global recruitment specialists
The Relationship Game
How executive recruitment needs more time, effort and trust by Jason Willis, Reed Human Resources
As the executive jobs market starts to pick up, many employers and their HR teams are reassessing how they can identify and attract new leaders to join their organisation.
From senior management roles to the positions at the very top, succession planning has never been more important. But this level of recruitment requires a much higher level of investment and engagement from all involved in the process.
Grow your own talent
Growing your own talent is one popular way to ensure you don't create a skills gap in your business, but bringing in someone new can give you fresh ideas and provide an alternative point of view.
Indeed, a recent survey by ExecuNet suggests 18% of firms plan to go down this route in 2013, with the top five most transferable skills listed as leadership, proven success in previous industry transition, multi-functional experience, knowledge about the new industry, and team-building and development.
Whatever level of direct sector experience you require, hiring senior executives from outside the organisation requires open and honest relationship building.
"Be prepared to provide your Agency with exclusivity or even better, retain your agency with fees up front."
To begin with, time spent engaging with your preferred recruitment agency is even more important for executive level recruitment. It will be time well spent! Clients should choose a specialist recruiter as their recruitment partner - one that can demonstrate experience and credibility with senior candidates to ensure the candidate journey is a positive one when discussing the client brand.
Be prepared to provide your Agency with exclusivity or even better, retain your agency with fees up front.
This really does give the agency the scope to focus their attention on your vacancy and our experience is that fill rates can exceed 95% for businesses where the relationship is exclusive.
With this in place, the process needed to get to know candidates is also much more in-depth and takes time. At this level, people think very carefully before changing jobs and employers need to establish a dialogue with prospective employees, even in the current economic climate.
The best way to successfully recruit at an executive level is to talk to a selected long list in depth about their careers – too often calls seem to be too brief. The type of pre-screen required should take far longer and get into the fine detail of specific projects. Not only does this give you the information you need, it also gives candidates the opportunity to explore how they would fit into your organisation.
The emergence of "cultural compatibility" is another reason why clients should spend more time talking to candidates. In the past, the emphasis was simply on career accomplishments and past performance in similar positions as indicators of future potential. Today, executive search consultants also take core values, personality and career goals into consideration.
Always include a presentation stage, ideally in front of as many senior Directors as possible. Senior executives will always be required to present at some point in their job, so use this as a test of these skills during the interview process.
Finally, counter offers will be common practice at executive level. Your agency will have spoken to their candidates about this, but clients should be prepared to negotiate the details of the package beyond basic salary. Opportunities to discuss additional areas such as career development, flexible working, holidays, health care, and pension could well tip the balance.
The above is an article from issue 12 of insideHR; Our quarterly magazine for HR professionals covering industry trends, comment and opinion on the latest HR news.
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