What to Expect in Executive Search in 2021
Industry trends in executive search have accelerated shifts in the executive talent acquisition process – video interviewing, reliance on tech, executive expectations, remote onboarding, and more. The increased complexities of talent attraction, management and performance took its toll on the industry in 2020.
Here’s what you can expect and tips to optimize your executive search process in 2021
Employer branding should still be at the forefront of your executive search strategy.
In a recent 2020 job seeker study performed by JobVite, 81% of candidates think company culture is an important factor in their decision to apply for a role or not. Executives in particular are tuned into how employees are being treated and how the leadership team interacts with one another and their teams. Authenticity and transparency into your organization and the inner workings will help executive candidates determine if your organization would be a suitable fit for their career ambitions and personalities. Use your digital assets, website and social media pages, to let candidates get to really know your values and culture as on organization.
Your application process needs to be simple and easy to navigate and understand.
It’s 2021, and executive candidates have likely been through a lot in 2020. Your executive application process needs to be a positive experience. There should be no confusion, and it should be a simple fill in the form or click to apply process for job seekers. If not, you won’t convert interested and qualified candidates. Those that you deem qualified can then be screened similar to headhunted candidates for more detailed information, etc.
For those that you have headhunted, you need to be able to provide enough information on the role, the organization and what to expect. If you simply provide a job description, it will not be convincing enough for someone to consider jumping ship from their current role to consider a new one. Your executive search strategy should include a prioritized focus on increasing the conversion of candidates for your executive headhunting efforts for each role.
Use data-driven headhunting techniques to increase response rates from qualified executive candidates.
There is an abundance of data available to you through your internal processes and executive recruitment or online that can help you optimize your executive headhunting performance. Understand the best days of the week to reach out, the best time of day to reach out, and truly understand your ideal candidates and how they behave. Think of it through the lens of a marketer – use data to your advantage to optimize every dollar and minute spent on your executive search efforts. Create ideal executive candidate personas and create personalized headhunting messages to resonate with their interests and behaviours.
In addition to executive headhunting techniques, work with your marketing teams to optimize organic reach and performance of executive job posts on your organization’s social media channels through data. At Keynote Search we have uncovered that the best day to post executive roles on social media is on Tuesdays at around 9am. We have optimized the performance of our social networks by increasing our reach and engagement with data-driven decisions that have increased the number of qualified applicants for our roles.
Executive candidates will demand more flexibility than ever before
With COVID-19 lockdowns and the uncertainty of the pandemic still looming in the early days of 2021, executive candidates are looking for flexible work schedules to ensure they are able to balance home life with their professional life. This also includes the flexibility to be able to work both from the office as well as remotely to suit their needs for specific days. We expect companies to offer more flexibility and executive candidates to expect that flexibility to get the job done where they want, when they want, and how they want. Clear communication and expectations on flexibility are necessary early on in the executive search process in order to align candidates expectations to reduce the risk of candidates opting out in the later stages of the process or after offers have been made.
Expect a continued focus on digital executive search strategies and tools.
Given the current environment, growth in remote work, and COVID-19 barriers, executive recruitment will continue to utilize digital tools such as Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams and more to interview candidates. These tools have broadened the horizons for executive recruiters and have allowed all executive candidates (local, national, global) to be evaluated consistently against each other through virtual interviewing.
Expect a continued focus on diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion will play a larger role in the executive search process to ensure a wide-variety of candidates with different backgrounds are identified for a fair hiring process. There will be a delibrerate and dedicated focus by organizations to identify and remove any potential biases in their executive search process. If you do not make this a priority in 2021, you will fall behind your competitors to attract talent and risk damaging your employer brand and reputation – it is simply unexceptable to have outdated techniques, messaging, or job descriptions in this day and age. In 2020 specifically, organizations have realized the value of having a diverse group of executives at the leadership table to make better decisions, especially during uncertain times. For more insights check out “Manaing Diversity in the Executive Search Process“
Expect a post-COVID hiring blitz
As vaccines continue to be administered and available to the masses, companies will recover and ramp up strategic executive hiring to accelerate business performance and lead organizations through a new era of growth. With increased competition for talent likely ramping up with the warmer weather in 2021’s spring and summer seasons, organizations that begin the executive search process early will have a competitive advantage over those that wait to recruit top talent all at the same time.