Exec Search Secrets: How to Perfectly Streamline Your Hiring Journey

Having worked in the executive search industry for nearly 20 years, I have recruited for a countless number of hiring organisation’s and their application and onboarding processes have varied significantly. Here we give away some of our Exec Search secrets and our top tips for success.

As the hiring process is a complex process between employers and potential employees. With so many things happening in the hiring process, it’s essential to ensure that every step is streamlined for efficiency and clarity. Let’s explore how to make this journey smoother for everyone involved.

The Application Phase: Making a Good First Impression

When a potential candidate comes across your job posting or is contacted by your talent acquisition team or search partner, their first interaction with your brand begins. This phase is your golden opportunity to put your best foot forward, enticing the right candidates to engage. Here’s how to make that first impression a lasting and positive one.

Clear Job Descriptions

Your job advertisement is not just a list of tasks or qualifications – it is your company’s handshake with the potential employee. Imagine entering a room and greeting someone for the first time; that’s what your job description does.

When managing an Exec Search campaign our preference is to produce a candidate pack that fully outlines the role, the businesses strategy, the culture of the organisation and any other information that might be relevant for a particular campaign or to build an emotional connection with prospective applicants.

Detail Matters

Every job role has its nuances, and while you don’t want an overly lengthy description, you shouldn’t be too vague either. A clear understanding of what’s expected, where this role can have an impact and an understanding of relevant spans of control, can paint a vivid picture of the day-to-day role.

Transparency

Being open about job prerequisites from the start saves time on both ends. If a role requires certain certifications or a specific number of years in a particular domain, make it known. This ensures only qualified candidates move forward, reducing the screening burden.

Intuitive Design

Ensure your application platform’s layout is intuitive. Candidates shouldn’t have to play detective to find where they need to click next. Clearly labeled buttons, a progress bar indicating how much of the application is left, and concise instructions can guide candidates smoothly.

Mobile Optimisation

A significant portion of job seekers uses mobile devices to explore opportunities. If your application platform isn’t optimized for mobile, you might be inadvertently turning away potential talent. Ensure the mobile experience is as seamless as the desktop one.

Multi-format Submissions

Everyone has their preferred way of showcasing their achievements. Some prefer traditional CVs, while others might want to link to online portfolios or LinkedIn profiles. Offering flexibility in submission formats ensures you don’t miss out on talent due to platform restrictions.

Save and Resume

Life happens. Sometimes an applicant might get interrupted mid-way. Having a ‘save and resume later’ option ensures they don’t have to start from scratch, making the process less daunting.

Immediate Acknowledgment

Senior peole are busy, when managing an Executive ssearch campaign it is paramount that once a candidate submits their application, a simple acknowledgment, like an automated email, can go a long way. It assures the candidate that their application has been received and sets the tone for future interactions.

Specificity is Key in Exec Search

Instead of merely stating that you want a “qualified” individual, what does “qualified” mean for this particular role? If it’s a managerial position, perhaps you’re looking for someone with a certain amount of team leadership experience or someone who can demonstrate having built a team previously or restructured an organisation.

For a technical role, maybe familiarity with a specific software is a must or maybe not? Sometimes you can think someone might need technical expertise but maybe you are precluding better candidates by asking for system experience when it could be learnt or maybe there are more technical team members that manage the detail.

Flexibility Matters

While the criteria act as a guide, it’s essential to be flexible. Some candidates might not tick every box but bring other valuable assets to the table. For instance, a candidate might lack a specific certification but has hands-on experience that can prove to be invaluable.

The Human Touch

While these tools are invaluable in handling the volume, it’s essential to recognize that a resume is a nuanced document. It narrates a person’s professional journey, their challenges, growth, and achievements. Some of these intricacies might get lost if we rely solely on automated tools.

Look Beyond Keywords

A candidate might not have used the exact keyword you’re searching for, but they might still possess the desired skill or experience. For instance, instead of the term “project management,” a candidate might mention they “oversaw a team to deliver a project.” The essence remains the same, even if the wording differs.

