If you have an executive vacancy at your organization, you may be tempted to fill that void as quickly as possible. Missing a CFO? You may feel like you can never make another major financial decision again. Missing a COO? Your mind may suddenly fill with visions of essential operations tasks undone left and right. Executives are critical to the success of the company, you reason, and if you’re missing one of those key players, things could go downhill fast—right?
Not as fast as they will if you hire the wrong person for the role. If you’re dealing with an executive vacancy, the number one rule is: Don’t panic. At times like this, whether you’re a hiring manager or the CEO, you have to keep your cool and take the time necessary to hire exactly the right person for the role.
Pro tip: The more urgent the need, the more important it is that you bring in the experts to conduct an efficient search, vet candidates quickly, and present you with a high-quality shortlist. Then, you can make a decision based on what you know are the best options available.
The ideal executive search process involves both the organization and an executive search firm working together to select the ideal candidate. Here’s how it works:
Create or Determine Position
Before you even start thinking about looking for candidates, you and your board need to sit down and have a discussion about what role, exactly, you should be hiring for, and what that role’s responsibilities and duties will be. This role may not necessarily be determined by what role is vacant, either—in fact, this is also a great time to evaluate the company’s goals and whether a different executive role might better serve your needs as a company. As part of this conversation, you will be able to determine the vision you have for the ideal candidate for the role, from responsibilities, to preferred experience, to long-term objectives.
Create a Search Strategy
Now that you have a concrete goal in mind, it’s time to determine your search strategy. Will you throw up a job ad and sift through all the random applications that come through, or will you focus your efforts? At this point, most companies feel it’s wise to bring in an executive search firm to guide the executive search process. An executive search firm will have access to more resources than your company, as well as additional market insight, connections, and potentially even candidates in reserve who are already ready for an opportunity like yours.
Once the strategy is determined, the search firm begins their work. At GRN Mid-Cities, we’ll tap into every resource at hand to find the perfect person for the role, including using our own personal database of candidates, probing social networks, and sending out initial interest queries. With an executive search firm, candidates are first and foremost screened to determine interest, experience, and qualification for the position. That way, you don’t have to waste your time with anyone who isn’t remotely qualified for and seriously interested in the position you urgently need filled.
Interviews and Reference Checks
Once the search firm has compiled a list of top prospective candidates, we begin the interview process ourselves. That’s right—you don’t have to sift through any lackluster candidates who aren’t who they seemed to be on paper. We evaluate each of the candidates that we carefully hand-picked against the specific goals and requirements for the role that you, our client, gave us, and narrow down the field based on your needs. Of the candidates who make it through that first round of interviews, we conduct a full reference check on every single one.
Short List and Second Round Interviews
Every candidate that makes it past our initial screening and rigorous interview process is placed on the short list. Now, it’s your turn. We bring our top picks based on your needs and our own assessment of the candidate’s readiness for the role to you, so that you can jump into the hiring process. In the second round of interviews, the rubber meets the road, and you get to meet and interview our top picks for the executive role you need filled.
Offer & Negotiation
After our client has interviewed all the candidates and made a selection, we work closely with both the client and the candidate to negotiate an employment offer that works for both parties. This is a great advantage of working with a search firm, since you’ll have a third party to assist with making an offer. Once the candidate agrees to join the company and signs the offer, you can begin the onboarding process—and we can be proud of a job well done.
And there you have it. This executive search process may vary based on your needs, the candidates available, and whether you choose to use an executive search firm, but the core functions will remain the same. As you get ready to start this high-stakes endeavor, remember that you’re not alone. An executive search firm like us specializes in finding the perfect candidate for the role you desperately need to fill—and we may already have them on hand, fully vetted, and just waiting for you to call us.