Making the decision to open new requisitions for talent is never a swift or easy one, but the stakes are especially high when it comes to hiring executive talent. Leadership roles at that level require the company and candidate to build trust and faith in each other, which can take a long time to develop. It’s equally important to ensure strong culture fit, as executives have immense influence over their teams and the role they play in the organization. Bringing on a new executive is expensive, too—not just because of their high salary, but because of the learning curve to become fully indoctrinated into the inner workings of a large, established firm.
For all these reasons and more, many companies find it more efficient to outsource these roles and work with an executive recruiting company, such as Bloom Partners. But—hiring an executive recruiter isn’t a silver bullet solution and doesn’t mean you won’t have to lift a finger to find your next member of the C Suite. Keep reading for four pro-tips to cultivating a successful partnership with your executive recruiter:
1. Meet in person or via Zoom
This is critical in the initial stages to establish a working relationship and foster trust on both sides of the partnership. Because a lot of information is communicated electronically, establishing a plan in-person or via Zoom can be very helpful. Great recruiters must be great storytellers. They need these skills to successfully tell your story in the marketplace. Telling that compelling story on your behalf is only possible by seeing your space and understanding the working environment.
If you can’t meet in person or on Zoom, consider facetiming with a hiring manager to tour the facility and/or office space. Alternatively, you could also record a short video or virtual tour of the facility or property where the candidate would work. This can become an evergreen video to share with interested candidates for specific roles/markets.
2. Be transparent
Keeping your executive recruiter “in the loop” on active projects is critical. Alert the recruiting team ASAP (within 24-48 hours) when the status of a search has changed. No recruiter likes to discover a change in status a week after the job has been filled because it’s a waste of their time and energy that could have been deployed elsewhere. Please keep us up to date, even when the news is not good!
3. Make your recruiter an extension of your HR and Marketing team
Introduce your recruiter to the key hiring managers within the organization. Have them make onsite visits. Maybe even invite them to your next company-wide meeting. These types of engagements will make them a true extension of your internal efforts and enable them to represent your company in the best light. Also, share with them the stories you tell other candidates; no one can tell a company’s story like the professionals that work within it. Other things to discuss with your executive recruiter include:
- Why do you enjoy working there?
- Based on your experience, what resonates with candidates?
- What are your company values?
4. Give timely feedback
Keep your recruiter abreast of the status of the candidates they provide and give prompt feedback (within 24-48 hours) after candidates are submitted.
The message you convey to any recruiter through feedback is “We need to fill this role, and we want you to be successful at filling it for us.” Feedback is the special sauce to keep your recruiter engaged, especially when the search is a difficult one!
Feedback is also critical for recruiters so that they can communicate timely and effectively with the candidates. “I haven’t heard anything,” is often interpreted by the candidate as “We’re not interested.”
As a general rule, the process should look like this:
- Provide feedback on a submittal within 24 – 48 hours by letting them know if you are “interested” or “not interested”
- If interested in setting up an interview, provide days/times of availability to schedule an interview so your recruiter can set it up with the appropriate hiring manager. Alternatively use a calendar scheduling tool (like Calendly) to allow the candidate or recruiter to reserve time on your calendar themselves.
What kind of feedback should you provide after screening candidates for an executive position? Here are some things to think about:
- How did the hiring manager feel about the candidate?
- What areas of their skill set are ideal or lagging in relation to the position?
- Do you think the candidate is a cultural fit? If not, why?
- If the candidate is not moving forward, why was the decision made?
- Next steps? If the candidate is moving forward, how do we coordinate our efforts to set up additional interviews/meetings?
Finding the perfect candidate
How much does the job market dictate how fast, or slow, it can take to find the “perfect candidate?”
The truth is, there are no “perfect candidates.” However, timing is affected by candidate- or client-driven markets. In a candidate-driven market, top candidates are finding opportunities quickly and employers need to match or beat the speed of their competition.
With current unemployment in the green industry below 1%, it’s certainly a candidate market, where top talent has options. We must have a compelling ‘story’ to tell about the opportunities we represent. A lean hiring process with an appropriate pace relative to the candidate or position is best. Great candidates are evaluating options at several employers, so keeping them engaged and informed during the interview process is critical to getting them across the finish line.
We’ve recently had a candidate select another opportunity because our client didn’t provide feedback within a week after the first interview. It was the differentiator for the candidate when choosing between offers, and they ultimately accepted the other opportunity. The candidate’s experience during the interview is the only exposure/experience they have before joining the team, so make it a point to make it amazing. Show enthusiasm, treat them respectfully, sell the company, sell the career advancement opportunities, sell the culture and make them want to join your company!