Story over Structure

Some candidates might have unconventional resume structures, or they might come from diverse backgrounds where the traditional resume format differs. Instead of discarding these at first glance, take a moment to understand the story they’re telling.

For a senior appointment you might expect that the prospective appointee will be totally at ease, however, both parties will come with hopes in interview, expectations, and a dash of nerves. The interview for any Exec Search campaign needs to be thorough.

Although it’s the company’s opportunity to get to know the candidate, it is worth bearing in mind that this is a 2 way process, and given the current challenges for sourcing talent. In my mind it is worth building in an informal meeting stage early on in th hiring process to build a relationship and to engage with any prospective candidates. This stage can be decisive, making or breaking the deal for both sides…

Structured Interviews

Just as a builder wouldn’t construct a house without a blueprint, interviewers should approach this process with a clear plan. Enter structured interviews, the blueprint of effective hiring.

Leveling the Playing Field: When every candidate is posed the same questions, it ensures consistency and fairness. It negates the possibility of biases creeping in based on a candidate’s background, appearance, or other unrelated factors.

Reliability: Research has shown that structured interviews have a better track record of predicting job performance. This is because they focus on competencies and skills directly related to the role at hand.

Comparability: As all candidates answer the same questions, it becomes easier for the hiring team to compare and contrast their responses. This ensures that decisions are made based on merit and fit rather than random factors.

Multi-tiered Approach

Think of the interview process as a funnel. At the top, you have a wide array of candidates, and as you progress through the stages, you narrow down to those who align best with the company’s needs.

Preliminary Screening: Initiating the process with a phone or video interview can be a time-saver. It provides an opportunity to assess basic qualifications, communication skills, and motivation. This ensures that only genuinely potential candidates progress further.

Layered Depth: Subsequent rounds can then delve deeper into technical prowess, cultural fit, and problem-solving abilities. This step-wise progression ensures a comprehensive evaluation without overwhelming either side.

Feedback at Every Stage: After every round, it’s considerate to provide feedback to the candidate. Even if they don’t progress further, constructive feedback can be invaluable for their professional journey.

Transparent Communication

Transparency is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship, and the employer-candidate relationship is no different in any exec search hiring proces.

Set Clear Expectations: At the start of the interview, let candidates know the structure of the process, how many rounds they might expect, and the anticipated timeline.

Honesty is the Best Policy: If a candidate is no longer in the running, it’s more respectful to let them know rather than leaving them in the dark. This not only brings closure for the candidate but also upholds the company’s reputation.

The Offer: Sealing the Deal

The culmination of the entire hiring process rests on the offer phase. It’s the grand gesture, the moment of truth. How it’s presented can be the deciding factor for many candidates.

Quick Turnaround

In Exec Search, time is of the essence. Once you’ve zeroed in on your ideal candidate, it’s essential to act swiftly.

The longer a candidate waits for an offer, the more time they have to second-guess their decision, or worse, be wooed away by another opportunity. Swift actions not only increase acceptance rates but also show candidates that you value and prioritize them.

An offer letter is not the place for vague statements. Salary details, job responsibilities, start dates, work hours, benefits, and other essential details should be clearly spelled out. This not only sets clear expectations but also fosters trust from the get-go.

Onboarding Process

The real journey begins after the offer is accepted. Onboarding is akin to rolling out the red carpet for the new hire, ensuring they transition smoothly into their new role and environment.

Afte an Exec Search campaign completes and before a new hire steps into the office, providing them with resources can drastically reduce their first-day impact. By sending over company handbooks, access to necessary software, or even a welcome video message from the team, new hires can get a sense of belonging even before day one. It’s the equivalent of reading up on a destination before embarking on a journey.

Structured First Week

The initial days of a new job can be difficult. A structured first week can make this easier to manage. Meet, Greet, Repeat: Introduce the new hire to their colleagues, not just as a formality but to foster genuine connections. Follow this with training sessions that equip them with the skills and knowledge they’ll need in their role.

