Executive recruitment

Executive recruitment
If you want to build your job prospects, get out in the city and get networking.

How to find and attract top executives.

In order to survive – let alone thrive – in a down economy, companies big and small need dedicated senior executives with the wisdom and vision to lead. Today’s successful companies must navigate an ever-changing landscape of challenge. From emergent technologies to the spread of globalization, their C-level executives must make decisions skillfully and courageously in high-pressure environments. Perhaps not surprisingly, some 40 per cent of new executive hires in Canada are again looking for a job within 18 months.

Looking for – and then losing – top talent costs a company dearly. You need a targeted human resource strategy to find the candidate with the experience, dedication, and moxie to chart a course – not just for stability, but also for growth. What can companies do to ensure they’ve installed Captain Columbus on the bridge, not Captain Highliner? For your consideration: Five tips for successful executive recruiting.

Executive search firms – understanding their role

As much as you might like to outsource your search for a new CEO, you can’t: Being active in the search is key to finding the right person. An executive search firm can speed along the hiring process, helping to match your company’s needs with the right pool of candidates. But unless you know what you need, your candidate is likely to be a poor fit.

Just as important is making sure you understand the type of search firm you need – and checking its references before recruiting it to the task. Consider hiring an executive search professional to work, in house, with your HR team. A partner with intimate knowledge of your industry will deliver better results than one at arm’s length.

Know where to start your search for executives

Before it’s “executive overboard” at your firm, it’s good to make sure you have your oar in the water – of the talent pool. This is especially important for hard-to-fill and high-volume C-suite positions. Among other factors, ambition fatigue has many mid-career professionals leaving traditional work to take positions with non-profits, social enterprise consultancies, and other outfits. The good news is, it’s not a one-way trip. Many high-value executives are ready to make the leap back into the for-profit world.

Important: While looking further afield, don’t neglect the talent in your own backyard. Are there candidates who have excelled within your company culture? If so, they could be ripe for promotion. Sound succession grooming can save your HR department big money in the long run.

Know your value to attract top talent

Attracting top talent can be challenging at the best of times. Big fish – that is, high-performing executives – are often reluctant to leave the confines of the pond they know.

That’s why understanding your own corporate culture is vital. Often, more than zeros on a salary or stock options, what top executives care about is a company’s reputation. Take steps to strengthen your brand as an employer. Whether through PR events, web presence, or client referrals, you should be able to make a clear and cogent case for your company’s excellence. It will help attract better candidates, as well as galvanize the employees you already have.

Networks will connect you with future executives

Perhaps the best way to get a lead on a job candidate is through professional networks. A big network is good, but it’s important that you know what you’re looking for. Get social: Make yourself present at meetings of renowned professional associations and conferences. It’s the sort of work too important to be done off the side of someone’s desk. Nominate a star networker to stay on top of the sundry channels in which top executives move. Maintaining those relationships will keep your company top of mind when desirable talent is thinking of moving on.

Whenever possible, engage internal executives in networking and candidate search – as your in-house evangelists, they’re an extremely valuable asset. Often, the primary reason a senior executive explores a new career opportunity is because it comes attached to a trusted recommendation.