If your organization has worked with an executive search firm before to fill senior-level positions, you're likely aware of their steps to achieve this.
On the other hand, if your company has yet to partner with this type of search firm previously, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the typical executive recruitment process so you know what to expect before moving forward.
In addition, given that the nuances of the process can vary between firms, if you plan to switch executive search partners, it might be a good idea to brush up on the specifics of the process.
This article will walk you through all the details of the executive search process and explain how it works so that you can effectively fill your open executive positions. So with that in mind, let's dive right in!
The Executive Recruiting Process In A Nutshell
In basic terms, the executive recruitment process refers to an executive search firm or in-house recruitment team's actions to understand the senior-level position(s) it wants to fill and its ideal candidate.
Beyond that, the process also includes all the steps an executive recruiter takes as they approach, screen, and interview candidates, in addition to extending offers and facilitating the onboarding of new hires.
Most well-known executive search firms follow a similar process as they search for the best talent to fill their clients' open roles. But while most of the basic steps of the executive search process are essentially the same, there can be variations depending on the executive search firm your company uses.
That's why it's important to compare search firms and pick the one that will be the best fit for your organization as it builds an effective enterprise talent acquisition strategy.
Why Your Company Can’t Afford To Take This Lightly
Hiring someone for an executive-level or otherwise highly specialized role is no easy feat. Not only do they need the right background, expertise, and temperament for the job, but they must also fit into the company culture. If they don't, they simply won't last, and the organization risks losing a lot of money - to the tune of 30% of the new hire's annual salary, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
In addition, it can take a significant amount of time, knowledge, and resources for a company to identify, recruit, assess, and eventually hire the right candidate. In many cases, it's easier and more cost-effective to partner with an executive search firm that can handle all the details for you.
Let's discuss some benefits of using an executive search firm to find and place the best candidates compared to a recruitment firm or an in-house hiring manager who might accidentally hire the wrong person.
Benefit #1: You’ll Save Time and Money
While it might initially cost more to partner with an executive search firm as opposed to using an in-house team or recruitment agency, your organization will ultimately save both time and money. A recruiting agency might have several potential candidates to present in only a few days, yes, but in many cases, they won’t be the right fit (how can they be when they’ve been chosen so quickly?) Rushing to hire based off that candidate pool will likely lead to dissatisfaction on both ends.
An executive search firm, on the other hand, may take several months to place someone, but there’s a much better chance they’ll work out because of the time and diligence spent educating the prospective candidates about the role, learning about their qualifications, and finding the right match - likely resulting in considerable savings.
Benefit #2: You’ll Receive Access to Lots of Qualified Executives
One of the major perks of working with an executive search firm is their extensive network of top-tier candidates. An in-house hiring manager simply doesn’t have instant access to this many premium candidates. Instead, they will probably spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find and attract people who might be interested and a good fit. Working with a search firm guarantees the client access to massive databases of qualified candidates - and even to passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new job (but might be the perfect match!)
Benefit #3: You’ll Benefit From Their Expertise
It’s impossible to get around the fact that a well-established executive search firm knows a lot more about hiring than an employee who fell into the hiring role. Many in-house hiring teams are cobbled together out of necessity with folks who were hired for other roles altogether. They might be trying their best, but they aren’t hiring experts like the ones you’ll find in a search firm. So if your organization wants the hiring process to go smoothly and successfully, pairing up with a solid executive search firm is definitely a good idea.
Executive Recruitment Process Checklist:
As your organization evaluates its hiring strategies and considers whether to outsource its enterprise recruitment process, it makes sense to think about the many components of the process. Let’s walk through them below.
1. Revisit Your Hiring Experience Guidelines
To start, it’s important to adopt a comprehensive and structured hiring process to prevent disorganization and lack of direction. If devising a recruitment plan sounds out of reach to you and your organization’s board members, working with an executive search firm like MSH that already has a proprietary hiring process in place might be the best move.
2. Consider Working With a Hiring Partner
As we mentioned earlier, it can be tempting to try and do it yourself in the hopes of saving time and money. But, as you know, finding and hiring top-notch executives isn’t easy. At this point in the process, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of various hiring options like RPOs vs staffing/recruiting agencies vs in-house recruitment.
3. Hold a Discovery/Intake Meeting
Assuming your organization decides to work with an executive search firm, they will likely initiate a discovery meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the hiring goals, timeline, and key performance objectives for the position.
4. Determine the Ideal Candidate Profile
During the initial intake meeting, the search firm’s team should also work with you to create a realistic candidate profile. This discussion will likely revolve around the unique qualities of the role, the company’s culture, desired hard and soft skills, and candidate demographics. It can’t be overstated how critical this piece is; the profile clarifies for the recruiter who exactly the ideal candidate is and what skills they must possess.
5. Create the Position Description and Responsibilities
Next, most executive search firms focus on creating a job description and corresponding list of responsibilities. MSH, on the other hand, replaces the typical job description with several key performance objectives. This ensures that the client’s priorities and needs are crystal clear to all prospective candidates and that they know what needs to be accomplished.
6. Build a Sourcing Strategy
At this point, the search firm team must carefully decide how it will announce and distribute information about the job opening. What channels will it use? Who will perform the outreach? MSH places a special emphasis on using multiple sources to guarantee a diverse pipeline of candidates for its clients.
7. Evaluate the Candidates
Once the executive search firm has established a flow of viable, highly qualified candidates, the next step is to begin evaluating them so they can be narrowed down into a shortlist of ideal options. It’s essential that both quantitative and qualitative measurements be used.
8. Reach Out to Candidates
After the top contenders have been identified, the executive search firm will contact them and conduct a phone screen. The goal here is to gauge the candidate’s interest and confirm that their experience and skillset aligns with the previously established performance objectives. MSH also employs PI (Predictive Index) behavioral assessments to further validate fit.
9. Interview Candidates
Naturally, this leads into interviewing the finalists. In MSH’s case, this entails two 45- to 60-minute interviews, first with the hiring manager and then later with a diverse panel of interviewers that usually include a team member, stakeholder, and recent hire.
10. Keep Track in Your ATS
Throughout the entire process, organizations should monitor what’s going on via their Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). While there are many ATS options out there, MSH is the only search firm that offers its clients access to a predictive hiring management platform called AEON. How does AEON differ from other ATS? In simple terms, let’s just say that it fuses high tech and human touch to empower leaders and drive more certainty in hiring.
11. Check In With Non Good Fit Candidates
Any decent executive search firm will make the effort at this time to connect with the candidates who won’t be getting an offer. Beyond common courtesy, this keeps the relationship in good standing. After all, that same candidate might end up being perfect for the next executive role that pops up!
12. Send an Offer to the Top Candidate
Now for the fun part. The organization’s hiring manager will extend an offer to the final candidate, and if all goes well, they’ll accept, and the organization’s C-suite position will be officially filled for the long term. The executive recruiter will work with the company to ensure that the offer aligns with the candidate’s expectations and act as an intermediary throughout any negotiation.
13. Solidify Onboarding Experience
Finally, the search firm will assist the organization with the onboarding of the new hire to make sure there is a smooth transition. MSH relates the company’s success profile and 90-day expectations to the new employee so they’re set up for success.
Partner with MSH for a Successful Executive Search Experience
Sourcing and hiring the right executive is a huge decision, as a quality executive hire can significantly impact performance. With this in mind, we're here to be your trusted advisor throughout the entire process.
Not one to follow the crowd, we've taken our time to alter, add to, and improve the executive recruitment process to make it as effective and efficient as possible for you.
So if your organization is looking to hire a new CFO, CTO, CIO, CHRO, or COO (or similar), contact MSH today.