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Best Practices for Recruiting Executives

Hiring a new executive can be a tricky proposition. You can’t approach an experienced professional the same way you would a fresh college graduate, especially if you’re trying to recruit top talent away from their current position. Let’s take a look at some best practices for partnering with an executive search firm and recruiting executives for your company.

Clearly define job specifications.

The more specific you can be, the more likely it is that you’ll find the right executive for the position. This is especially true if a recruiter will be handling the search for you. Include behavioral specifications (team-focused, open to new ideas) as well as professional qualifications. And remember to identify which requirements you can be flexible on and which ones are must-haves.

Don’t be blinded by a candidate’s superstar status.

Don’t hire someone based on reputation alone. You need to know that the candidate in question has the specific qualifications you want and can fill the niche required by your company. Candidates who are considered superstars by others sometimes begin to think of themselves that way as well, and that can lead to conflicts within the company.

Make sure everyone on your recruitment team understands the hiring goals and strategy.

If different interviewers emphasize different values and goals, the candidate may feel that you are not unified on the expectations for the position or the strategy for implementation. More than one executive has rejected a job offer based on poor communication of job requirements. Don’t let it happen to you.

Demonstrate the value of the position.

By the time they reach executive level, most professionals are concerned with more than salary alone. They want to know what they will learn from the position, what impact it will have on their career, and how they can make a real difference to your company. Focus on demonstrating the intrinsic benefits of the job, not just the monetary ones.


Communicate respect during the process.

Executive candidates have a lot of experience and talent to bring to the table, and they should be treated with mutual respect. Answer emails and phone calls promptly, provide information about what kind of onboarding process they can expect, and let them know you value their time.

Finding the right person to fill an executive role requires time, clear communication, and an executive search strategy. A recruiter can help you manage the process, but it’s up to you to provide detailed information about the kind of skills and experience you’re looking for and to follow-up with a deliberate, purposeful interview process.