Written by: Thomas Ryan
Recruiters from time-to-time need executives to fit roles and openings in their firms at varying levels. Finding the right executive(s) who both: stays in the job and, consistently meets performance expectations is the most important challenge. If, you are planning to launch a new executive search for a top-notch business executive, then, in order to optimize your executive search, you need to keep the following seven tips in mind:
1. Understand how retained recruitment for executives is different:
Clear understanding of how a retained executive search consultant can help your firm:
I. If your firm wants to attract executives currently employed with your competitors;
II. If the right candidate(s) may not actually be seeking for any new opportunities;
III. If the task of recruiting such executive(s) requires both confidentiality and the use of special resources due to the expected difficulties that may arise within the recruitment process.
IV. That the recruitment of such an executive may require connectivity with a network or access to referral sources and may even entail the conversion of business leaders into candidates.
In all of the above scenarios, one should consider employing the “retained recruitment” services of a professional recruiter (recruitment firm).
2. preparation and Homework:
Very often, selecting the right executive search consultant plays the most important role in the success or failure of your executive search process. Thus, before selecting and engaging the recruitment firm, invest time in doing due diligence and assessment of your available options. Your reasearch should include information on: which consultants are both: qualified and best suited to lead the executive search. Your choice of right recruitment consultant should be driven by the most important factors: suitability and efficiency. Quite obviously, many a times, the firm’s name and brand govern the choice of the recruitment firm. However, rather than choosing just a brand name, it is very important to ensure that the recruitment firm is best suited for the particular requirement. Remember, quality is of paramount importance when it comes to “executive search”.
3. Cost-per-hire is not the only decider:
While cost-per-hire is a very good barometer for recruiting, however, when it comes to executive recruitment and executive search decisions, cost-per-hire should not be your only screening tool. At the executive level, hiring is done for either business growth or profitability enhancement. Thus cost-avoidance should not be the sole guiding star. In order to hire the right executive, thus, importance should be given to either profitability or business development (as the case may be). Unfortunately, many firms delegate retained executive search to the lowest-bidding recruiters. It’s quite simple; you will get only what you pay for!
4. Recruiting for Diversity:
Diversity recruitment is both the right and the smart thing to do. Particularly for senior level employees. Before the recruiter embarks on your executive recruitment process, consider the diverse perspectives you wish your team should include. Firms mostly think of “fit” when considering a candidate. A “fit” does not necessarily mean a candidate who is the same as your current team. Instead, you are looking for an executive who is both unique and contributes traits that may be missing in your current team. It is important: not to assume that your recruitment consultant will target diverse leadership candidates by themselves. You as a recruiter should specify to your recruitment firm that the objective of the executive search assignment is diversity.
5. Showcase the Complete Package:
Top level executive candidates have equal career options as compared to other candidates. It is a wrong assumption that career options reduce as candidates climb the management cadre. Thus, recruiters should not assume such limitations. Another important aspect that every recruiter should remember is: the candidates are evaluating the recruiter as much as the firms recruiting them. Do not forget to portray the achievements of your firm within the interview. Be enthusiastic and highlight key points on your organization, your team and the current opportunity. If the executive is a good “fit”, he/she will be attracted to your firm’s achievements and will feel a sense of enthusiasm as well. In short it is all about showcasing the complete package by the interviewer.
6. Avoid Delays in the Interview Process:
Timely interviews, evaluation and feedback are crucial aspects of success in recruiting. When it comes to executive recruitment, it is more so important. Candidates at executive level expect an expeditious interview process as well. If you are committed to be a stakeholder in your firm’s executive search assignment, ensure you follow a clear and timely schedule to meet, evaluate and communicate with both your recruitment consultant and the candidates in a timely manner. If, due to your tight schedule there is a delays in the candidate selection process, it could cost your company top candidates. When it comes to executive candidates, remember, the opportunity cost of losing the top candidate is huge; the best executive candidates will not wait for you if your decisions are not timely.
7. Reference and Background Checks:
While almost all recruitment consultants will offer reference check services along with their executive recruitment service, not all offer background checking services. Background checking function is very important specially when you are hiring executives. If, your selected recruitment firm is known to provide a good background check service, you can delegate background checking to them. Otherwise, background checks should either be conducted by the hiring firm or a special set of background check agencies. In any the cases, before conducting a background check, it is important to include a form for candidates to consent to a background check. Background checks should not only be limited to screening of candidates against the criminal records database; they should also include confirmation of: past employment; education credentials etc.
To conclude, executive search and hiring is a complex process and is a process which firms seldom perform. A common checklist of things that you should consider while hiring executives is freely available online. We at JRG Partners have populated the above tasks or tips for recruiters in order to assist them in addressing the more important and often looked-over aspects of executive recruitment. Hope our clients in particular and the US recruitment industry in general will benefit from these tips.