When you’re looking to fill an executive role at your company, your expectation is always to find the very best. After all, your C-suite defines your organization’s strategy, leads your employees and forms the public face of the company in the business world.
Yet the process of finding executive candidates can be challenging — especially with so many talented professionals out there who each possess their own unique abilities. Even if you’re working with an executive search firm, it’s advisable to be highly involved in the process so you can pool your knowledge of the field with the search firm’s recruiting expertise. With that in mind, here are some tips for identifying top executive candidates:
- Revisit previous candidates. Based on past executive searches, there inevitably will be a candidate list of those who did not make the final cut. Sometimes it’s simply because another candidate had more experience or brought some other quality to the position. It can also be that the time wasn’t right for a candidate to make a career move or that they didn’t want to relocate. However, since circumstances often change and executive careers can be dynamic, it’s a good idea to take a look at candidates you’ve previously considered.
- Look for visible experts. Professionals who invest a lot of time and energy in being at the forefront of developments in their field and are consistently sharing their views via blog posts, articles, white papers, interviews, e-books, videos, and social media often have a lot to offer. These executives display their expertise and a drive to lead a forward-thinking organization. Moreover, many have an expansive network of luminaries in their field, which can be highly valuable for your business.
- Identify leaders who are demonstrably adding value to their companies. Executives whose names and companies are in the news for positive reasons are likely to offer a lot of potential. The same is true for leaders who regularly update their professional bios and LinkedIn profiles with recent achievements for their companies. You might also hear about high-value executives via your online network or at networking events.
- Ask the right questions. Once you’ve made a list of likely candidates, update your interview process to include more in-depth questions to find out if they’re a match such as: How do you define leadership? What is your personal brand? What qualities would you bring to this position? In what ways do your objectives and values align with our mission statement and organizational values? What do you hope to accomplish in this position?
- Assess the candidates’ level of enthusiasm. Ultimately, an interview for an executive position is the moment of truth. Any candidate that comes across as unenthusiastic or disinterested is probably not the right choice for your organization, no matter how qualified he or she is. Look for candidates who are excited about the position and know how to sell themselves. They should be positive, honest, and able to speak to their unique attributes that give them the edge over the competition.
Always keep in mind that filling an executive position is a marathon, not a sprint. And when you invest the necessary time, effort and resources, you’ll be in a much better position to identify those candidates who hold a lot of potential for your company.
By Bryan Kirby, Vice President and Executive Recruiter with Kirby Partners Healthcare and Cybersecurity Executive Search. Get in touch with Bryan.