The coronavirus pandemic may have put many things on pause over the last year, but the need to grow your business wasn’t one of them. With so many potential changes on the horizon, building the best executive leadership team has never been more important. How have talent acquisition and executive search adapted to the new normal? How can you use that to your company’s advantage?
I’m a member of an entrepreneurs group, and we’ve been trying to figure out the most effective method for finding the best execs. When doing some followup research on a Forbes article about top executive research firms, the methodology of one of the listed firms, N2Growth, caught my attention. I think it’s going to be key to helping many companies navigate the new market paradigm. In this article, I’ll share some of their methodology, while offering my own perspective as an entrepreneur.
Landing game-changing talent is critical to the future of any business. To stay competitive and move with the trends, business leaders should take the following steps in their next executive search:
Start With an Organizational Audit
There are many qualified business leaders who boast a history of success. But not all of them will be a great fit for your company.
The first step toward adding a high-impact executive to your team is identifying how you want to grow. This requires a deep understanding of your organization—what it does well, what it doesn’t do well and what it uniquely offers the market. If you know your company inside and out, you’ll have a better chance of knowing what to look for in an executive hire.
Use Unbiased Screening Procedures
It’s impossible to have an entirely objective screening process. However, it’s important to conduct a multidimensional assessment to gain deeper insights into qualified candidates.
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Create a scorecard of quantitative metrics and grade each candidate with the same standard. For example, you could assign different point values for varying lengths of time in a leadership role. Or you could give someone extra credit for having exceeded a sales growth target.
Conducting multiple cross-checks with potential hires can help you identify blind spots in your existing interview process. Having this information available will help you make the most logical decision when it comes to bringing a new executive onto your team.
Diversity makes your company more insightful and effective. Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion at the executive level can improve productivity and drive positive outcomes. A commitment to DEI also makes your company more attractive to a wider pool of candidates.
Building a team across diversity segments like race, gender and sexual orientation is important, of course. But so is focusing on diversity of experience, personal and professional background and socioeconomic history within your leadership team.
Standardize Your Search Process
Every step of your search process is important to finding the highest-quality candidates. Oftentimes, a company’s research and pipelining efforts lack depth. That means a lot of time is potentially wasted interviewing contending hires who lack the necessary skills.
Conversely, you could have a robust search process, but your screening methods are outdated. That could lead to you making the wrong decision when it really matters with regard to your short list. By formalizing your search process, you can see what steps are strong and which processes need some help.
Conduct a Comprehensive Search
It’s a simple fact that most companies don’t conduct a comprehensive, rigorous search. They make their talent acquisition decisions from a limited pool of candidates, which constrains their options and increases the risk of failure.
Fortunately, casting an appropriately wide net has never been easier. Hiring managers are no longer confined to cold calls and in-person interviews, thanks to innovations in digital technologies. Real-time video, integrated social media platforms and streamlined text/chat applications allow companies to match with qualified candidates more quickly than ever before.
Companies that attract the best talent don’t put self-limiting boundaries around their talent acquisition process, either. Retaining a search firm can help internal hiring teams significantly by giving them greater insights into talent intelligence and current market dynamics. The broader and deeper your talent mapping capabilities are, the more likely you are to hire the best possible candidate, not just the most available one.
Offer Equity in Your Company
When interviewing senior leaders for roles on your executive team, it’s important to remember that you’re probably speaking with a candidate who is more skilled and experienced than most. If someone has built the success profile to be considered for an executive position, they likely know the value they would bring to your company. These individuals are often marked by an entrepreneurial spirit.
Offering them equity and a stake in your company could be a smart move for two reasons. First, it could help you stand out as a destination for this potential hire. Second, it provides additional motivation for this person to grow your business and increase its profitability.
Recruiting an executive to your leadership team can be a long and arduous process. But there are few things that can make more of an impact on your company than a successful, well-oiled executive team. As you seek to hire new executives, consider improving your hiring process through objective screenings, standardized prospecting and motivating incentives. If you do all this, you’ll maximize the likelihood of success for your organization.