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Since the economy has recovered, the market for executive talent has heated up and candidate shelf life is finite. Recent research has shown that companies adept at recruiting leaders have 3.5 times the revenue growth and 2.1 times the profit margin of others. Does your team have the time, capacity and expertise for a truly successful executive recruitment strategy? If this is not already high on your priority list, you need to bump it up to a prime spot.

The Next in Line: Look Within

You’re often better off filling leadership spots with people you’ve groomed yourself, as long as you have an effective plan for replacing them.

  • Use an employee annual report. This is a once-a-year personal development interview where employees are asked to describe the next job they’d like within your company. Discussion centers on what they need to do to qualify for the position. If it’s feasible, they are encouraged to pursue it. Progress toward this goal is tracked on an ongoing basis.
  • Your culture should be built on creating growth opportunities. Succession planning is a natural outgrowth of this commitment. Develop a process where you strategically move people from one job level to the next, allowing them to advance in their careers as your company grows.
  • If you fail to do succession planning, it’s difficult to provide the right training. The best training is the kind you offer because people really want a job. Unless it’s targeted to the specific needs of each individual, your training will be hit-and-miss at best. If employees clearly know the qualifications they need and are given the opportunity to go after them, your training dollars will be well spent.

Outside Your Walls

At the same time you build your internal talent pipeline, you should be continuously recruiting in the external candidate marketplace.

  • Start conversations and build relationships. Optimize your personal and social networks to reach passive candidates as well as those actively seeking new opportunities. If you can hire them today, more power to you. If not, nurture and cultivate these connections. Then when you are ready to bring them on board, you can take quick, efficient action.
  • Executives hire executives. Your in-house recruiter helps, but your CEO owns recruitment. They’re routinely called upon to influence key customers, vendors and business partners, so it’s logical they should also play a major role in talent acquisition. HR should consistently feed the CEO market intelligence, identifying and building relationships with leading talent. Evaluate those who are most successful and then involve your CEO at the point where it makes sense. When an opening presents itself, if you’ve done it right, you’ll know who you want. Your CEO can lead the process, but you’re the expert pulling it all together.

Retain Your Current Superstars

To keep your current top executives, give them what they want: more responsibility, training and development, and opportunities to broaden their professional networks.

  • Executives rank opportunities to work on challenging tasks and take on more responsibility higher than any other career satisfaction factors. Providing these venues helps you to identify and develop your next generation of leaders.
  • Offer training in broad business skills. These include teamwork, understanding of ethical standards and effective communication. Executives want to further build their value by acquiring knowledge of operations outside their particular areas of expertise. For instance, train your marketing executives in general operations – and vice versa.
  • Facilitate networking. This helps your leaders establish connections, increase their visibility and learn from their peers.

The executive search consultants at BrainWorks can partner with you to remove the guesswork from your most important hiring decisions. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.


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