Mentorship Programs

Walking into a new workspace can feel like being the new kid at school. Having a designated mentor or buddy is like having a trusted schoolyard friend showing you the ropes.

A mentor can be the go-to person for any queries or concerns, ensuring that the new hire never feels lost or isolated. Moreover, the onboarding process is always evolving. Setting up channels for new hires to provide feedback ensures this evolution is in the right direction.

Finally, by encouraging new employees to share their onboarding experiences, you’re not only refining the process for future hires but also emphasizing that their opinions matter. It’s a simple yet effective way to cultivate a culture of openness and continuous improvement.

OUR FOCUS ON LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS

At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

Unlocking the Secrets to Identifying, Attracting, and Recruiting top HR Talent

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, the hunt for recruiting top-tier HR talent has become an intricate dance between companies vying for the best candidates and candidates seeking the most rewarding opportunities.

For many HR directors, it is as equally challenging to find the right talent for their own team as it is to solve the talent challenges within their respective businesses. This has been even more pronounced in the face of skill scarcity of recent years.

In industries grappling with skill shortages, finding and keeping the right talent is a formidable task. However, by embracing innovative talent acquisition strategies, you can not only rise above the competition but also secure a sustainable pipeline of skilled professionals.

Understanding the Landscape: The Skill Scarcity Conundrum

According to a recent report by the Office for National Statistics, the UK is facing an acute skills shortage across various sectors, including technology, healthcare, and engineering. This scarcity is attributed to a multitude of factors, including rapid technological advancements, changing job requirements, and demographic shifts.

 

Want to be a Chief People Officer?

Check our our essential guide to managing your career path to becoming a CPO.

Unveiling Innovative Talent Identification

1. Skill Mapping and Predictive Analytics

Leveraging technology to its fullest, skill mapping and predictive analytics can be potent tools. Platforms like LinkedIn Talent Insights enable HR directors to map skills supply and demand in real time.

By anticipating skills shortages, you can proactively tailor your recruitment efforts.

We recently wrote an article on data analytics which gives some tips and advice which you can find HERE

2. Reskilling programs

Initiate reskilling programs for employees whose roles might be impacted by automation or technology shifts. By identifying transferable skills and guiding employees into new roles, you can prevent skill obsolescence and employee displacement.

Clearly defined career pathways that outline growth opportunities within the business can also attract top talent, knowing that their development is a priority.

3. Build your own:

Investing in the development of your current workforce is crucial. Identify high-potential employees and provide them with times for upskilling and cross-training. Not only does this fill immediate skill gaps but also boosts employee morale, engagement, and loyalty.

Offering continuous learning sends a message that your business values growth and invests in its employees’ futures.

Therefore, you could also consider collaborating with educational institutions to develop specialised training programs can help bridge the skills gap. By tailoring education to industry demands, you can ensure that graduates possess the skills necessary for immediate employment. Initiatives like apprenticeships, internships, and partnerships with universities can create a pipeline of skilled workers who are ready to contribute from day one.

Navigating the Attraction Odyssey

1. Personalised Employer Branding

Similarily, when recruiting for HR talent, crafting a compelling employer brand that resonates with your target talent pool. To confirm this, a study by Glassdoor revealed that job seekers are 3.5 times more likely to apply for a job at a company with a strong employer brand. Showcase your company’s culture, values, and career growth through story telling.

2. Flexible Work Arrangements

The pandemic has underscored the value of flexible work arrangements. A survey by McKinsey & Company found that 58% of employees consider flexibility as a top consideration when job hunting. Offering hybrid or remote work options can attract top talent seeking a work-life balance.

Anchoring Talent: Retention in Skill-Scarce Environments

1. Continuous Learning Ecosystems

Investing in continuous learning opportunities, can foster employee growth and loyalty. Establish mentorship programs, provide access to online courses, and encourage skill development to combat skill obsolescence.

