5 Considerations Before You Start Your Next Executive Search

5 Considerations Before You Start Your Next Executive Search

Selecting a new employee is a critical decision that requires a comprehensive approach to maximize success and minimize the risk of the hire. When it comes to executive level searches there is certainly a need for additional, detailed attention to be paid during the hiring process. Here are 5 considerations before you begin your next executive search.

1. Who will be involved with the Executive Search? Who are the key stakeholders?

It is crucial to come up with a concise plan for your executive search regarding how this pertinent decision will be made. Decide who will be a part of the process. Determining a search committee, to debate and discuss candidates will ensure alignment within the business. It is crucial to decide who will be the key decision makers involved in the hiring process (i.e. members from the c-suite, human resources, etc).

Throughout the entire duration of the search, transparent and in-depth communication is instrumental in finding the right talent. Depending on what route you are taking to employ a new executive, an executive search professional is recommended to assist in this strategic decision with the committee.

2. Have you clearly defined the role?

Before beginning a search it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the role and have parameters as to what you are looking for in an ideal candidate in order for them to be successful. Examples of considerations and questions to ask yourselves:

  • What are the key personal attributes required for the position in terms of both the role and the business?
  • What is on the list of core competencies required to succeed in the role?
  • What education is mandatory? What would be considered an asset?
  • What career history is essential for the executive required to lead/implement the business’ strategy?
  • What industry and size of organizations should the candidate have exposure to?
  • Within this, what are the experience parameters?

3. What does success look like?

It is important that you have a clear idea of what success looks like. What results would you expect from a candidate in order to consider the hire a success after the first year? Perhaps there are milestones you want them to reach after a certain time frame (i.e. 90 days). If you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve it is easier to compare candidates against how they align with your goals and their abilities to drive the right success.

4. Define your culture, values and vision.

Your top candidates at some point in the executive search process will inevitably ask a few simple questions like “Can you tell me about your culture?” or “Where do you see the company in x number of years?”. Being able to articulate a clear and concise response is crucial. In many instances the executives you are interviewing are employed elsewhere and you need to convince them why they should make the move to your company. If you cannot articulate what you stand for as a company, in a clear message, you will be doing yourself a disservice by creating doubt in the candidates mind.

Once you have defined your culture you need to look for candidates that fit with it. Check out one of our recent blogs on how to assess the cultural fit of a candidate.

5. Research the market thoroughly

One of the most common mistakes when hiring for any position is having unrealistic expectations for either the job description or the compensation for the position. It is essential that you perform a comprehensive assessment of what the market is bearing for your next executive hire in terms of the role and compensation.

Do you find the strategies or execution of competitors or similar businesses effective? Look up who their executives are online (LinkedIn can be very helpful) and see what their experience, roles and skills are.

Ask your peers or close contacts at other organizations for a summary of the compensation packages that they provide for their executives or similar positions. For example, ask questions such as, “What types of performance-based bonuses do you have?”

Aligning your job description and compensation with current market conditions can increase the probability of finding the right candidate that will be interested in working for your organization. Employers that set unrealistic expectations commonly face unsuccessful search results.

What should you look for in an Executive Search firm?

If you are employing an executive search firm to help with the search for your next executive, ensure that you consider the following when choosing the right firm for your search:

  • Do we feel that the level of experience at the organization and the team itself is credible?
  • Do we trust them and feel as though they are a good fit to do business with?
  • Do they leverage modern search techniques and technology or do they rely on advertising and a database?
  • Can they build predictive psychological profiles of candidates if needed to compare prospects?
  • How strong is their guarantee? Is it based upon the success of the candidate in their new role?
  • Do they provide an onboarding plan that is compatible with our organization?
  • Are they transactional in the sense that they simply look to find a candidate or do they support their success through post-placement support?

10 Common Reasons Organizations Hire Executive Search & Recruitment Firms

  • Access a wider range of talent, including candidates with specialized or scarcely found skills
  • Mitigate the risk of critical hires at the C-Suite and leadership levels
  • Find potential candidates that are not actively looking for a new role
  • Confidentially replace current underperforming executives while they are still in their roles
  • Undertake an unbiased search to find the most qualified candidate
  • Look to hire candidates from competitors or target companies that you have a good relationship with
  • Current successors are not qualified for an executive role
  • Lack of time or resources in-house
  • Focus on hiring long-term executives who will perform in your environment
  • Not having any success internally to find the right candidate

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