Put Your Vision First When Recruiting Executives
Hiring a new executive for your team comes with a lot of challenges. You can’t approach industry-leaders the same way that you approach new college graduates, and they are much less likely to be looking for new opportunities than candidates for lower-level positions.
Executive hires also have a direct effect on your company’s trajectory. You need someone with similar values to your current team who can jump into a busy workplace and contribute to the great work that’s already being done.
Many companies choose to use
professional recruiters for executive searches, and for good reason. Recruiters have extensive personal networks and a comprehensive knowledge of your industry’s needs and a candidate’s considerations. They don’t however, have extensive knowledge of your vision and purpose. Whether you’re using a recruiter or filling your next executive role in-house, keep your vision top-of-mind for candidates and recruiters:
Choose the Right Channels
When you’re hiring in leadership positions,rock-star resumes rarely come from a job board. Instead, you need to diversify your candidate sources in order to find and engage the right people.
One pretty obvious pool of candidates that your internal HR function can source are promotable employees. Even when you’re not hiring, take note of any over-achieving employees that might be a good fit for leadership. Give them coaching and mentorship opportunities and watch them grow over time. Any time you start an executive hiring process, ask your employees at all levels for internal recommendations for the job. Likely, the same names will come up every time. Nobody understands your vision better than your employees on the front lines. They also have invaluable knowledge of your culture, your product, and the challenges of your workplace. Promoting a great employee is an easy way to cut hiring costs and maximize culture.
Another way to get your employees involved is to ask for external referrals. If they have high enough connections, they can be a great source of fresh talent. Meet with your leadership team to discuss how your open role impact’s your company’s long-term vision. Ask for referrals from their peer networks in order to engage with passive talent that you might not have been able to attract with a simple job description. Incentivize the referral program in order to ensure the best talent pool.
Keep a Fresh Pipeline- Whether You’re Hiring or Not
The best employees already have jobs. Make sure that you’re always aware of what they are doing by creating a pipeline of exceptional passive talent. If you typically work with a recruiter, then you don’t necessarily have to worry about creating and nurturing a pipeline yourself- those relationships are a big part of their job- but we do recommend keeping your pipelines up-to-date in order to keep a shorter time-to-fill.
An effective talent pipeline contains current promotable employees, the talent you’ve engaged in the past that meet the job requirements, and members of your team’s personal networks. Once you have a good list of potential employees, don’t just let it sit in Excel until your next hiring push. Check in periodically to see how the list members are doing professionally and personally. Show a genuine interest in their long-term goals and point out how their ambitions match up with your vision.
Periodic engagement with your talent pipeline is the best way to nurture rock-star talent and assess cultural fit for positions in the future. Make the time to make it apart of your strategy, or find a recruiter that does the same.
Don’t Compromise on Requirements
One mistake a lot of companies make during periods of growth is hiring superstar candidates for the sake of their reputations without evaluating how the person’s leadership style compares to the overall vision. A glowing reputation can distract you from the long-term harm a bad-fit can have on your employer brand, culture, and growth. It can also keep you from hiring with specific skill sets and requirements in mind.
You need to know that the candidate in question has the technical skills, passion, and buy-in to contribute to your vision. Be specific about exactly what you need. Neither party at the interview table wants their time wasted, so make sure that you’re telling your search team or recruiter which requirements are flexible and which are not.
Include behavioral and value-based questions in your interviews and stress job specifications that meet your values (team-focused, collaborative, etc).
Hiring in executive roles requires clear strategy, open communication, and time. Whether you’re using a recruiter to narrow the playing field or not, it’s essential to hire with your vision in mind. Provide detailed information to candidates about the future of your company and how the skills and experience they bring to the table directly influence that future. Remember, the perfect fit is out there- it might just take time to find them.