How can businesses present themselves positively during executive searching, and retain the talent they need to thrive?
While finding and sustaining the ideal executive network has never been a simple task, the process of executive searching is more challenging now than ever.
Recruitment in a modern world of expanding skills and essential knowledge is a rigorous process for even the most experienced companies.
Successful hiring means not only understanding what identifies the right candidate for your business, but knowing how to interact with those individuals in a way that outshines your competition, and encourages instant loyalty.
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESLC), the search for CFOs took far longer in 2015 than they did in 2014—and the complexity involved with capturing candidate interest is increasing.
Companies can no longer afford to consider each candidate as expendable, as the most valuable employees in the working world are no longer searching for “any job”—they’re searching for a position that fulfills their needs and aspirations.
Organizations that want to avoid the expenses of executive turnover—which can cost approximately double that person’s salary—have begun to learn that making the right impression in an interview goes both ways.
So, how can businesses present themselves positively to more selective executives, and retain the talent they need to thrive?
1. Candidate Experience Matters
In the past, when executive positions were scarce, it was up to candidates to convince their potential employers that they were the person for the job.
Now, the interaction is a two-way street. Though candidates still need to present their skillset in a way that sells them to their future employer, companies also need to present their businesses in a way that makes executives want to be part of their team. Interviews at this level go both ways—companies are interviewing candidates, but candidates are interviewing companies as well. In other words, there is an increased focus on “candidate experience“.
As baby boomers retire, the job market has shifted, and many companies fear they will meet executive postings with a smaller pool of qualified candidates. Keep in mind that a unique and engaging opportunity is the one that is likely to get the most interest.
Organizations need to convince their future executives that they will not only gain access to an incredible professional opportunity but get the respect and benefits they expect for their years of experience and talent. Showing the value of your employee culture, and treating each candidate as important is essential.
2. Offering Ongoing Opportunities—Not Just a Job
In the world of business growth and long-term success, talent is everything.
When asking “How do we attract the right talent?” many businesses automatically assume that the answer lies within a hefty paycheck. While pay is a large consideration, a better strategy may be to offer a position that allows candidates to use their talent and build their future.
The average executive is looking for more than just a wage. These candidates are looking for an opportunity to be a part of something special, and get better at what they do. Presenting a great story behind your business, and offering an environment that speaks to personal and professional growth will give your business the chance to offer candidates meaning in their work. At the same time, you benefit from finding people that share your values.
Financial compensation is always going to be a factor in finding the right talent, but if the only reason an executive becomes involved in your company is to get a paycheck, then there’s likely to be something missing in your relationship.
Make it clear that future executives will have a voice in your company, and a chance to grow with you as your business grows.
3. Knowing the True Value of Experience, and Qualifications
The world of social media and online interaction means that organizations now have a greater insight into the wealth of candidates available with their ideal qualifications and experience levels.
However, it’s important to remember that there is often more to an ideal candidate than their portfolio or experience.
Diversity and insight are also becoming increasingly important, and it’s essential to consider a range of people for a role before limiting yourself to a pre-determined idea of your perfect candidate.
Look for someone who meets all of the job qualifications, but also make sure that they share a passion and belief for your vision. Examine soft skills, as well as hard skills, when evaluating the compatibility any candidate has with your organization regarding motivation.
4. Making Executive Retention a Priority
Though finding and hiring the correct executives can be a challenge, the complications don’t end there. Companies also need to retain talent that they employ and provide them with enough incentives to maximize their loyalty and productivity.
An especially useful option in retention is to set up a retirement plan. These plans not only allow you to invest in your business’ future but also reduce your company’s tax burden and assist with attracting and retaining valuable executives.
Seasoned executives often consider retirement plans to be a light at the end of the employment tunnel, and an incentive that helps them to avoid looking for other jobs.
Though many executives achieve above-average salaries, they also need to think about how they can put away enough money for retirement during their professional life—and a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) can help to take some of the pressure off their shoulders.
SERPs, as well as specialized life insurance plans, can offer a tax-advantaged solution that helps executives get the most out of their position within your company, and keep them for the long term.
The trick is to find the right retirement plan that is affordable to your business while maximizing the outcome for your executives. For instance, while a traditional 457(f) plan can result in the loss of more than half of an executive’s retirement benefits to taxes and fees, other types of plans can offer more tax-efficiency and can include financial vehicles for retiring executives that are safe and provide competitive rates of return.
Finding and Maintaining the Right Executives
Searching for the right talent to supplement the gaps in your company is a difficult task, but it’s one that’s essential for any growing or thriving business.
While there are many factors in effective recruitment to consider, from offering ongoing opportunities, good candidate experience, and assessing the value of soft and hard skills, it’s important to remember that the challenges don’t stop after hiring your candidate.
Long-term success means making executive retention a priority, and holding onto your most skilled employees with benefits that enhance their loyalty and commitment.