executive search firm can be particularly useful though in certain occasions. For example; when you don’t have the expertise to pinpoint the best candidates, you and your team don’t have the time to perform an exhaustive and in-depth search, there is limited time to achieve a search, or when your initial search has failed.
Years of experience make executive search firms sleek, quick, and efficient. Most firms are made up of teams that attack a single component of a search. The majority operate under a step-by-step formula that includes:
- Understanding the fundamental culture and business aspects of the client hiring
- Understanding the position for which candidates are being recruited
- Establishing and limiting the market from which recruits are drawn
- Analyzing the gifts of recruits and presenting those talents to the client
- Maintaining contact and transparency to the client and the candidate
Executive hiring doesn’t have to be a headache. Key Search has all the information that you need to create an effective strategy to find the executives that will help drive your business forward. You can check that out here.
Key Search has decades of experience and a proven track record in finding the very best leadership talent. Their in-depth knowledge allows us to find applicants with the leadership style, skills and abilities you need, so get in touch with your executive search challenge today.