How to handle executive recruiting

Executive recruiting is a multifaceted endeavor that combines elements of art and science. The ultimate objective is to attract top-tier talent, even if they are not actively seeking new opportunities. Approach it as a market where the candidate is the discerning customer. By following Recruitery's guidelines, you can maximize your chances of success on how to handle executive recruiting.

executive recruiting

What is executive recruitment?

Executive search is a specialized form of recruitment designed to draw in exceptionally qualified senior management professionals for an organization. This approach is commonly employed to fill pivotal positions, such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Head of Human Resources (HRD), and Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The Common Challenges in Executive Recruiting 

In this section, we will discover the common challenges in recruiting executive positions

Changing Talent Dynamics

Executive search used to follow a 20%-80% rule, with 20% being top-tier candidates. Today, it's more like a 93%-7% rule, making it harder to find top executives. Staffing agencies need more precise strategies to secure high-caliber candidates.

Need for Speed

Business growth has accelerated dramatically, often resembling a hockey-stick trajectory due to tech-driven trends. This rapid expansion amplifies the need for executives capable of steering through such swift growth, creating urgency for staffing to swiftly source and place top-tier talent.

Intensifying Competition

The global Executive Search market is a fierce competition. Firms must differentiate through branding, tech solutions, and long-term relationships.

Engaging Passive Candidates

Many top candidates are currently employed but open to new opportunities. To attract them, firms should proactively reach out, align roles with their aspirations, and build authentic relationships.

executive recruiting

Balancing Client Expectations and Cultural Fit

Aligning candidate qualifications with a company's culture and long-term vision is a complex challenge. Managing client expectations requires a delicate blend of patience and realism. Executive recruiters must engage in dialogue with clients to set clear expectations regarding candidate profiles and timelines. 

Confidentiality and Discretion

Executive positions involve sensitive information and complex hiring processes. Search consultants must safeguard the privacy and interests of both clients and candidates to prevent breaches or miscommunications.

Tackling Candidate Ghosting

Candidate ghosting is a common issue in executive recruitment. To combat it, prioritize regular communication, transparent updates, and a genuine interest in candidates' career aspirations to maintain strong engagement throughout the process.

Executive Search Process

Let's dive into how an executive search process being operated from the beginning to end 

Define Search Priorities

  • Assess unique organizational and role-specific challenges.

  • Identify essential skills, knowledge, and abilities, providing insights and innovative perspectives on client needs.

  • Tailor a detailed position and candidate specification, outlining the company, role, responsibilities, goals, key challenges, and necessary qualifications.

  • Establish client-driven priorities that will guide the search process.

Establish Search Strategy

  • Perform focused research in companies and sectors to identify candidates with relevant skills and qualifications, leveraging our extensive network of relationships with board directors and senior executives across various industries and functions.

  • Create a comprehensive list of prospects with the highest qualifications for the role, offering clients meaningful choices.

  • Engage with third-party contacts to identify and assess prospects; this initial reference work is a key element of our approach, enhancing the productivity of discussions around the long list.

executive recruiting

Attract and Assess Candidates

  • Reach out to potential candidates to gauge their interest in the role, utilizing our understanding of candidate preferences to entice strong prospects to explore fresh opportunities.

  • Perform in-depth competency-based interviews with candidates, aligning their skills, knowledge, abilities, and aptitudes with the position's specifications.

  • Compile a shortlist of candidates who possess the required qualifications and express genuine interest in the position.

Introduce Top Candidates for Client Interviews

  • Showcase the most qualified candidates with detailed written assessments aligned with the position's specifications.

  • Incorporate external perspectives on each candidate to validate and enrich our understanding of their accomplishments and track record, offering valuable insights into their past performance and reputation.

  • Conduct comprehensive executive capability assessments, employing evaluation methods in high-stakes finalist selection scenarios if possible.

  • Validate the academic qualifications of each candidate.

Finalize the Search Process

  • Upon the client's selection of their preferred candidate, perform extensive background checks and references to gain a deeper understanding of competencies, strengths, weaknesses, and gather external perspectives on the individual.

  • Aid in negotiations regarding compensation and other terms to conclude the search successfully.

  • Maintain regular communication with both the client and the placed candidate during the transition period.

  • Administer a client satisfaction survey to enhance our service and refine our approach.

  • Periodically follow up with both the client and the candidate after the search is concluded to assess the placement's alignment with the organization and the progress of the transition.


executive recruiting

Executive recruiting combines art and science to secure top talent, regardless of their current job status. Treat it as a buyer's market with the candidate as the buyer. Reruitery hopes this article has given you a comprehensive overview on how to handle executive recruiting.