How To Hire Senior and Get It Right

Most companies that have grown, hired and/or scaled have hiring horror stories to share. The trick is in minimising the risk as much as possible and that is where this post can hopefully help you get it right first-time round.

Posted by Grant Dixon, Managing Director & Co-founder , Monday June 28 2021

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Effective recruitment is essential to the health of any business. Get the right people working with you and they can make a huge contribution to your company’s success, get it wrong and you will probably experience and mix under-performance, low motivation, and poor retention. 

At senior level, the challenges of recruiting are amplified in two areas.

Firstly, finding the right people to place in positions of responsibility requires a thorough and robust selection process. After all, you are looking for professionals who, if selected well, will help you take your company to new heights. A poor hire on the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, may not only hinder progress but even damage what you already have.

Secondly, the other significant obstacle is the relative scarcity of potential candidates for senior level positions. By their very nature, people who have the experience and track record to qualify for these key executive posts will be the hardest to find and to attract – after all, they are probably already doing very well in their careers somewhere else. The reality is that they will most probably have multiple career opportunities they are considering alongside your own. It is important therefore that the hiring experience for potential hires is enjoyable, engaging, transparent and smooth.

Fortunately, there are strategies to deal with both. As with all recruitment activity, it’s vital for the leadership team know – and agree on - exactly what you’re looking for before the search commences. Internal alignment enables you to prepare an accurate and detailed project brief that everyone has signed off. Confusion and disagreement internally about what skills and experience are required is often one of the most common mistakes businesses make. Everyone involved in the process and decision making has to be on the same page at the start. Reuben Sinclair provides a free tool to enable leadership teams to create an in-depth Candidate Profile that encompasses the views of everyone involved in the decision making as to what your senior hire requires. It not only provides a blended overview across the leadership team but also highlights any areas for concern and internal discussion before commencing the search. If you would like access, please contact the email below.

It is an obvious statement but finding and securing great candidates at this level can be challenging at the best of times. Finding and securing them when the demand for hiring is at its highest level for 23 years, is probably the biggest people challenge your business will face in the current climate. When you consider that a huge proportion of the businesses in your market are also hiring, it is evident why you must invest time and effort into getting this right first time.

Hiring senior candidates is naturally a sensitive process. Engaging with people who are most likely comfortable, respected, and well-rewarded in their current employment needs to be performed with care and discretion. Utilising a specialist 3rd party Recruitment Search provider is a good way to ensure that your senior candidate target pool recognises that this is a serious hiring project for you. A senior candidate being contacted by a specialist 3rd party will be seen as both more professional and flattering. Additionally, you are removing any unconscious bias and preconceptions an individual member of the leadership team may have by utilising a 3rd party. Even if you do choose to leverage your own senior network, it would be advisable for a 3rd party to manage the candidate process for you to ensure equality, fairness, and a consistent candidate experience throughout.

Regardless of the level you are hiring at, the candidate experience should always be as positive as you can make it. In addition to what we have already outlined, here are some simple pointers to help structure an engaging hiring process for both successful and unsuccessful candidates:

-        What is the vision and opportunity for this senior position in your business? Is there a compelling picture you can paint as to why a senior professional should be considering joining the journey you are on?

-        Is there a candidate information pack outlining the company, the vacancy, and any other relevant information? A key fundamental of an excellent candidate experience is information. Being able to answer questions before they have been asked is a great building block for a positive experience. A candidate deck or project brief is something you may have already created previously, or your 3rd party search provider will compose on your behalf for your hiring project. 

-        Is the hiring process mapped out with defined stages and timelines? Being able to communicate timelines and what is expected at each stage is critical to a positive experience. No-one likes being left in the dark and additional stages late in the process do not inspire confidence in candidates as it makes the hiring organisation look unorganised. 

At senior levels, a career move is rarely about financial reasons because wherever a high calibre senior professional is employed, the remuneration will already be substantial. Instead, the opportunity should focus on the bigger picture and what typically motivates successful people: the challenge, the opportunity, the journey, the end goal etc. What can this opportunity within your business offer in terms of personal fulfilment and job satisfaction?

Engaging, selecting and ultimately, hiring senior employees is often one of the most important business projects you can take on. Ultimately, there is no substitute for appointing a specialist recruitment consultancy to provide advice and assistance on everything from process, diversity and benchmarking through to the current market conditions, your specific project and how to access senior networks professionally. At Reuben Sinclair, we are recruitment specialists with extensive experience of hiring into senior executive roles. We have the network, resources, and expertise to help attract them to your firm and the retention level of our senior hiring projects is one reason we were recently recognised as ‘Recruitment Agency of the Year’.

Make a tough job easier. Call us today on +44 (0)203 3826 1206 or email to discuss your hiring project or access our free Senior Vacancy Profiling Tool for your leadership team.


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