Want to Make Your Company an Employer of Choice for Executive Talent? Do These 4 Things.

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While the recruitment landscape is constantly evolving, the fundamentals of recruitment marketing never change. When hiring competition is high and the number of qualified candidates is low — which we are experiencing in executive recruitment today — those fundamentals become even more important.

If your organization is actively hunting executive talent today, it’s necessary to take a step back and take stock of the strategies and messages you’ve been using. Is your approach aligned with the way executive candidates hunt for jobs now? Is your messaging resonating with the intended audience? Are your candidates even enthusiastic about the opportunities you’re presenting them?

Before you embark on a search for your next high-performing executive leader, you need to consider your audience, your brand’s reputation, and your process. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Have Two-Way Conversations

When speaking to candidates, hiring managers often spend more time talking rather than listening. They’re so consumed with their own extensive checklists of must-haves that they overlook a crucial piece of information: Is this candidate genuinely enthusiastic about the role, or are they wholly disengaged?

Capturing the attention of a candidate is an essential step in hiring a high-level executive. Instead of focusing on their own needs, hiring managers also need to ask open-ended questions about the candidate’s goals and aspirations. This has a couple of benefits.

First, it subverts the old-school hiring approach where companies ask candidates to sell themselves. This outdated approach is a big turn-off for executive candidates, so they’ll appreciate that your organization is just as interested in what you can do for them.

Second, these big-picture questions can give interviewers a unique perspective on the candidate’s headspace and priorities. This vital insight allows your company to position its opportunity in the way that is most attractive to the candidate. For example, if the candidate is seeking more independence in the boardroom, the recruiter can highlight examples of how the company has trusted leaders in the past.

Hiring managers should also be prepared to explain the company’s relevant internal programs and policies. For example, the company may be offering a new leadership development program. Although the hiring manager may not be a participant themselves, they must be able to fully explain the program to their candidates. It’s essential to use every advantage available at your company to sell the position to your executive candidates. Don’t lose top talent because you forgot to mention all the benefits they’d receive from working with you.

Consider the Audience

Like hiring managers, executive candidates have their own checklists. They want to know whether the company they’re considering is a good fit for their career.

Today, executives look for organizations that are growing, offer meaningful work, and value peoples’ expertise. Experienced candidates are primarily interested in joining organizations where they’ll have the autonomy to execute their ideas.

When hiring an executive, it is in the company’s best interest to consider their target candidates’ checklists. After that, the company can review website and social media content to see if its external communication is in sync with its desired audience. For example, by highlighting the success stories of employees from all levels, your company can show candidates that it really invests in its talent.

To position the employer brand effectively, hiring managers should determine which aspects of the brand will be most relevant to each candidate. Use those open-ended discussions mentioned earlier to identify what your candidates are seeking in their careers. Then, you can highlight how the company’s and the candidate’s values are aligned. For example, for candidates who want to give back to their communities, you can tout the company’s track record in corporate social responsibility.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

The executive recruitment process doesn’t start when a hiring manager and a candidate begin a conversation. It starts the moment a potential executive candidate encounters your company for the first time.

In an ideal world, a candidate’s first impression of your organization would be positive reviews and social media posts. But this isn’t always the case. Therefore, every company should monitor how the workplace is viewed on social media and in the press. Hiring managers should fully understand how their employer brands are perceived both externally and internally.

When a potential candidate comes across negative information about your company, they’ll become less inclined to join your organization. Interviewers must be prepared to navigate this sensitive subject. The goal is not to be defensive but to shed light on how the company is addressing its challenges.

Existing employees should also encourage each other to publicly express their positive sentiments about the company. If your employees aren’t motivated to prove their workplace is one of the best, it’s time to take a closer look and what’s going on in your organization.

Showcase Leadership Success

One of the main attractors for an executive candidate is seeing other leaders succeed within an organization. These accomplishments are often perceived to be a result of the company’s internal values and progressive culture. The candidate is likely to view the company as one where leaders can express new ideas and spearhead new programs, and they’ll want to join a company like that.

That’s why it is crucial to demonstrate your leaders’ accomplishments in a relevant, public, and regular way. These are key recruitment messages for executive candidates, and they should be readily accessible on the company’s website, press releases, and social media. It may seem like extra work, but this is precisely the kind of brand reputation management your organization needs to become an employer of choice.

Michael Ruiz is founder of Global Talent Solutions.

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By Michael Ruiz