When creating a recruiting strategy, you are shaping the future of your organization and its company culture. Those you hire today will make vital decisions tomorrow, especially when they are part of the company's senior leadership. The price of a bad executive hire can be costly; some studies suggest that hiring the wrong executive can cost the business up to 213% of that professional’s salary (in the form of recruiting and productivity costs), as well as potential org-wide damages to morale.  

But finding and selecting the ideal candidate isn’t enough to ensure your company’s long-term success. To enable sustainable progress, you need to build a structured approach that takes into account the evolving demands of your business while nurturing the ongoing learning & development of your team.

Hiring is always a challenging task, as it’s well known that toxic employees can wreak havoc on entire teams, while star contributors can take a business to the next level. However, when recruiting senior executives, the undertaking is multiplied as these individuals are crucial to so many parts of the organization. By managing critical assignments, these professionals will execute the vision of your company and drive growth. Therefore, it’s essential to consider how to take all the right steps in hiring, building and retaining the core team.

The tips below outline how to hire and build a productive team of senior executives.

RECRUITING STAGE

1.     BUILD A COMPREHENSIVE HIRING STRATEGY

The strongest candidates for CEO, CFO, and other senior-level roles have years of experience and translatable skills that make them consistently in high-demand. Hence, executive recruiting requires more than the typical process of posting to a job board and waiting for candidates to come to you -- you need to tailor your hiring approach to these executives and leverage relationships to attract the best talent.

Executive candidates know that they are rare assets to an organization. That gives them the advantage of being able to choose the conditions of their future work. Thus, they typically already have a vision of their ideal company, and will turn away opportunities that don’t align with their ambitions.

As you are competing for top talents against some of the most successful organizations, you need to entice candidates to seek their place in your company. That is why you should pay attention to your inbound strategy and create a talent pool of applicants who are passionate about your brand and mission. Furthermore, by focusing on generating a strong employer brand, you will encourage the organic growth of your talent pool.

2.     BUILD AN ATTRACTIVE EMPLOYER BRAND

In order to build a strong employer brand, you’ll need to exemplify your company culture at every step in the hiring funnel.  Show candidates a personal approach when engaging with them. Show pride in your employees and their work. Showcase and highlight their achievements on your website, blog, and social media (Asavi can help you with this! Ask us how). The goal is to put your people, your new hires, and candidates first. External prospects and your current employees should have confidence that your company provides ample development opportunities and celebrates the contributions of its team members.‍

Put your people, your new hires, and your candidates first. External prospects and current employees should have confidence that your company celebrates the contributions of its team members.

Inspire candidates to care about your culture, but also encourage employees to be brand ambassadors. Through sharing the story of your company’s journey, you’ll give insights to the candidates and arouse their interest to be a part of your brand. Senior executives are frequently called upon to speak at conferences and on panels – encourage this participation and help promote these events (which in-turn promotes your company).  Also, use social media to share unique aspects of your company and organizational culture. Social media channels allow the promise behind your brand to speak and attract both active and passive job seekers. Through engaging and visually appealing content and stories, you can continuously present the employee value proposition.

Senior-level applicants will conduct thorough research to identify the employer who can best fulfill their needs and allow the next evolutionary step in their careers. Possessing a powerful asset, such as a well-known brand, can help you lure in the right new team members with relevant skills.

3.    INCENTIVIZE EMPLOYEE REFERRALS

Employee referrals are one of the most efficient hiring techniques, and 82 percent of employers rate them above all other sources for generating the best return on investment. Referrals can be especially crucial for the pursuit of senior-level candidates. By creating a process for your employees to recommend new recruits, you’re able to show that you value the input of your team and – if a referral candidate is chosen – the new hire will have the added advantage of knowing a trusted contact at the company.  With the referred employee having a friend to turn to, their onboarding will likely be smoother and they can start being productive more quickly.

The general recruiting process is both time and resource-intensive as the hiring manager and HR team is tasked with crafting a compelling job description, attracting job applicants, reviewing resumes, and screening. When recruiting via referral, you can save your company from a time-consuming and expensive use of overhead.

4.    ASSESS CANDIDATES FOR EXPERIENCE OVER PEDIGREE

Due to the social nature of the hiring process, recruiting is prone to bias. The resume review is the first point when prejudices and ‘gut feel’ tend to influence hiring managers. Unfortunately, as humans, recruiters can’t prevent making subjective conclusions while trying to identify the most compatible employee. Hiring managers often filter resumes according to academic prestige and previous workplace ranking. But while those data points can say a lot about the candidate, resumes can’t entirely predict success.

The goal is to build a management team of productive and skilled individuals. But a candidate previously working in a Fortune 500 company or the hottest tech startup isn’t the absolute indicator of them being the right fit for your company. Thus, selecting job applicants solely according to their previous connection with world-renowned brands runs the risk of diminishing the diversity and effectiveness of the team.

To genuinely assess a candidate’s competence and potential, recruiters should turn more to their overall experience, testimonials, and reference checks. Therefore, hiring managers should try to nurture a holistic approach when reviewing resumes. Looking beyond the resume headers will allow hiring managers to give fair and equal consideration to candidates without regard to gender, ethnicity, color, age, or religion.

When assessing the candidate, analyze whether their experience shows that they could fulfill the job position’s requirements, and how they can contribute with their ideas and perspectives. Don’t just evaluate job applicants with a quick scan that eliminates promising talents that don’t have eminent organizations in their resume.

BUILDING THE TEAM AND RETAINING TOP TALENTS

5.    GIVE YOUR EXECUTIVES ROOM TO FLY

The most successful companies always have a future-oriented strategy that focuses on more than the short-term goal of selecting the ideal candidate. They nurture the team by understanding each employee’s needs and goals, which in return makes them more loyal and determined to stay.

Executive teams play a crucial role in every company, but you have the responsibility to entice their drive and success.

But how can you build a highly efficient and productive management team for the long-run?

First, get to know your team members. After providing an engaging and thorough onboarding, recruiters should evaluate their new hires’ goals and understand what drives them. Show trust in their abilities by giving them flexibility to align the right resources to determine and establish their vision and strategy. Show them by example what you expect in a leader and ensure that they understand their role and responsibilities in the team.

Keep in mind that while senior executives are already professionals with years of knowledge and experience, that doesn’t mean these individuals are done learning. Make sure that they have continuous mental stimulation and challenges that provide pathways to grow and progress in your company. Further, make sure they are actively seeking ways to grow their professional network and stay current on industry best practices.

There should be a sense of harmony and transparency in the communication of the management team. Provide a supportive environment for interaction and ensure that executives are comfortable both inside of the team and in public. Make efforts to ensure your new executives have a platform for leadership in the company, and that they are able to diffuse processes, decisions and rules, with the appropriate level of visibility and impact across the entire company.

Besides using novelty, autonomy, and career development to motivate senior executives to stay, ensure you maintain a market competitive salary and benefits. Executives crave to feel that their employer values their effort and contribution. Therefore, provide your management team with recognition and satisfying remuneration - including proactively driving bonus discussions when a team member performs exceptional work.

In return, employees will recognize the value and benefits of being a part of your brand and company.