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Recruiting executive talent comes with a lot of risk. Executive positions are high-visibility, high-impact roles. How you fill them can have a significant effect on the future and bottom line of your organization, and you can’t afford to leave them vacant for long.

Be aware of these potential red flags to ensure the best possible hiring results.

Lukewarm References

If the references your candidate provides are less than glowing, you may want to dig a little deeper. Normally people choose references who have only good things to say about them. If those references don’t rave, who would? Read between the lines to find out what is not being said. Contact former superiors or reach out to your network to learn more about the candidate’s reputation in the industry.

Evasive Answers

Look for executives who can give you concrete examples of positive results. At this stage, the candidates you speak to should have a proven record of success and be eager to share them with you. They should explain how achieving these results could benefit your company as well if they are hired.

Average Communication Skills

When you interview an executive candidate, you should be impressed. They should be able to command a room, as well as persuade and impress their audience. Expect them to be capable of answering all questions thoroughly and succinctly. If they can’t demonstrate an ability to lead in the interview, chances are they won’t be capable of performing on the job, either.

Lack of Humility

While it’s critical for an executive to be confident and outspoken, they should also recognize their own shortcomings and acknowledge the help and support they have gotten along the way. Listen for anecdotes where the candidate shares credit with his teammates or subordinates.

Lack of Responsiveness

When you leave a message for a potential executive hire (or ask them to provide additional support materials), you should expect a prompt response. Candidates who answer quickly are engaged, interested and motivated. People put their best foot forward during the recruitment/interview process, so if you don’t hear back from them, they may lack the motivation a job requires. If you have doubts about their professionalism at this stage, you can’t realistically expect improvement.

Slow Follow Up

If you don’t hear back from a candidate when you expect, they may be entertaining more than one offer. This doesn’t make them any less valuable as a candidate, but it should encourage you to put more effort into courting them if you want to be their first choice.

The success of your organization can depend on hiring top executive talent. That’s where BrainWorks excels. Partner with us to identify and attract difficult-to-find executive talent. Contact BrainWorks today to learn more!


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