Every organization wants to have great leaders. Great executives not only have the skills to understand and comprehend a complex situation, but they can make strategic decisions based on the information allocated to them. But where can organizations find these ‘rockstar’ leaders and how can they attract these executives to work for them? Below we suggest some tips on how to find and attract top executive talent.
How to attract great executives to your organization
1) Evaluate what you need and want from the executive
Before you can make a decision on who you want to work for you, you need to have a clear understanding of what your company thinks a great leader is. Depending on the industry, there are different skills and attributes you will expect an executive to bring. For example, startups may be looking for an executive who, in addition to management, is also willing to contribute to any task no matter how little (like writing a marketing piece or helping with sales calls). In contrast, mature corporations may be prioritizing their search for an executive who is a strategic thinker and can inspire their team and the public at large. Being able to lead a large team of employees at a high level is required for large corporations that is not necessarily needed in a startup executive (at least not at the beginning stages). Hence, it is crucial to understand the skill set you need in an executive.
“Rockstar leaders look very different in different places” – Sean Walker, on the WWP podcast
Before hiring an executive, it is also important to evaluate your current employees. There may be certain skill sets, behaviors, and/or traits that are a priority for your organization. For instance, vulnerability is a trait that is becoming more essential in leaders’ and managers’ day-to-day. The ability to be open and willing to talk about different opinions and alternatives is becoming a hallmark of high-performing teams. This includes actively listening to employees as well as the ability to give and receive effective feedback.
2) Find the right executive that fits the job description
Be clear on the expectations. As mentioned before, great executives can look very different depending on the position, stage, culture etc. of the company. It is important to clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations of the executive. Most executives are extremely self-aware; they know what they are good at and what they can offer a company.
“Most executives are self-aware and more experienced; they know what their strengths and weaknesses are.” – Sean Walker, on the WWP podcast
3) Showcase company culture to attract the right executives
Market the culture of your company. This will showcase the work environment and team a potential executive would be leading. You need to be sure that your company culture, as well as company mission and values, captures the aspirations of the executive you are wanting to hire. Ensure your company page and social media are up-to-date to highlight company successes and showcase your company culture, mission, and vision.
4) Network & build important and personal relationships
There are resources that an HR leader can utilize to find the best executives. For example, Ladders and HeadHunter.com are two websites that specifically list executive positions available. There are also staffing companies that specialize in finding the right executive for your needs. It can also be a good idea to leverage your current employees, alumni, investors, and board members for referrals. Of course, another widely used resource is LinkedIn, which has more job listings than most other sites and enables recruiters to offer a more personable approach to attract candidates. Using a highly personalized approach to make connections with executives can set you apart from other organizations seeking them out. When reaching out, it helps to lead with what you know drives them so that you can showcase that you are committed to fulfilling what they want most from the position.
Have any other ideas on how to attract top executive talent? Let us know!
For more details on attracting executives, make sure to check out our WWP podcast episode #11 with Sean Walker.