Let’s face it, if the recruiting practices some businesses use were straightforward and provided consistently good results I would be writing about my winter vacation and how much fun I had and how different this year’s vacation was from prior years.  The facts about these recruiting practices (and my winter vacation) however, tell us something different.

Executive recruitment – and the strategies to find awesome executive talent sometimes are not straightforward.  Mind you, the process is not complicated, but it does require a consistent and persistent effort and focus.

I thought I would explain my executive recruitment talent strategy in three simple steps in the hope that you can benefit from it.  Be prepared, because these questions might cause you to dig a bit deeper into how you approach your recruitment process.

What Needs Do You Have For This Position (Why Is It A Critical Position To Fill)?

executive recruitmentThe first step in the executive recruitment strategy is to identify the critical need for the position.  Here I want you to consider the role this position plays in relation to the fulfillment of your business plan, goals and objectives. (Don’t have a business plan?  Hmmm.) Consider as well the role the position occupies in the interrelationships with other key leadership and management positions, as well as the role it occupies relative to projects, programs, customer service, and employee development.

For instance, if you are recruiting a chief marketing officer, how important is it for this person to assist you in developing your business plan, goals and objectives? As your chief marketing officer how important is this person’s responsibilities in developing marketing strategies that will influence the accomplishment of key business objectives?

What Happens If You Don’t Fill The Position?

Think of this next step as a visual.  You have a hole in a bucket, and you decide that you don’t need to plug the hole.  Now, fill the bucket with water, and you have the equivalent of the proverbial leaky bucket.  Keeping that position unfilled will allow water to leak out, continuously, so why is there a need to fill the position?  Look at the opposite first.  Does employee development suffer? Do programs, projects, or customer service suffer?  How do other members of the executive team fulfill the responsibilities of the position so that the position functions are fulfilled?leaky bucket

Is it possible, for instance, for the chief financial officer to fulfill the responsibilities of the chief marketing officer?  Could the operations director fulfill those responsibilities? How unique are the talents and skill sets of the chief marketing officer – and how many of the position functions can be fulfilled by other executives in your business?

Why Do You Need To Fill The Position Now Instead Of Three Or Six Months From Now?

Related to the second step, but decidedly different is the question of when you have to fill a vacant executive position.  Is it right now, three months from now, or six months from now?  What do your business plans and strategies tell you need to be done, by whom, and by when?  Critically look at the subparts – the projects, the programs, and the people who will be responsible for implementation.  Is there a need now to fill the position or can it wait?  What are the financial implications of waiting?

In discussion with a client recently we discussed the need for a marketing director as well as a human resources director and several account executives.  We reviewed the priorities the owner has set and determined the ordering of recruitment for the positions.  Scaling up this high growth business required the owner to be very specific in establishing his priorities so that his revenue targets were going to be met within a specific time period.

Creating a winning executive recruitment talent strategy can help businesses become more productive and more profitable.  In our experience we have found it helpful to our clients to develop a deliberate, thoughtful strategy that centers with a discussion on business needs, the ability of the business to fulfill these needs with – or without the position being filled, and to identify the executive recruitment period so that the business will be able to achieve its objectives.  That’s our why – and how we do it results in our winning executive recruitment strategy.