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How Top Companies Are Approaching Executive Search for Success

June 13, 2024

When it comes to your executive search, a lot of factors play into a positive outcome. Each search process is unique, but the most successful hiring teams use a number of common approaches. 

We’ve found the best results happen when your hiring team is prepared, clear on the role, open about expectations, and committed to the process. To see this in action, look no further than SHINE’s COO search

If you’re wondering how you can follow their example and set your team up for success on your next executive search, keep on reading. 

Start with a unified team

Every hiring team is different, depending on the role and the needs of the organization. We usually recommend including a few key players, like a direct manager, a close peer, and a direct report. Board members are often involved in executive hires, as well. 

Not only is it important to choose the right team, but it’s also vital for everyone on the hiring team to be on the same page about the goal. Establish an understanding of why the role is open, what the biggest challenges are, and what characteristics the ideal candidate should have. Each interviewer should have their own focus—this way, candidates aren’t answering the same questions multiple times or leaving things unaddressed. 

Define your needs

Before you dive into the executive hiring process, it’s a good idea to take the time to determine exactly what your needs are. Searching for talent at the VP level is different from searching for someone in the C-Suite, for example. Once you’ve determined what level of leader you’re looking for, you should also define what type of executive you need. 

Not all executives are the same. For example, if you’re looking for a CFO, you won’t want to hire just any Finance leader. There’s a big difference between a CFO with an accounting background and one with a strategic operations background. Every leader has a different skill set and is better equipped to solve different problems or lead different organizations. 

SHINE needed a hands-on COO with specific industry experience. This distinction allowed us to focus on sourcing candidates with a very precise skillset, and it made the search—and subsequently, the final hire—a lasting success. 

Reconsider the job description

When it comes to the job description, we encourage our clients to think about it as a way to attract the right candidates and align on expectations for the role. 

It’s a good idea to review the language in your job description for words or phrases that might discourage women or otherwise underrepresented leaders from applying. We also recommend you reduce your listed requirements to the most important items. Remember, the job description is a summary—it’s not meant to encompass the full extent of the role, but to attract leaders who would be a good fit. 

Learn more about writing an effective job description. 

Commit to the process

We may be a bit biased, but we believe working with a great executive search partner is a game changer. From reconsidering the job description and requirements to considering candidates from diverse backgrounds, working with a team like Bolster can help you assess and benchmark your team, understand your exact needs, and get aligned as you begin your executive search.

Even when working with a search partner, it’s important to understand that the executive search process is a commitment. Setting aside time and resources will help you get the most out of the process. 

SHINE was a true partner in the search—operator-driven, receptive, proactive in communication, willing to prioritize their time, and trusting in our expertise and process—and as a result, they landed their dream candidate. 

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with us? Let us know what you’re looking for.