London, UK — (SBWIRE) — 04/26/2022 — A changing labour market, combined with new, more empowered employee attitudes make this a challenging time for executive search. Strong competition and talent shortages – especially when it comes to C-suite executives – exert intense pressure on organisations keen to ensure leadership is innovative and resilient. Approaching such a challenge with the same tools and attitudes as in years gone by won’t cut it in 2022 – this is the year when winning the war for talent needs a brand-new approach.
A changing executive search landscape
One of the key challenges in acquiring C-suite executives in 2022 is the way the market is changing. On the one hand there is a greater need for more talent at C-suite level – this includes those who are able to fill newly created roles, such as innovation officer, diversity officer and digital transformation officer. On the other hand, the available talent pool is decreasing due to factors such as retirement (almost twice the number of baby boomers retired in 2020, compared to 2019). And then there are the voluntary career changes that are affecting every level post-pandemic – like other employees, C-suite executives are also looking to get more from their role, and will change employers to get this. A shift is happening at an organisational level too when it comes to search priorities. Many more enterprises are starting to zero in on qualities such as emotional intelligence and strategic expertise and experience, for example.
Winning the war for talent – 3 steps
1. Take a more agile approach – Fruitful executive search today moves at speed and is agile enough to respond to changes in markets, employee expectations and being able to act swiftly in order to secure the best candidates. This agility is already something that many businesses began to embed during the pandemic – applying it to executive search is an obvious next step. This means being able to respond more flexibly to candidate preferences and requests and to move on from old, traditional on-site working practices – especially as we get closer to C-suite executive roles entirely populated by the Millennial generation.
2. Be clear about policies relating to C-suite positions – For example, is the business willing to offer remote leadership positions and is flexible working going to be part of a C-suite package? Leaving these ‘details’ until they come up in discussions with candidates who are fielding multiple offers – rather than getting clarity on them in advance – will slow the process down and could mean the business misses out on the best people.
3. Overcome any family objections – It’s an increasingly vital part of the process to be ready – and proactive – when it comes to family objections that could block C-suite recruitment. Whether that’s relocation costs or finding employment for a partner, being able to lead the way with a clear, proactive offer will be a big advantage.
Refining the process of executive search
Leaders today must be able to steer organisations through a period of unprecedented turbulence and challenges and this means looking for a much broader C-suite skill set. Finding those people requires that robust search foundations are in place:
A laser focus – Executive search should be focused on finding candidates who are the best option in terms of skill set and cultural fit. Every part of the recruitment process will contribute to this, from a carefully constructed job description to the way interviews are structured and followed up. The right executive search partner will have a wealth of experience and expertise, understand your industry and operations and be clear on the technical aspects of certain C-suite roles.
Swift action – This is a candidates’ market and executive search must be designed to make the best use of the time that potential candidates have available. Regular outreach and communication will be vital in nurturing the right people. Networks are also key – this isn’t just about waiting for applications but proactively searching, even among those who may not be looking to make a move.
Clarity on value – What defines value in terms of the search process? For example, this might be the cost of failure of not placing the right person (which some estimates put at 2.5 times that executive’s salary). Or, where there is a history of conflict in the c-suite, it might be focusing on finding a successful candidate with high levels of emotional intelligence.
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Leathwaite are CFO recruiters, leaders in executive recruitment and human capital specialists, delivering an interconnected range of executive search, executive interim and data & insight services. Since establishing the business in 1999, Leathwaite has developed key international client partnerships across a range of industry sectors, including as a technology recruiter.
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