3 Steps to Yes in Executive Recruiting

Posted by Tony Fornetti on 11/20/19 9:40 AM
Tony Fornetti
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Overcome Candidate Objections Before They’re Raised

Executive Search

After an extensive search and a round of interviews, your client agrees with you: you’ve found the perfect candidate and it’s time to write that offer. You’d be celebrating right now…

There’s just one problem.

Another company is having pretty much the same conversation with their recruiter… about your executive candidate. Yes. Turns out that same talented individual, who was such a perfect fit for the position you’re filling, is a perfect fit for several great positions. And by the time you’re trying to convince them that your opportunity is the best fit, you realize you’re hearing second thoughts from your candidate. 

You know this market. You know how competitive it is. And you know you presented an offer that was perfect… from your perspective. Unfortunately, your candidate needed an offer that was perfect from their perspective.

Today, more than ever, attracting top leadership to your business depends on your ability to match the benefits of each position to the unique needs, abilities, and aspirations of each candidate.

But you can’t do that if you don’t have a clear grasp of each of those factors. Follow these 3 steps to be sure you do know next time, every time.


1. Know Your Company's Strengths

The more you know about the benefits, opportunities and perks you're able to offer, the better prepared you are to highlight those, according to each candidate’s priorities. Likewise, you’re better equipped to redirect candidates whose needs are a complete mismatch with what the your company has to offer. Don’t consider yourself ready to talk to candidates until you know these things about the organization:

  • Vision and Values: What are they and what is the organization’s reputation for living up to them?
  • Current Performance: How do they stack up in the marketplace? Are they financially healthy? Are they considered stable?
  • Culture: What do you notice about your company? Is it large, formal, traditional, hierarchical? Small, fast-paced, informal, entrepreneurial? Do the people look and sound happy? What kinds of workstyles mesh best within the environment? Do you value teams and collaboration over individual achievement or are individual contributions and achievements more recognized? What do you read on sites like glassdoor.com?
  • Benefits: Benefits often make a powerful statement about how your organization values its people. Be sure you know everything they provide and how well that package compares to  competitors.


2. Understand the Job and What Makes Your Offer Great

  • Primary accountabilities and regular duties of the job: Get into the details and be sure you have a grasp of what this hire will be expected to accomplish.
  • Regular duties: This is not the same as the above. Even if a candidate has all the potential, they need to know if there are any gaps in skills that would impact their day-to-day effectiveness?
  • Reason for vacancy: Why is this position open? Is it a new position for a growing team? If not, what happened to the incumbent?
  • Impact and opportunities of the role: How influential is this role in the overall success of the organization? What are the growth opportunities?
  • Expectations of the role: How will this person be expected to interact with others? How will their performance standards be established and their success be measured?
  • Rewards, benefits and perks of the role: What’s the full breadth of the compensation structure? How many PTO/ paid holidays are there? What would the commute be like? Are flexible working hours or telecommuting an option? How about the actual work environment? What kind of office setup would your candidate have? Open-space? A cubicle? Office with a door?
  • Other leadership (peers): How do the other members of the leadership team describe their style? Visionary? Micromanager? Easy-going? Benevolent dictator? How experienced are they? What’s their turnover rate? How many of their recent staff have been promoted within the company?

3. Know What the Executive Candidate Really Wants, Needs, and is Ready to Do

You simply cannot know what kind of offer will appeal to a top tier candidate if you don’t have a very specific conversation about what’s going to work for them. Use open-ended questions to find out:

  • Motivation: what drives this person? Money? Recognition? Daily face-to-face interactions with a great team of collaborators? Leading teams? Working solo?
  • Career Growth and Future Opportunities: What’s this person really looking for in their career? Can you honestly portray this position as a positive next step in that career trajectory?
  • Workplace Environment: what kind of workplace environment most appeals to them?
  • Schedule, location and commuting needs: If occasional telecommutes and general flexibility are necessary, don’t waste people’s time unless the employer routinely offers these perks.
  • Push or Pull? What’s the real story on why this candidate is interested? Are they fleeing a dead-end company or terrible boss? Are they intrigued and excited about taking a positive next step in their career? Both may be true. But the more you understand, the better prepared you are to talk through the range of benefits this opportunity provides.

Maybe this all seems like a lot. It is. But the more you practice interviewing all parties for these facts, the better you’ll be at assessing true alignment between your organization and candidate. And the closer you’ll get to yes.

Would you like help with your next executive search? Reach out to our team. We would love to be of service.

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Topics: Interviewing For Employers, For Employers, Executive search