Filling C-suite vacancies as soon as possible typically involves contacting executive search firms and posting to niche job sites. While standard recruitment tactics can certainly be effective, these methods may be narrowing the talent pool for your next C-Suite hire more than you realize.
Getting creative with your recruitment process will fill your C-suite with diverse, forward-thinking, and highly qualified professionals. Here are some unexpected places to look as you start your search for your next C-suite hire.
1. Passive Candidates
Job sites focus on candidates who are actively searching for a position. But what about the candidates who are more in stealth mode? Or aren’t looking at all? Passive recruitment involves reaching out to professionals who might not be on the job hunt yet but would be stellar choices for your C-suite. To identify and pursue the passive candidate, talk with your current leadership team, peers, and colleagues. Also, consider referral incentives to executives with helpful connections.
Keep in mind that since passive candidates aren’t jonesing to leave their current jobs, your company may need to offer extra incentives. This is especially true if the prospective executive would need to relocate. So you can exceed their expectations, work to gain insights into the candidate’s current position. What do they value most? What would entice them to make a move?
2. Outsourced Talent
Your business might benefit from outsourcing an executive’s job altogether. While this may be a non-traditional route, it could help you get the most out of available talent.
What exactly does outsourcing your C-suite look like? As an example, look at outsourced CMO Hawke Media. In this model, a marketing agency replaces the function of a CMO by creating a strategy and directing marketing campaigns. Your company saves on the recruitment process, and the outsourced team picks up where your CMO, CIO, or CFO left off.
3. Internal Promotions
When it comes to C-suite talent acquisition, external recruitment is often the name of the game. However, it’s worth looking at your internal talent pool as well. Consider which of your SVPs or VPs could show promise as a C-level employee. You might discretely recruit internal select members of your current leadership team or open up applications to whoever wants to apply.
Companies that extend their internal promotion pipeline straight to the top will likely see a positive and impactful culture shift. After all, employees tend to work harder and stay at a company longer when they see apparent growth paths. Higher retention rates, in turn, are essential for continuity, stability, and long-term company growth.
4. Former Employees
Every company has former employees that, in hindsight, wish would have never left. And with the right incentives, they just might come back. This applies at the executive level as well. If your company lost a high-level leader to another organization—especially a competitor—it might be worth your while to recruit them again. Just make sure you approach them ethically and transparently.
If a former executive left your company on favorable terms, consider reaching out. Yes, you’ll need to make sure they don’t have a non-compete agreement with their current employer. But if that’s not an obstacle, arrange a meeting to learn about their career goals and present your intentions. Some former executives might surprise you with how open they are to a new opportunity with their old company.
5. Industry Conferences
Conferences provide valuable networking and educational opportunities for professionals at all levels. And while most conferences are happening virtually these days, an upcoming event might still be the perfect place to recruit your next C-suite hire.
It can be helpful to do your research and create a shortlist of likely individuals ahead of time. Browse the conference website for notable names and look into the speakers before you leave. Plan your virtual itinerary around connecting with potential hires and follow up promptly. You might just make a connection that completes your company’s C-suite.
6. Blogs and Podcasts
Your company wants true thought leaders in its C-suite. With so many communication tools available, chances are these professionals are demonstrating their thought leadership by creating unique content and through personal branding. Industry blogs and podcasts are thus another recruitment source to consider when searching for your next C-suite hire.
You may already have some industry podcasts, blogs, and social media accounts you consume daily. When you listen to podcast episodes, take in a blog post, or connect with leaders online, pay close attention. Are there any individuals whose unique perspectives would benefit your company? If yes, don’t hesitate to reach out.
7. International Firms
Companies that only recruit domestically could be missing out on diverse talent and distinctive viewpoints. If you have the means, consider expanding your C-suite search internationally. This approach can be especially applicable to fully remote teams.
Top talent from another country will bring their own cultural work practices and knowledge base to the table, adding to your organization’s push for diversity. Plus, your business will open up a range of international opportunities that might not otherwise exist. Just be sure that your HR department is prepared for the logistics of hiring on a global scale.
Finding your next C-suite hire is often far more complicated than filling your typical vacancy. Recruitment and hiring often need to happen covertly, which takes job site advertisements and LinkedIn connections off the table. So, to find the sharpest minds for your executive team, get creative.
You’ll soon find the next member of your leadership team.