In order for the right senior hire to be successfully recruited it is vital that both the client organisation and their executive search firm work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.
In markets which are becoming increasingly competitive for attracting the best talent, getting the basics right will maximise your options of candidates and increase the likelihood of a making a good hire.
Typically we find the process to generate a good shortlist of candidates (4-5 good candidates) that have the right skills, experience and fit for the role takes c5-6 weeks from our initial client briefing.
Initially; it is the executive search company’s responsibility to find candidates that fulfil the requirements for the role. But in the latter stages of the search it is primarily the client’s responsibility to make the overall hiring and interview process as engaging and exciting as possible to help attract these passive candidates across to join your business.
So, what are the most important factors to consider that will increase your chances of attracting the top talent once they have been found?
1. Selling the dream
The best passive talent are now choosing the job that best matches their ambitions, where they can add the most value, gain the most experience and make the most impact.
The majority of people on a given search are ‘passive candidates’, whereby they are not actively looking to move but could be open to considering the right opportunity. With individuals in this scenario, it is the responsibility of both the recruiter and the client to make the overall hiring and interview process as engaging and exciting as possible to help turn passive candidates’ heads in their direction.
It is worth thinking through the positive reasons and benefits of why a candidate should move to your business. Some things to think about include;
- Case studies of similar hires that have progressed rapidly in your company.
- If you had the ideal candidate from a direct competitor sat in front of you, what would you say to convince them to join your company? Why should they take the risk and leave their stable position with their current employer to join you?
- What are the key positive differentials about your business from the competition? Ownership structure, ethos / culture / values, reward / remuneration, client base, innovations, leading approach, growth plans etc.
2. Agility & speed
How novel would it be for the client to go out of their way to meet a candidate for a coffee at a time and location convenient for the candidate?
Time and time again we have seen searches where the client interview process has slipped back by weeks and in some cases months which negatively impacted the time to hire and increased the risk of candidates dropping out during the process.
It is generally an incredibly frustrating period for candidates when processes take a number of weeks or in some extreme cases months to progress to the next stage. Prolonged delays in the interview process will reduce momentum, and increase the risk of losing candidates.
If the hiring company cannot make time to see the person or if it takes a long time to get feedback, how much do you think the candidate will feel valued and want to join the company? Not just for the current round of recruitment, but for all other roles in the future.
It is also worth factoring in major industry events, holiday seasons etc. which can impact upon the windows available for coordinating interviews. We would always advise to arrange 1st and 2nd interview dates in advance so that candidates can be streamlined through the process (with interview dates being held in diaries in advance), thus ensuring the momentum is increased and that the time to hire is optimised.
3. Transparency & consistency
We have heard numerous stories from candidates, that the message and job conveyed from different interviewers about a specific role has been very different.
We recently were retained for a Business Development Director level role in which the candidate met the owners of the company for an informal second interview after they had been selected by the Managing Director. However some of the board were talking about a ‘Head of Business Development’ position which meant the candidate was confused about the level of the position.
The fundamental requirements of the role and end goal have to be aligned before the search starts, certainly to ensure that the right candidates are found and attracted to the role.
Our advice would be to ensure that the major points about the role are agreed upon by everyone prior to the start of the search. There is always scope for some subtle changes to the role along the way, but this should always be clearly communicated to the candidates so that there are no surprises.
The ideal recruitment process is one where the candidates’ interest in the role increases at every touch point with the people and information they are engaging with. We provide candidates with briefs that detail the role and our client’s organisation in a positive light, but that detail needs to be brought to life in person.
It is the people who engage with the candidate along the journey that have the biggest impact on the perception of the company and the candidates’ subsequent interest. It is worth planning out your interview process and deciding who is best to be present at each stage in advance.
Interviews are a two-way process, an especially important factor with passive candidates who are assessing whether the opportunity is of sufficient interest to them to move for, as well as being the opportunity for the client to judge who is the best candidate for the role.
A good recruitment and interview process regardless of whether the candidate gets the job or not will ensure a positive experience with the candidate who will inevitably share their experience (especially if the process has been either extremely positive or negative) with others. We recommend clients provide unsuccessful candidates with detailed feedback as they have invested a lot their time into the process.
5. Sealing the deal
The final part of any recruitment process is to get the candidate over the line. We will always look to provide clients with the candidate’s full remuneration package details and provide an indication of the candidate’s salary expectations to move for the role. If the candidate is rated highly by their current business they will inevitably be counter-offered so we would always recommend that clients offer the chosen candidate an appropriate uplift on their remuneration package to seal the deal by providing a good financial incentive for the candidate to join.
To discuss any of the topics in this post and increase your chances of securing the best talent in the market click HERE to get in touch.