7 Tips for Making the Right Executive Hire

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Trish Young

December 15, 2021

    An executive is one of the most important and rewarding positions to recruit for. A company executive’s job is to help shape existing workplace culture and the future vision of the business. Identifying and employing the most suitable candidates for your company’s c-suite is critical to the long-term success of the business. Since executives are so vital to a company’s success and reputation, the process of executive hiring should be handled with maximum awareness and priority.

    Consequences of Making the Wrong Hires

    Making a hasty hire at an executive level can have devastating consequences for a company. Some red flags that could come up when you’ve made the wrong hire are:

    • Not demonstrating the company values or going directly against them could be a clue that your new executive isn’t the right fit.
    • Not ‘getting’ the company culture. Needing time to adapt is one thing, but if your executive hire doesn’t fundamentally understand or respect it, that’s a red flag. However, if your culture is in need of improvement, then it’s not!
    • Lacking self-awareness. If an executive hire is struggling and lacks the self-awareness and transparency to correct it, you may have made a bad hire.
    • An executive that is not aligned with the company’s strategy or vision, and/or disagrees on critical business points.

    It is crucial when identifying a bad executive hire to remove them from their position as quickly as possible to mitigate any unforeseen issues that could arise. Hiring the wrong executive can have lasting repercussions, even after they are long gone.

    Lost productivity is one of the ways that a bad executive hire can strain an organization. Ineffective leadership can bring down team morale and negatively impact productivity. There is also a substantial cost to find a suitable replacement. The costs for recruiting, onboarding, and training a new executive can be substantial because it can take six to nine months for the hiring process to be completed.

    In a digital age, a negative reputation can travel far and fast. Making a bad executive hire can have devastating consequences to a company’s reputation. Bad reviews left around the web from former C-Suite employees and their direct reports, turnover due to discontent, and general dissatisfaction can tarnish one’s brand reputation and their employee value proposition. Bad executive hires can sometimes cause employees to question the stability within the company and they could start looking for jobs elsewhere.

    Effective leaders determine company success and shareholders often react negatively to executive turnover, especially if it is unexpected. CEO turnover reduces total shareholder returns by -3.5% on average and a forced turnover can have astronomical monetary costs attached to it. Making bad executive hires can decrease overall valuation for a company and, if the business is service or project based, could also impact customer satisfaction.

    How to Recruit the Right Executive Hires

    Finding and hiring the right executive for your company is key to success. Knowing your company’s goals, challenges, culture, and having positive brand awareness plays an important role in recruiting for C-Suite roles. Finding the right executive fit means finding someone who wants to work at your company.

    Tips for Recruiting for Executive Roles

    A-B-S. Always be sourcing. Have a fresh, deep database of qualified candidates. The best candidates are usually the ones who are currently employed so networking is especially important. Expand your resources and lean on your partners.

    YM Careers Network provides easy access to niche candidates, including C-Suite, with specialized skills and knowledge in your industry.

    Don’t skip the prescreen. C-Suite level titles can mean different things to different organizations so be sure not to rely too heavily on the title alone. It is more important to know what the person’s duties were, what their accomplishments were, and how they handled different situations. During the prescreen is when culture fit assessments should take place. Take the time to contact professional and personal references and organizations they previously participated in.

    Take a deep dive during the interview. Executive interviewing can take months to complete because their positions are critical for the entire company. Utilize behavior description techniques to learn how candidates have responded to specific, but relevant, situations in their past roles. These recalled accounts will expose a candidate’s values, capabilities, and skills.

    Make your pitch. Executive hiring is different than hiring for tradition roles because chances are you will be the one to make a pitch to them for the position. Have a package ready to present with the offer. Most executives want assets, stock options, inflated pay, and annual bonuses. While some or all these options may be on the table, be sure to be as competitive as possible to ensure you are getting the best return for your investment.

    While good onboarding for more junior roles is important, for executive hiring, it is paramount. Be sure to set the new executive up for success. Create a clear plan of action that gives measurable objectives with timelines, provides the right resources, sets the tone, connects the executive with the right people, and helps them build relationships for long term success.

    Discover Your Next Executive Hire with YM Careers Network

    The YM Careers Network is built on partnerships developed with thousands of professional organizations and associations for more than 20 years. Employers can market their jobs through our network of job boards to members with specific professional skills, competencies, and experience. The YM Careers Network uses sophisticated matching technology to target jobs to the right professionals, driving high-quality candidates into the talent pipeline for a faster, more efficient recruiting process.

    Speak to a recruitment specialist today to hire your next great executive.