If you’re trying to fill an executive position in 2022, you’ve undoubtedly concluded that the way you’ve hired in the past won’t work right now.
Our team of executive recruiters has compiled strategies and tactics for organizations to consider as they ramp up their executive hiring this year.
These guidelines for how to hire executives will ensure you don’t lose good candidates to other companies, take the stress out of hiring, and ensure that you ultimately hire someone who will thrive at your organization.
How to Hire Executives in a “Candidate-Driven” Market
1. Move fast.
Qualified executives are highly in demand right now. They’re typically interviewing for several positions simultaneously and juggling multiple offers.
If you want to compete in today’s market, streamline your hiring process.
Cut out any unnecessary rounds of interviewing and minimize delays in the process.
Executives are looking for decisive organizations ready to make an offer without 5+ rounds of interviews.
Of course, you want to do your due diligence on a candidate, but you must find a way to do it efficiently.
Interviewing can be a bottleneck in the executive hiring process. A few tips to speed things up:
- Ensure you’re highly selective about the number of candidates you interview
- Where possible, use panel interviews instead of one-on-one interviews
- Block interview times on your team’s calendars ahead of time, so schedules don’t book up
- Take the steps necessary so a decision can be made quickly
- Prepare your HR partners to make an offer quickly when you find the right candidate
2. Candidate experience is everything.
Nearly 8 in 10 job candidates believe how they are treated in the hiring process is a clear indicator of how the company treats its employees.
If you want to hire and retain the best candidates, prioritize your candidate experience, especially for executive hires.
Our research with executive job seekers indicates that if employers prioritize one aspect of their candidate experience, they should focus on better communication.
Organizations that provide timely feedback differentiate themselves and impress top-tier candidates.
Your organization should also look for ways to make it easy for candidates to apply to your open positions since that’s typically one of the first contact points for applicants.
Ideally, applications should be mobile-friendly and integrated with LinkedIn. Cut unnecessary questions and make sure you use every piece of information you’re collecting.
Other ways to improve your candidate experience:
- Shorten your hiring process and timeline
- Inform candidates about exactly what steps your process entails and when they’ll hear from you
- Provide detailed information to help candidates evaluate the opportunity
- Ensure candidates feel valued and respected throughout the process
Think you’re delivering a great candidate experience?
Unless you’re asking candidates, you can’t know for sure. Conduct surveys to determine how candidates viewed their interview experience and develop a plan to address any issues.
3. If you want top executive talent, expect to pay for it.
If you want to hire a good candidate, you must compensate fairly. The most qualified executive candidates will cost you more.
We’ve seen far too many organizations walk away from great candidates because they didn’t want to meet a candidate’s (reasonable) salary expectations. Usually, this happens because of concerns about internal equity or other political issues.
These organizations usually lose the candidate they want during negotiations and ultimately pay even more for a lower-caliber candidate.
Organizations that are successfully hiring in-demand executives right now are offering higher salaries than in the past, providing extra benefits, and sometimes even giving perks like a four-day workweek to attract people.
Creating an additional challenge, the healthcare executive candidate pool is shrinking as executives leave for other verticals offering higher salaries, more significant bonuses, and stock options.
Also, many candidates want remote work or hybrid options right now. If you’re not offering these benefits, prepare to pay more.
4. “Sell” candidates on your organization and the position.
Your job postings should clearly describe what is great about working for your organization and how it will enhance a job seeker’s career.
Many organizations focus too much on the minutia, including a laundry list of their requirements.
Generate a list of three or four “sizzle” points that you’ll use to market the position and organization to prospective candidates.
Understand what will appeal to candidates and make sure you’re highlighting what is great about the position throughout the process. Ideally, all the interviewers should be sharing a consistent, accurate message about the opportunity.
For 2022, your messaging to executive candidates should focus on:
- Employee well-being
- Stability, career development, and mobility
- Flexibility/remote work environment (if applicable)
- Social responsibility
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Your messaging should also emphasize your mission and values since that’s a key reason many people choose to work in healthcare.
5. Make your hiring process inclusive.
Diversity of skills, personality, experiences, and culture should be cultivated within your organization.
It’s becoming more widely accepted that creating diverse teams is essential, and studies show having a diverse team can lead to:
- Improved bottom line
- A happier and more productive team
- More innovation and creativity
- Better decision making
Diversity recruiting can also help your organization attract the best candidates. (A study by Glassdoor showed that 76% of job seekers say that diversity is an important factor when considering companies and evaluating job offers.)
Your executive hiring process should have specific, measurable diversity goals and be structured to eliminate biases.
Some steps you can take to make your hiring process more inclusive:
- Create a diverse search committee
- Ensure your job descriptions use inclusive language
- Limit your job requirements to “must-haves” (women are less likely than men to apply when they don’t meet all the criteria)
- Include your diversity statement on your website job postings
- Post your position on diversity job boards
- Highlight any “inclusive benefits” when talking with candidates
- Consider blinding resumes before review to eliminate the potential for implicit bias based on a candidate’s name or background
- Use a standardized and consistent interview process
- Add interview questions around diversity
- Measure and track your efforts with surveys
Of note, Kirby Partners is committed to inclusive hiring. We use the practices outlined above (and more) to help our clients meet their DEI goals when partnering on an executive search.
If you put the strategies and tips outlined above into place as you hire executives, you will stand out to candidates, will fill the position faster, and will ultimately hire better leaders.
We’re here to help if you need more guidance on how to hire executives. If you have a critical executive hiring need, contact us to learn how to help you “Hire for Impact” in 2022.