Navigating The Executive Hire Process — 4 Approaches For Success

Posted on January 14, 2020 by .

Placing an executive hire is a uniquely challenging endeavor. It requires a mix of cultural fit with the right leadership experience, which can seem like finding a needle in a haystack. As a result, the process is often time consuming, some calling it all around tedious. 

In our journey, we’ve helped several companies complete their executive hire. While we understand the useful steps and traits needed, there’s always room to learn more. That’s why we wanted to take a deeper dive into this topic. 

We’re examining the challenges and what to consider when you’re seeking a new member of your C-suite. As you know, this isn’t just any employee. It’s a significant member of your team that impacts fundamental decisions. You need to find candidates with experience aligned with your type of business. 

These candidates are also unique regarding discovery. According to an Experteer career services survey, 97 percent of senior candidates want to be ‘found’ or ‘approached’ by headhunters for relevant vacancies. That means they’re likely not applying to your positions. You need to make the first approach and foster a bond to find the best executive hire. 

If all this is making you even more overwhelmed, don’t fret. We’re outlining a set of essential factors to consider during this journey to help you succeed and find your next senior team member. 

Tips for Making a Successful Executive Hire 

Before you start your search, you need to sit down with your current C-Suite and get aligned. When your team is on the same page, it will reduce communication gaps and potential disagreements around candidates. That means less time wasted (hopefully). 

Define the Role

As we’ve outlined previously, compelling job descriptions are critically important when searching for candidates. Clearly defining the role and its responsibilities will help the candidates understand your goals and expectations. You can easily save time and weed out people that don’t fit the mold. 

During this process, do your research. Find out what other companies similar to yours say in their descriptions for an executive hire. It’s okay to borrow traits and language if it helps define your role. 

You can also brainstorm with your team and imagine your ideal executive candidate. Take time to create a persona. Define the type of candidate who would be a perfect fit not only for your C-level position but also for your industry and your company culture.

Once this process is complete, if you can create three bullet points explaining how the position can enable your company to do and accomplish your goals, you’re in a good spot. Define their capabilities, why it’s essential, and how the role is key to your company’s product, technology, strategy, or roadmap. 

Be very clear and paint a picture that entices them to be part of your exciting future growth. 

Leverage Many Tools

Today, there are many resources to help you make your next executive hire. You don’t need to stick to one or two methods. We find that when our clients use our recruitment services along with referrals, LinkedIn searches, and direct conversations, they’re more successful. That’s because the more you communicate, the broader your range becomes to reach available and excited candidates. 

Don’t forget to tap into your resources in-house. Chances are, your team and your business connections have a deep network of potential executive candidates. Make a list of all the people with vast networks, which include board members, advisers, investors, executives at partner companies, or anyone who has a stake in the company’s success. Then, have them start helping you make connections with potential candidates. 

Look for the Right Traits 

Executives have unique features that make them effective leaders. But it’s important to know that these changes and evolve based on your company’s needs. Most importantly, it would help if you look for candidates with leadership experience. Executives help get the rest of the team aligned and excited about your company’s initiatives. Also, ensure they align with your company values. That’s very important. 

Other traits every executive should have include: 

  • Learn from their mistakes and make positive changes moving forward
  • Strong communication skills
  • A genuine listener with an ability to transform ideas into realities 
  • Ability to take calculated risks 
  • Adaptable, especially to unique management styles 

Exercise Patience

Finally, understanding from the get go that hiring an executive requires extra deliberation and consideration will better prepare your team’s mindset for the long haul. Knowing it can take several long months to find the right executive hire should not deter any company from the search, but rather enhance the communication between all parties involved to make it happen.

Although finding the right fit for such a heavy role takes a considerable amount of time, it also saves time in the long run to be confident in your decision.  As it can take a new hire anywhere from six to twelve months to adjust to new processes and culture, avoid rushing into an executive hire to save your company productivity and money overall.

These tips should help you get a jump start on your next executive hire. Most importantly, prepare. Outline the role and what features the candidate should possess to fit your team. Your company and current employees matter, and you should only hire someone that agrees with the current system.  Visit our website for more resources and ideas to expedite the process of finding your next executive hire.


Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!

 

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