Refined Recruiting: Building a Better Executive Search Experience

By now, every business is aware of the dramatic shifts in job market dynamics. For millions of open positions, candidates are now in the driver’s seat. But executive search is high-level recruiting, and executive recruiters operate in a talent market less susceptible to sudden change. Still, wise recruiters keep track of trends, regularly survey the market landscape, and use the most effective tools in pursuit of the best business leadership.

What’s new?

Executive search has always been more talent-driven than the broader job market, and a talent-driven market demands more creativity from a recruiting strategy. A fresh approach includes stepping up your flexibility, leveraging market and company data, building an employer brand, and thinking beyond limits — and even borders.

Of the current trends in executive search, those most likely to stick around include:

  • Remote recruitment. Today’s talent search requires more advanced tools to create the remote recruiting experience quality candidates expect. Smart recruiters are investing in the advanced digital technology and innovative, data-driven search processes necessary to optimize remote capability.
  • Passive hiring. Passive candidates aren’t looking for a change, but they’re often the most qualified executive prospects. Attracting these elusive candidates means offering a more positive work environment, building an employer brand talent aspires to work with, and/or presenting an irresistible professional challenge.
  • Talent mapping. Employers use internal talent mapping to refine their understanding of the skills and qualifications of current employees. Mapping data informs recruiting and hiring decisions by identifying the skill sets that drive business success, the candidates who possess said skills, what they want in a new opportunity, and the compensation they expect in return.
  • Going global. In an increasingly remote business culture, the ideal executive candidate may be around the corner, across the country, or on the other side of the world. With today’s technology, recruiting isn’t limited by proximity. The business world is digitally smaller, but the talent pool has gone global.

Clearing the hurdles

Recruiting top executive talent can be challenging under what were previously considered “normal” circumstances, so employers fall back on what they know best, which frequently means falling into the carbon copy trap. An executive search should not seek out candidates whose qualifications match those of current company leadership. Instead, to borrow a strategy from baseball, recruiters should focus on the select skills and experiential history that predict a candidate’s future prospects for success.

In a knowledge-based economy, executive leadership contributes to company success in any number of ways, so determining the unique contributions a single hire can offer is vital to building a strong executive bench. Rather than stick to a strict list of specific requirements, successful recruiters focus on finding candidates who rank as “net-positive contributors.” This talent may not tick all the boxes, but they will stand out by excelling in one or two critical categories — and their long-term potential to add value.

To identify these candidates, it’s essential to establish and prioritize KPIs for measuring executive performance. Analyze all the data at your disposal to identify your leadership team’s strengths and weaknesses. Filling an open executive position is not about replicating your company’s existing talent. It’s about shoring up the weak spots and creating new opportunities for success.

Winning moves

Every business wants the best, and getting the best recruiting result starts with a sound strategy and ends with deliberate, intentional action. In between, it’s all about data — and the right recruiting partner.

First, define the result you want. Remember to prioritize talent decisions that contribute to long-term business success and address gaps in your existing executive bench. Then you’re ready to reverse engineer your recruiting strategy, review all the relevant data, identify the data you’re missing, collect and analyze that data, apply it to your strategy, survey the available talent, match your open position to a net-positive contributor, negotiate a competitive offer, onboard your new executive, and finally — maybe — call it a win.

Or you can develop a long-term relationship with an experienced executive search firm who knows exactly what it takes to help companies and candidates succeed.

Consider these questions:

  • What’s your time to fill on an open executive position?
  • What are the most effective KPIs for your specific search?
  • Do you have the data to inform a sound decision?
  • How do your compensation and company culture stack up to the competition?

Recruiting executive talent is a big job. An executive search firm brings experience and proven methods to your search strategy. The right long-term search partner knows your business, helps you establish KPIs, delivers accurate and relevant data with radical transparency, and painlessly manages an effective executive talent recruiting process. For your next executive search, call on an experienced partner — and call it a win.