What defines an executive-level position?

Understand the qualities that define an executive-level position and how those factors influence key components of a talent search. Beacon Hill Staffing can help you get started.

When it comes to talent searches, partnering with an effective and dependable talent acquisition firm can be a "make or break" decision. Such firms can give your organization access to vast networks, highly relevant experience and the unique expertise of recruiters that support your talent acquisition efforts.

Selecting the appropriate type of talent search for the position(s) to be filled, however, is a critical step to align your partner's resources and priorities with the task at hand. Let's take a closer look at the specific considerations of an executive-level talent search, starting with a practical definition of that job category.

What is an executive-level position?

Generally, an executive role (in the context of recruiting) is considered a director-level position or above, including vice presidents and members of the C-suite. For companies with a unique or less-common corporate hierarchy, an executive-level position will include those only at the very highest levels of the organization.

It's helpful to note that in situations where discussions solely on salary and the most basic benefits are needed, the position doesn't qualify as an executive one. When candidates expect to hear about more granular information — the base pay, bonus structure, long-term incentives, 401k match options, etc. — the job role can be considered executive.

What other questions can you ask to determine if a role should be structured on the executive level?

  • Do a lot of resources need to be dedicated to the recruitment process?
  • Will the position have a far-reaching impact throughout the organization?
  • Will networks (as opposed to a job posting or advertisement) be the major or only source of candidates?
  • Is a high level of discretion needed?

What are effective models for recruiting executive-level talent?

There are three broad categories of talent searches:

  • Retained search: This category refers to an exclusive relationship between the firm and the company for recruiting a specific role or roles. It also entails a high degree of communication and careful research and analysis on the part of recruiters.
  • Contingency search: Commonly used for less-senior positions, this type doesn't include the exclusivity or especially high level of communication seen in a retained search.
  • Hybrid search: This approach brings together elements of both types of searches, emphasizing increased flexibility in terms of sourcing candidates while retaining a high degree of communication and the exclusive relationship of retained search.

What type of search is most common for executive-level candidates?

In most instances, businesses opt for retained or hybrid searches when seeking out a candidate to fill an executive-level role. This is because of the combination of exclusivity, discretion and frequent communication they offer.

What is the importance of the candidate's experience in the executive search process?

A good first impression and overall recruiting process are priorities for all candidates, regardless of the role. However, executive prospects are generally already employed and may not be actively seeking a new position, giving them a high degree of leverage. A positive and consistent experience can attract job seekers early on and keep them engaged throughout.

How can your business create a positive candidate experience?

  • Form a strong partnership with your recruiting firm.
  • Take advantage of the consistent flow of information that executive search offers.
  • Place trust in your recruiter to serve as a singular extension of your company in the search.

With that level of commitment, your partner firm can exercise a high level of discretion as it seeks out and connects with qualified candidates.

Why is quality — not speed — your most important consideration for an executive search?

Recruiters are keenly aware that organizations need highly-qualified candidates to succeed and support the organization and a poor fit at the executive level can ultimately lead to negative outcomes across a business. As a result, candidate quality becomes a top priority when executives are involved.

What if you need a position filled — fast?

Considerations around time to hire aren't simply set aside, of course. However, identifying the best candidate within a reasonable timeframe is fundamentally more important than recruiting an average applicant as quickly as possible. In cases where an executive is absolutely needed on a shorter timeline, a dependable recruiter will work to meet any deadlines while carefully taking quality into account.

How can an experienced recruiter support the process?

An experienced and connected recruiter can:

  • Leverage their expertise and existing networks to identify suitable candidates.
  • Use their networks to secure endorsements of candidates from others in similar fields.

By drawing on the input of trusted executives, your business and your recruiter can move forward with greater confidence.

What are your organization's responsibilities?

Organizations need to foster agile internal hiring teams that can support recruiting needs, as well as continuously discuss project progress. The relationship between a talent acquisition partner and your business requires a high degree of collaboration that needs to be maintained throughout the process for the best results.

What are the disadvantages of working with several firms during an executive search?

It may be tempting to work with many talent acquisition firms in an effort to secure a high-quality candidate. However, this can lead to:

  • Duplicate work and wasted efforts without a high level of coordination.
  • A focus on speed instead of quality — which simply won't provide the best possible candidate.
  • Greater risk of a poor candidate experience. Especially in executive search, the available candidate pools are likely to be limited. How will a potential candidate feel if they are contacted multiple times by multiple agencies about the same opening? At the very least, they are likely to question the organizational philosophy and lack of coordination.

Attracting a truly exceptional prospect for an executive role is only possible when your organization dedicates itself to the recruiting process in support of its partner firm. In turn, that kind of close working relationship is often only viable when it's a direct, exclusive partnership with just one recruiter.

How can your business find the right staffing partner?

An effective recruiter will emphasize discussion and collaboration to establish a mutually agreeable process that's well-suited for the specific role to be filled. Furthermore, a reliable recruiting partner will work within any rules set and frameworks established to deliver the best possible candidate. A superior staffing partner has the capacity to address all types of talent needs and provide consistent results no matter the specifics of the situation.

Beacon Hill: Your partner for executive-level talent searches

At Beacon Hill, our experienced and connected recruiters help to optimize your search for a candidate through:

  • An extensive understanding of relevant trends, the current market and other key factors.
  • Vast connections and networks that help us efficiently and effectively identify top prospects.
  • Using contacts and networks to secure endorsements from others in similar industries and positions.

Our commitment to communication and relationship-building underpins each and every executive search we perform. We recognize that no two top-level talent acquisition projects are the same, so we prioritize conversations that set expectations and empower our teams to do the best work possible.

To learn more about starting an executive search partnership, get in touch with us today.

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