Tips to attract top C-level exec talent
June 20, 2019 8:12 pm
Whether you’re looking for a CEO, COO, or CIO, you want the best of the best. But how do you go about recruiting when competition for attracting top talent is so stiff? We asked business and HR leaders to share some surefire strategies for wooing up-and-coming executives.
HR Manager for Maple Holistics.
Offer Supplemental Compensation: One of the best ways to attract top talent to your company is to offer supplemental forms of compensation. For example, even if a business may simply not be able to offer a higher salary, they may be able to commit to a whole array of other benefits. Be it periodical bonuses, paid vacations, or stock and equity options, supplemental compensation can be effective for attracting and retaining top talent. In many cases, this is a win-win situation for both the employee and employer since the worker feels validated and appreciated without the boss having to forfeit many assets. Another great option is to send employees to training seminars and classes. This makes them feel good that the company is investing time and money in them, and gives them valuable skills to bring back to work.
The leadership and brand awareness campaigns we conduct on LinkedIn and in major publications, and even throwing our own annual event, go a long way in attracting these candidates. Further, by putting dollars behind our executive team’s personal branding, we demonstrate the value of joining a company which invests in the personal brand of its executive team members.
Take a look at any established C-level executive, and you will see that they are in the media, engaging in speaking events, etc. This isn’t on their own dime: it is the company supporting these efforts. Sure, the executive mentions their employer, but it’s more that the employer is helping promote the executive as part of their total compensation package.
Maureen McCann, BA, CCDP, MCRS, MCIS, MCCS, MCES
A fierce advocate of career development, committed to preparing Canadians for the future of work. Founder of Promotion Career Solutions, she is one of Canada’s top executive resume writers with 15+ years’ experience teaching, mentoring and facilitating career development to executives, professionals and Canadian career professionals.
Streamline your recruitment process to demonstrate why an executive would want to work with you. Specifically, keep the communication clear, ongoing and engaging.
Just this morning I spoke with a C-level executive who had jumped through multiple interviews and selection committee meetings. Ten months into the recruiting process – still no clear direction. He said the process made him feel uneasy about the organization.
“If this is how they treat the hiring process, how do they treat their employees?” he wondered.
That’s not what you want your top talent thinking about your organization.
My recommendation was this. “Name, you look at an organization like that and say to yourself one of two things. This is nuts, I’m outta here, or I can’t wait to jump in and tackle these issues. This is a horrible first impression. I can help them do better!”
Improving the hiring process is like improving your first date. There’s a better chance you’ll attract a second date if the first date goes smoothly.
When it comes to attracting c-level executive talent here are a few tips that I have found to be extremely successful.
Define the goals and expectations. This allows the potential hire to know what you are after and what they need to do. It establishes an understanding and provides the candidate with the motivation they require as c-level executives are often driven by success and what they can do in the position to keep moving ahead in their careers.
Know your competition. If you are going up against a few companies in the industry for the same c-level executives, you need to stand out. You can often do this by offering better and/or different perks, benefits and a salary range. Understand what your competition offers so you can stand out with your company’s differences. Things even as simple as company morale and cultural fit will draw in potential hires.
Has more than 30 years of experience in human resources and executive coaching. She holds an undergraduate degree in Business and Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University and went on to earn her MBA with an emphasis in Executive Leadership from Ashland University. She is the recipient of the 2018 Smart Business Progressive Woman Award, the YWCA’s Women of Influence designation and was recognized as the HR Executive of the Year by Crain’s Cleveland Business. Judi currently works as an executive consultant with her newest business venture, J.A. McMullen and Associates.
- Know what you need – Too often companies post job descriptions or engage executive recruiters without thinking through what they need. How has the job changed since the last time you recruited for it? What competencies do we need? When companies post an opening then go back and revise it, the perception is that the organization doesn’t know what they need.
- Know what the organization needs – This is different than the competencies necessary to be successful; this is focusing on items such as: do we need a “turn around,” a change agent, a healer, an innovator, etc.
- Look for a good leader – Many times companies want someone who has experience in the same industry. While that can be helpful for many reasons, leadership traits are most important.
- Be an organization where people WANT to work – Culture is critical.
- Offer a competitive salary – If not, you will get applicants who want to “grow” into the position and not necessarily those who are “qualified.”
- Treat your candidates like they are as important as they are – Don’t expect someone to fly in for an interview and then miss an opportunity to take them to dinner or other activity, where you can get to know them in a more casual setting. They will appreciate the extra effort.
- Consider passive candidates – Sometimes the best candidates are happily employed elsewhere, but you need to seek them out, if you want the best.
- Involve only those who NEED to be involved in the process – Companies including too many people on the hiring committee only hurt themselves. It not only slows the process but creates mass chaos. While inclusion is important, if you want exposure for your candidates, allow them to present to a group of employees in a town hall setting, but keep the selection committee to a critical few.
- Offer a strong benefit package – Not just healthcare, but deferred comp, life insurance, bonus structure, stock, etc.
- Do your due diligence – Sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many companies don’t do deep research on an executive they are trusting to lead part of their organization.
The key to attracting ideal C-level executives is to provide complete transparency into your organization. No company is perfect, no matter what great growth trajectory it may be experiencing or amazing product is being readied for release. If a C-level executive candidate truly understands the full picture, the organization will attract candidates aligned with company, mission AND challenges that are ahead. They will appreciate the honesty, and the organization will benefit by not experiencing churn in the C-Suite.