In addition, when recruiting for HR talent, most great candidates will have multiple offers and will want to join the business that gives them the most opportunity to learn and develop.

2. Inclusive Work Cultures

Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand with talent retention. A study by Deloitte found that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative leaders. Prioritize an environment where all voices are heard and ideas are valued, creating a sense of belonging.

Final Thoughts

As an HR director, the path to overcoming skill scarcity and thriving in a competitive job market is not a solitary journey. By embracing a holistic approach that combines education, training, remote work, and inclusivity, companies can pave the way for a brighter future.

However, we recognise that this can take time to implement, especially when searching for top-tier professionals in highly competitive talent markets. This is where our expertise at re:find steps in. With a proven track record of successfully identifying, attracting, and placing exceptional candidates in skill-short industries, we understand the challenges of talent acquisition.

Our dedicated team possess the insights and connections necessary to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of executive search. Leveraging our extensive network and industry knowledge, we excel at uncovering the hidden gems, the HR superstars who possess the unique blend of skills, experience, and cultural fit that your organisation requires.

OUR FOCUS ON LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS

At re:find we have been hiring HR talent for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our central government executive search practice and our CCS framework please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

EVP V Brand: which one wins?

 

EVP V Brand: EVP stands for Employee Value Proposition, while brand refers to a company’s overall reputation and identity. Although there is some overlap between the two concepts, they focus on different aspects of an organisation.

EVP refers to the unique set of benefits and rewards that an employer offers to its employees in exchange for their skills, capabilities, and contributions. It encompasses the value an employee receives from working at a particular organisation. EVP includes factors such as remuneration, benefits, work-life balance, career development opportunities, company culture, and the overall employee experience. It is primarily targeted at existing and potential employees and aims to attract, engage, and retain talent within the organisation.

Brand represents the overall perception and image of a company or product in the minds of its target audience, including customers, employees, investors, and the general public. It encompasses various elements such as the company’s mission, values, reputation, visual identity (logo, design, and branding materials), messaging, and customer experience. A strong brand establishes trust, communicates differentiation, and influences purchasing decisions. Branding efforts are focused on creating a distinct and recognisable identity that resonates with the target market.

The key difference lies in the target audience and the focus of each concept. Both EVP and brand are essential components in building a successful organisation, as they contribute to attracting top talent and establishing a positive reputation.

Why do EVP and brand sometimes cause confusion?

EVP and brand can sometimes be confused or intertwined because they both play a role in shaping the perception of an organisation. Here are a few reasons why they might get confused:

  • Shared elements: they can have common elements, such as company culture and values. They both need to align with the organisation’s mission and values to create a consistent and authentic image. For example, if a company claims to value work-life balance in its brand messaging but does not offer flexible working arrangements as part of its EVP, there would be a disconnect.
  • Employee as brand ambassadors: Employees are an integral part of a company’s brand. Their experiences and perceptions of the organisation can influence how they represent the brand externally. A positive EVP that fosters employee satisfaction and engagement can lead to employees being enthusiastic brand ambassadors. Conversely, a negative EVP can result in disgruntled employees who may not promote the brand positively.
  • Employer brand: Employer branding focuses on positioning the organisation as an attractive employer and creating a positive reputation in the job market. It encompasses both the EVP and the external perception of the company as an employer. The EVP plays a crucial role in shaping the employer brand by defining the unique benefits and value proposition for employees.

Why is EVP important?

In today’s competitive job market, organisations need to differentiate themselves to attract and retain skilled and high-performing employees. A compelling EVP helps to showcase the unique benefits, opportunities, and overall value that an organisation offers to its employees. It gives potential candidates a reason to choose one company over another and can increase employee loyalty and commitment.

A strong EVP contributes to higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel that their needs, expectations, and aspirations are met by the organisation, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to their work. A well-crafted EVP can help create a positive work environment, foster a sense of belonging, and align employees’ values with those of the organisation.

