“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today, it means getting along with people” – Mahatma Gandhi. Today, hiring for functional heads and critical leadership positions is one of the most challenging tasks for any organisation (especially for a startup). A CxO, the captain of your ship, steers the organisation towards higher growth. As your company grows, the need in each section grows along. But hiring C-level executives is a critical process as your entire company rides on the positive outcome of these positions.
However, hiring a C-level executive is not similar to that of other employees. When it comes to C-suit recruiting, the relevant measure for employability is leadership, knowledge, experience and right skills. Whereas in entry-level or junior position the crucial factor is degree and skills. In the usual employee hiring process, the candidates will be sourced, filtered via several technical tests and will be selected after going through a series of interviews. However, this is not a similar case in the CxO recruiting process. The candidate will be sourced, screened via telephonic interviews and go through an interview process only with the top management.
In recent times, every area of functioning is specialised and the position of the chief operations officer (and many others) have spun off. That is, companies have created a room for a core group of expertise individuals jointly responsible for the strategic growth of a company. The executives in senior management include:
- Chief Operations Officer (COO) – Responsible for day-to-day activities management operations.
- Chief finance officer (CFO)- Steers and directs financial planning, investments and risk associated.
- Chief marketing officer (CMO) – Responsible for sales & marketing processes.
- Chief technology officer – (CTO) – Handles technical related aspects.
Without an iota of doubt, finding and hiring an ideal C-suite level candidate is critical for the overall performance & growth of the company. However, several challenges are associated with recruiting executives:
- Competition among top talent
- Hiring passive candidates
- Resource limitation
- Legal regulations
- Technological limitations
- Organisational procedure & policies
One might end up paying a huge price by hiring an executive merely by looking for the experience and skills of a candidate. In fact, companies must intensely scrutinise behavioural track record as well as check for other background information, for instance, criminal background of the candidate. If there are any instances of socially unacceptable behaviour, it is advisable to drop such candidate irrespective of the expertise of the executive. You company will eventually be known by the one steerheading all operations, so you might just want to be extra cautious before finalising such a misfit.
So, what are the key elements to look into while hiring your next C-level executive?
Most importantly, while sourcing candidates for a higher-level position, narrow down the pool of candidates. A targeted, skill-specific and research-supported search is the most effective. With this in mind, consider the below mentioned 10 hacks while recruiting for a senior level position.
- Understand the hiring criteria – To avert a downward trend due to a wrong hire, you must develop an outline of the job role as well as non-negotiable skills.
- Get over with traditional hiring process – Ask open-ended questions and use latest platforms to perform background verification and nurture relationships.
- Consider emotional intelligence – Although emotional intelligence can be quite hard to measure during an interview, evaluate it in order to avoid abrasive leadership style.
- Avoid corporate cronyism – Do not mix professionalism with kinship. Your aim is to find the right fit for your company and not a boon companion.
- Employ headhunters – Use the service of head hunters to obtain valid executives.
- Look for optimists – Hiring optimists can be an added advantage as they won’t fear to take risks and see failure as opportunities.
- Leverage employee referrals – Networking is a long way to go. Pay attention to employee referred candidate and social media connections.
- Look for diversity of thoughts – Diversity of thought and style can add value to your company and result in the growth of your company.
- Be discrete and maintain confidentiality – During the interview process, assure your potential candidate to main confidentiality of private information.
- Involve CEO– Demonstrate how much your company is committed to hire them and arrange for a face-to-face meeting with the CEO.
With global competition, technological advancements, hiring pressures and changing business partnerships have made the hiring process more complex. Sketching the job role and knowing how the executive candidate expects to progress is the key to an effective recruiting strategy.