Executive hiring: How to find & engage your next great leader

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By The Fetcher Team

Executive hiring: How to find & engage your next great leader

8 mins read

How to find your next great leader
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The hiring process for C-suite roles is a critical aspect of any organization's success. The individuals who hold these positions have a significant impact on the company's direction, culture, and bottom line. A thoughtful and well-planned hiring process is essential to ensure that the right person is selected for the job.

Hiring a CEO, CFO, or other high-level executive is not just about finding someone with the right skills and experience. It's also about finding a candidate who embraces and elevates the company's values, vision, and long-term goals.

C-suite hiring is also time-consuming; on average, it takes twice as long to hire executives vs other levels of roles. A thoughtful hiring process can help identify the best candidate for the job quickly, minimize wasted time for the candidates and your company, and set the company up for success in the years to come.

We asked business leaders and people pros their top tactics for effectively recruiting and hiring for C-suite level roles. Their strategies include:

Showcase Your Company Culture

For any recruiting campaign, the first step is to define the role and create a job description. C-suite roles are high-level, strategic positions that require prospective candidates to have a deep understanding of the company, its goals, and its culture. So, it is important to include specific examples of your company's culture and how it relates to your business strategy in the job description.

By doing so, you can attract qualified candidates who understand and align with your unique culture and values. This will help you filter out candidates who are not a good fit for the position and save time and resources on interviewing candidates who are not qualified.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO - Rephrasely

Use a Skills Matrix

It's important to have a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a C-suite executive so that you can clearly communicate the job requirements to candidates. This will help you identify the best candidates for your leadership roles.

One tactic I have used is to create a job description that includes the key responsibilities of the role. This allows me to clearly communicate the job requirements to candidates and helps me identify candidates who are best suited for the role.

Additionally, I use a skills matrix to help me identify the skills and experience that are essential for success in the role. This allows me to identify candidates who have the skills and experience that make them a good fit for the role.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO - PitchGrade

Recruit With Intent

Narrow your list early to flatter C-suite employees. Nothing turns executives off like discovering that half their colleagues are up for the same role. While management and other roles might require casting a large net, limit your list of potential applicants for C-suite positions early in the process—ideally before you even begin putting the word out.

Executives know their value, so a company that wastes time looking at too many candidates appears fickle and unsure. It can even be offensive to some applicants. Doing preliminary research ahead of time means you can recruit with intent.

Rob Reeves, CEO and President - Redfish Technology

Leave an impression in your initial outreach

Great leaders are among the most in-demand candidates, across industries. That first point of contact needs to be highly relevant and it needs to leave an impression. Rather than have your recruiter email them or send them an InMail, send that first touchpoint from another member of the leadership team, or a board member. We've found engagement is much higher when executives feel noticed by peers and can make those connections right off the bat.

Andres Blank, CEO and Co-founder - Fetcher

Don't forget your values

With executive recruitment, it's crucial to place a strong emphasis on seeking individuals with a proven track record of embodying the values you, as an organization, want to represent.

Alignment with the company culture is critical to avoid miscommunication, conflict, and other challenges. By carefully evaluating a candidate's values, you can better select individuals who are not only highly skilled and experienced, but also a good fit for the organization, resulting in a more positive and productive workplace.

Piotrek Sosnowski, Chief People and Culture Officer - HiJunior

Build a network of strategic partnerships

One tactic I have used to successfully recruit for C-suite level roles is building a network of strategic partnerships. By connecting with other industry professionals, tapping into their networks and employee referrals, and maintaining relationships over time, I have been able to identify qualified candidates for various positions quickly and efficiently.

This strategy has enabled me to build an expansive candidate pool I can then draw from for C-suite roles. I have also leveraged my partnerships to get more leads and access more resources than I would have had otherwise.

Martin Seeley, CEO - Mattress Next Day

Promote current employees

I have used internal hiring at my agency, which is promoting one of your current employees to assume responsibility for a C-suite level role, and it has worked beautifully for me. The reason is, first, the employee is already familiar with the company's strategies, which can help them make informed decisions quickly and effectively. This saves time and resources that would otherwise be required for recruiting, training, and onboarding an external candidate.

Second, promoting from within can be a great way to reward employees for their loyalty and hard work, and foster a sense of commitment and dedication to the company. This can lead to improved morale, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Last, by promoting an employee who is already aligned with the company's values, you can ensure a better cultural fit for the C-level executive role, reducing the risk of clashes and promoting a more cohesive and effective company culture.

Kartik Ahuja, CEO and Founder - GrowthScribe

Take advantage of referrals

One tactic I've used to successfully recruit for C-suite level roles is leveraging the power of referrals. Having a strong referral system provides access to a pool of quality talent, as candidates can be easily identified and approached through contacts that know them personally.

This is especially beneficial, as it allows you to find people who may not have advertised their candidacy and are unlikely to be found through more traditional methods, such as job boards.

Further, it increases motivation levels, as C-level jobs attract high pay and potential employees don't see this opportunity likely listed in job postings, thus making this referral option an uncommon way of recruitment.

Grace He, People and Culture Director - Team Building

A real-life executive hiring win

By adopting tactics that speak to C-suite-level prospects, you'll deepen and broaden your pipeline of top-tier leaders. With Fetcher, companies can implement strategic sourcing and targeted outreach to find candidates that align with their unique values and goals.

When Network for Good’s Board of Directors first started the conversation around hiring a CEO in 2020, they knew they’d have their work cut out for them. They were looking to bring on someone who would lead Network for Good’s expansion into the emerging Giving & Social Engagement market. They wanted CEO candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, both demographically and professionally.

Danica Remy, Vice Chair at Network for Good recognized that they needed a way to communicate the opportunity quickly, while also giving each candidate the attention they deserved. She turned to Fetcher, and within two months, the search committee had a solid pipeline of candidates from diverse backgrounds. Read the full story about their successful CEO hire through Fetcher.

Danica Remy from Network for Good quote

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