As we’ve already mentioned, EVP is closely tied to the employer brand, which refers to the reputation and perception of an organisation as an employer. A strong EVP helps create a positive employer brand, which can attract top talent, enhance the company’s image, and differentiate it from competitors. A positive employer brand can also lead to increased interest from potential candidates and improved retention rates.

EVP plays a role in shaping and reinforcing the organisational culture. When the EVP aligns with the company’s mission, values, and culture, it helps attract individuals who are a good fit for the organisation. This alignment contributes to a positive work environment, collaboration, and higher performance levels.

How to go about creating an EVP

Creating an effective Employee Value Proposition (EVP) involves a strategic and thoughtful approach. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Understand your organisation: Begin by gaining a deep understanding of your organisation’s mission, values, culture, and strategic goals. Identify what sets your company apart from competitors and what makes it an attractive place to work. Consider your company’s strengths, unique selling points, and the value it offers to employees.
  2. Conduct research: Gather insights from various sources to understand the needs, expectations, and preferences of your target employee audience. This can include employee surveys, focus groups, interviews, and benchmarking against industry standards. Explore what motivates and engages employees and what they value in their work environment.
  3. Define your EVP components: Based on the research and organisational analysis, identify the key components of your EVP. These components should reflect the benefits, rewards, and experiences that differentiate your organisation as an employer. Common EVP components include remuneration, benefits, career development opportunities, work-life balance, company culture, meaningful work, and a supportive work environment.
  4. Craft the EVP messaging: Develop clear, concise, and compelling messaging that communicates your EVP to current and potential employees. The messaging should highlight the unique value proposition your organisation offers and resonate with the target audience. Use authentic and employee-centric language to convey the benefits and experiences employees can expect.
  5. Align with organisational brand: Ensure that your EVP aligns with your organisation’s overall brand and values. Consistency between your EVP and the external brand messaging is essential to create a cohesive and authentic employer brand. The EVP should reflect and reinforce the brand promises made to both customers and employees.
  6. Communicate and promote the EVP: Effectively communicate the EVP throughout the organisation and in your recruitment efforts. Share the EVP messaging with current employees to create awareness and engagement. Incorporate it into your job descriptions, career websites, social media channels, and recruitment materials to attract potential candidates. Use various communication channels to consistently promote the EVP internally and externally.
  7. Evaluate and adapt: Regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of your EVP. Seek feedback from employees and track relevant metrics such as employee satisfaction, retention rates, and candidate attraction. Make adjustments and improvements based on feedback and changes in the external and internal environment.

Why is your brand important?

  • Recognition and differentiation: A strong brand helps a business stand out in a crowded market. It creates a unique identity that customers can recognise and remember. A well-established brand helps differentiate a business from its competitors.
  • A strong brand builds customer loyalty and trust. When customers have positive experiences with a brand, they are more likely to become repeat buyers and recommend the brand to others. Customers are often willing to pay more for products from brands they perceive as high quality, reliable, and reputable. Brands can create emotional connections with customers and a well-crafted brand can evoke certain emotions or feelings, leading to a deeper connection between the brand and its customers.
  • Market positioning: branding helps a business position itself in the market. It allows a business to target a specific audience and communicate its unique value proposition effectively. If a brand is already well-established and trusted, introducing new products becomes easier. Customers are more likely to try new offerings from a brand they already know and love.
  • Long-term business growth: A strong brand contributes to long-term business growth. It helps create a sustainable competitive advantage and can lead to increased market share and expansion opportunities.

A strong brand can boost employee morale and pride. Employees often feel a sense of belonging and purpose when working for a reputable and recognisable brand, but this is different from your EVP. Both EVP and brand are important to business, but, in essence, EVP is about the value a company offers to its employees, while brand encompasses the overall perception and identity that the company projects to the external world. Both EVP and brand are essential for a company’s success, contributing to talent attraction, employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and market positioning.

OUR FOCUS ON LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS

At re:find we believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

We understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. We take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our central government executive search practice and our CCS framework please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.