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What Is Executive Recruitment? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Finding the right talent in any industry can help an organization find a competitive advantage. In a market where finding a cutting-edge strategy is challenging, employing the right staff can help you nail your operational and long-term strategies, bringing you closer to achieving your organizational goals.

Top talent among C-suite professionals is hard to come by, yet they play a vital role in leading organizations to achieve their goals. A study by McKinsey and Company showed that CEOs account for 45% of a companies operations and performances.

But having a ‘bad hire,’ especially at this level, can negatively affect a company’s finances and overall profitability. A study by both the US Department of Labor and Northwestern University concluded that the cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of the professional’s first year expected salary or earnings. This means that hiring a bad CEO could cost an organization a fortune in the long run.

A study by Harvard Business Review showed that about 35% to 50% of all CEOs are replaced within five years. This means that you are likely to replace your CEO in the near future if you already have not. This can be a costly proposition for any company because of the time, effort, and resources that go into replacing such professionals. This is where executive recruiters come in.

Executive recruiters use a wide array of strategies to ensure a comprehensive recruitment process. They specialize in helping companies find talented C-level professionals, as they have access to a large pool of highly qualified candidates. Hiring such professionals takes intricate examination and evaluation. Here is everything you need to know about the executive recruitment process.

What is Executive Recruitment?

Executive recruitment is the process of finding, examining, and hiring qualified C-suite candidates with the help of third-party companies known as search firms or head-hunters. Because filling managerial positions takes time and a lot of resources, executive search agencies work together with businesses and other organizations to expedite this process. Search firms are able to do so because they have access to large pools of qualified candidates.

What is an Executive Search Agency?

Executive search agencies are organizations that specialize in recruiting executives and other senior/ managerial personnel for client companies. As a client company looking to fill senior positions, an executive search agency relieves you of the time-consuming process of sifting through many candidates. They provide contacts of professionals who may be a perfect fit for your company, depending on the job requirements and company culture.

What Does an Executive Search Consultant Do?

As their names suggest, executive search consultants are engaged by organizations looking to fill vacant leadership positions. They play a massive role in the shortlisting and recruiting of executive candidates. They offer job market expertise and advice, help with headhunting, scheduling interviews, screening shortlisted candidates and helping with the onboarding process. However, a search consultant’s job might vary depending on the organization and their recruitment process

What is the Difference Between a Recruiter and an Executive Recruiter?

A recruiter is engaged by organizations looking to fill various positions, from entry-level positions to senior managerial positions. On the other hand, executive recruiters specialize in recruiting executives, including managers and directors. They use their contacts and connections to help organizations find the best managerial talent. Executive recruiters are also known as headhunters.

A retained executive search refers to an executive search campaign that has been commissioned with an upfront fee paid to the search firm by the client company. Retained executive searches are helpful when a client company is looking to take advantage of newly found opportunities or are in need of a quick turnaround. A retained executive search sends a strong commitment message that the client company highly values the process.

How the Executive Search Process Works

Executive search firms specialize in recruiting executive professionals using various strategies to help organizations find the right candidate. A client company will approach an executive recruiter with specific needs and requirements that candidates need to meet. Using their connections and networks, the search firm then goes to work, looking for the most qualified candidate, given the set of requirements and instructions.

Here is a step-by-step process of a typical executive search campaign.

1.    A Meeting with the Search Firm

The first step of a typical executive search campaign involves meeting the client company and the executive search firm. Both parties will discuss online search requirements, timelines, company culture, future organization strategy, and company structure during this meeting.

2.    Creating the Job Description

After peeking into the company’s future strategies and organization culture, the next step is to create a job description that will serve as the main reference for the clients, consultants, and researchers during the search. A job description is vital because it contains more information about the candidates’ roles, responsibilities, educational requirements, and professional skills.

3.    Talent Mapping and Sourcing

Creating the job description is the last step to finalizing the search plan. Afterward, search consultants will then utilize a wide variety of talent mapping and sourcing techniques to develop a list of potential clients. Candidates are drawn from the search firm’s own database, market analysis, internet sources, and their own network of contacts. After the list has been drawn, the search company begins qualifying the most qualified candidates.

4.    Approaching the Candidates for Interviews

After identifying the most suitable candidates, the search company proceeds to meet with the candidates to further truncate the list down to the most qualified candidates given the set of requirements. The search company meets with the candidates through calls, video assessments, and interviews. The search company might start with over a hundred candidates and finish with less than ten candidates.

