7 Unexpected Places to Find Your Next C-Suite Hire

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.

Outsourcing HR: The Good, the Bad, and the Tasks

There are many reasons to have an in-house human resources team within your organization. From new staff onboarding to benefits management, having easy access to HR is a tremendous resource for any organization with a growing workforce.

Still, there are many instances where outsourcing your HR needs makes more sense. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, there are definite advantages to outsourcing HR tasks, among them a focus on strategy, improved compliance and accuracy, and a chance to leverage technology to streamline tasks and costs.

Let’s look at some advantages of HR outsourcing—also known as HRO:

  • Reduces costs. The fewer employees on staff, the smaller the payroll. By outsourcing, you are paying for what you need, not paying for what you don’t need. Whether it is a contract that spells out what you are getting or an hourly rate, you will end up paying less for the service than someone you have to pay a salary too. You will also save on the cost of benefits and payroll taxes
  • Allows HR to focus and be more strategic. An HR staff removed from the distracting elements of the company’s day-to-day operations can be more productive, especially regarding long-term goals like recruitment.
  • Offers more expertise and services. An outside agency who focuses solely on HR offers expertise in areas you might not have thought of and they have the staff to grow with you and take care of all your needs. Because the services they offer are wider, you can add services as needed, keeping your costs lower and your time spent growing your company.
  • Less burden on a leaner staff. HR is arguably one of the hardest-working parts of any organization. If it remains the same size while the rest of your staff grows in leaps and bounds, then tasks are bound to pile up.

Of course, you don’t have to outsource everything. Consider maintaining a slimmer HR staff in-house while outsourcing some of the more time-consuming tasks. Here are four tasks that can be outsourced for maximum results:

  1. Employee relocation. Employees who are moving to start or continue working with your company likely require highly personalized assistance. Avoid a major time crunch and hire someone else to handle it.
  2. Employee handbooks and policies. Your employees deserve the most up-to-date information about workplace policies and procedures, but maintaining what is essentially your organization’s bible may fall by the wayside in an overburdened HR department.
  3. Temporary staffing. When you hire short-term employees, you are constantly recruiting and onboarding new staff. Consider keeping full-time recruitment in house and collaborate instead with an experienced temporary staffing firm.
  4. Benefits and payroll. It’s a no-brainer to delegate this task, and as long as everyone gets paid on time, no one will complain. The same goes for benefits packages—when your employees have questions or concerns about coverage, let someone else address them.

As with every new strategy you implement, you must consider the disadvantages. Let’s look at the some of the potential risks of outsourcing HR:

  • Organizational resistance. Change is hard, even when it means progress. Employees accustomed to having easy access to HR might grumble about taking it outside of the company.
  • Reduced service levels. An in-house staff ensures dedicated focus to your company. When you outsource the work to an agency, you share resources with other client companies.
  • HRO vendor’s failure to deliver. Part of the reason you prefer having everyone under the same roof is to monitor workflow. When you outsource tasks, you risk an invisible workflow with potentially lackluster results.
  • Changes or disruptions in the HRO vendor’s business. When you sign on with an outside agency, you are buying into the way that staff currently operates. A major disadvantage of outsourcing is how to deal with a shift in an HR company’s strategic mission. Avoid this predicament with a shorter contract—you can jump ship if your HRO changes its strategy.

If it’s worth it to outsource at least some functions, try it on a temporary basis. In the end, if you’re thinking about how to better serve your growing staff and their HR needs, then it means your company is heading in the right direction.

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