Perhaps the good news is that your business grew quickly, achieved record-breaking revenues, expanded its customer base, and hired more team members. Because of that, it’s time to hire some senior leaders or executives who will become an integral part of your growth and the scaling up of your business. The bad news is that making a hiring mistake at this level can create employee retention and morale issues, cause negative perceptions of your company, or dramatically slow or even stop your ability to grow and scale your business.
Recruiting executives and senior leadership is different from hiring lower level positions. For less mission-critical positions, more traditional recruiting methods like posting on job boards and social media can be effective. However, when recruiting a senior or executive level leadership position, those tactics may be ineffective. Hiring at the executive level requires a more strategic approach.
Let’s learn from a couple of thought leaders: Tony Hsieh and Seth Godin.
Executive Hiring Tips from Corporate Bigwigs
Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, is known for building strong executive teams. He feels that if you develop a healthy culture then everything else falls into place. Seth Godin is a marketing genius and author of Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable.
According to Hsieh, cultural fit is critical. He recommends moving slowly and intentionally because trust is essential at the senior level. Your senior leaders must complement your skills and be strong in your weaker areas. Your executive team must work well together and be focused on a common goal. Wasting time on power struggles and conflicts takes time and energy away from meeting business goals.
According to Seth Godin, your story is also critical. He teaches us that businesses are either remarkable or invisible. If you create a remarkable product or service, you will stand out and the right people will come to you.
The same is true when you are recruiting talented executives and senior leaders. Candidates, particularly at the leadership level, are in high demand, and the competition is fierce.
When you create a remarkable story, you can easily attract the attention of candidates who are open to new opportunities.
When you connect with them, the first thing the best candidates do is check out your company website and social media profiles. If those are boring and uninspiring, your ideal candidates will ignore you.
To recruit successfully, you must lay the groundwork to attract your ideal leaders. The common message that Hsieh and Godin preach is that you must fully understand your business’s story, goals, and the position for which you’ll be recruiting. It’s more than simply knowing the essential qualifications that are needed for these jobs.
4 Tips for Hiring Executives
Use the following guidelines to attract the leaders who will help you take your business to the next level.
- Have lots of conversations before you start recruiting. Talk with other business owners who have successfully built leadership teams, network with groups to which your potential candidates belong, and speak with your current employees about their needs. These conversations will help you screen candidates for a cultural fit and avoid a mismatch. It will also make integrating your new leaders with your team easier.
- Once you are ready to start recruiting, instead of taking a passive approach and placing an ad and hoping the right candidate finds you, be proactive in building a pool of high-quality candidates. Remember to include diversity on your leadership team—diversity of thought, skill, and industry experience, among others.
- Social media sites like LinkedIn are a great place to start your search. Identifying potential candidates is the easy part. The hard part is to connect with them and capture their attention. That’s where all your prep work pays off. If you can hinge your outreach on your story and culture, you’ll be that much closer to attracting great candidates who will want to know more and to be part of your team.
- Finally, you may want to consider hiring an experienced executive level recruiter. While you can certainly do your own recruiting, it may be more cost effective because recruiters are experts at quickly finding talented people. They have large networks of candidates and can produce a slate of qualified candidates faster than if you were to go it alone. The value of your time spent on recruiting instead of on revenue-generating activities can be far greater than the cost of a recruiter.
With the right senior leadership team, your company can be a growth machine. Get it wrong, and your business could end up dead in the water. When you spend the time to understand your culture and your story, you will easily attract and hire the senior leaders you need to be successful.