5.    Create A Shortlist with the Most Qualified Candidates

Although the search company has already shortened their list to a few candidates, they continue interviewing the candidates thoroughly to ensure they have three to five suitable candidates. Thorough background checks verify their qualifications, skills, and background.

6.    Interviews with the Client

After highlighting several suitable candidates, the client company will meet with the candidates to select their preferred candidate. This includes face-to-face meetings with the top candidates to discuss more about the clients’ qualifications, personal strengths, and key skills.

7.    Offer, Negotiation, and Onboarding

After a hauling series of interviews, the client company proceeds to select their preferred candidate. Salary negotiations will commence, with the search company acting as a mediator to ensure that both parties’ needs are adequately met. Onboarding processes begin shortly after, with the client company introducing the newly hired candidate to the workplace.

Advantages of Executive Recruiters

There are many benefits of using executive recruiters. For instance, organizations tend to use search services when the jobs are important enough and require discretion. Executive firms will help you find the best leaders who share the same principles, values, goals, mindset, and vision with a given organization. They also ensure that the shortlisted candidate is an excellent cultural fit.

Here are other compelling reasons why an executive search firm might be a great idea when recruiting c-suite or managerial positions.

1.    Access to a Large Database of Your Market’s Most Qualified Candidates

Executive professionals rarely apply for managerial positions advertised on online job boards and newspapers. These professionals seek employment through personal networks and close connections. C-suite professionals liaise their networks and close circles, letting them know what they are looking for. And not only that, but such professionals rarely come from one source.

This means that finding top talent can be challenging if you lack the right connections and networks. That’s where executive search companies come in. They invest time and resources into developing extensive networks of talented executives and connections to such professionals. As an organization looking to fill a managerial position quickly, you’re almost guaranteed a large pool of professionals to choose from in a short time.

2.    It Takes a Significantly Short Amount of Time Compared to Traditional Hiring Processes

Advancements in technology are yet to make significant changes in the time taken to hire an executive. On average, it can take anywhere between four to seven months for a medium or large-sized organization to find, interview, and recruit an executive such as a CEO or CFO.

There are many reasons why it takes longer to hire execs. For instance, some of them are usually engaged in other projects with other companies and might wish to complete them before moving on to the next venture. Besides, it generally takes a long time to find an executive without the right networks and connections as they rarely apply for jobs posted on newspapers and online job boards.

However, an executive search company significantly shortens the time it takes to attract such talent. According to a survey by Boston Search Group, it takes about 3.5 months to complete an executive search campaign. And not only that, but the same survey showed that every four out of five search campaigns end successfully, showing just how effective top executive search firms such as Flexi Personnel can be.

3.    Discretion and Confidentiality

Changing executives is a common practice among companies today to cope with the ever-changing nature of the consumer markets. In fact, a recent study by Harvard Business Review showed that about 35% to 50% of all CEOs are replaced within five years.

However, publicly replacing your top managers comes at a cost. Employees might lose their morale as they might become insecure about their job security. As a result, their productivity levels might drop, affecting organizational performance on a broader scale. Your competitors might also take advantage of this situation while shareholder confidence plummets.

For such reasons, it is advisable to quietly replace your executives to avoid a snowball effect that might leave your organization in an unfavorable situation. Executive search firms guarantee a confidential and discrete search campaign that safeguards all those important relationships.

Final Remarks

Executive recruitment refers to the process of finding, interviewing, and onboarding the most qualified executive candidates. Such executive positions are also known as C-suite or C-level positions, including CEOs and CFOs. This process is usually done in-house, but more and more companies have turned to executive search companies in recent years.

Executive search firms are particularly helpful when it comes to securing top talent in a short time. These professionals have invested a lot of time and resources in developing vast databases and networks of executives, who rarely scroll through job boards to find work, rather rely on such connections to find their next employment opportunities.

This means that you are better off using the services of an experienced executive search firm such as Flexi Personnel to help you secure the services of a talented executive. Such firms help recruit the best executive in the shortest time possible, given the job description and company culture. They also ensure confidentiality during the entire process.

Are You Looking for Executive Recruiters?

At Flexi Personnel, we understand that you are not looking to simply fill vacant executive positions, rather secure a talented leader who can lead your company to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. Additionally, we understand that you are looking for a leader who can help solve business problems.

We can help you find a great hire with a level of speed and precision not common with search firms in this region. Flexi Personnel is the number one provider of professional HR management solutions in East and Central Africa. We have over 12 years of experience in this industry, helping companies diversify their human capital while attracting top talent.

We would like to work with you too on your next project! Feel free to contact us at Flexi Personnel for Board, C-Suite, Executive, and senior management solutions

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