Recruiting for executive retention: Focus less on the here and now, and more on tomorrow

Finding the right candidate to fill an executive role is vital for the maintenance and development of a company. However, there is no guarantee that the job description the candidate was hired for will be the same in two, three or even five years’ time. The market is constantly evolving, and one of the most critical characteristics of a quality C-suite level employee is adaptability.

So, while recruiting for the role you need filling now is important, it’s also vital that you look ahead and consider how this candidate will manage the changing nature of the business and the wider market, and whether their skillset and character will raise the bar, or bring the team to the ground.

Here are a few things to think about when recruiting for tomorrow, not just today.

Recruit with a the long-term view

The C-suite is where individuals can have some of the most substantial impact on the company’s future. As such, it makes sense that they should be capable of achieving the mission of the business, and even going beyond to support market growth.

Therefore, when recruiting, think about what the role will need to become to achieve these company objectives. Perhaps your business is looking to launch a new product, and you set up an executive-level project management team to instigate this. What are your goals once this product is launched? Will this team continue managing the product after launch or work on developing more products along similar lines? Is this team likely to expand, and how much?

It is certainly important that an individual grows in their role, so upon recruitment, it may be the right candidate does not have every skill needed to succeed in this future role. But if the candidate demonstrates the necessary character to learn and grow with the company, and eventually take on greater responsibility, then you can be certain that the role is in good hands.

Recruit for company culture

‘Company culture’ has become somewhat of a buzz term in recent years. Research shows that 56 per cent of employees consider company culture to be more important even than salary when applying for a role.

It is also true that one bad apple can impact the whole team. This is magnified at the C-suite level.

When someone assumes significant responsibility over a team and business, their character and work habits permeate and influence those around them. It is therefore important to consider the ‘feeling’ of your company. Do employees want to come into work? Do they enjoy working with the people around them? Do they find their work fulfilling and challenging enough? Do they feel comfortable talking to their manager about their problems?

Character, as mentioned before, will also impact the direction of your business’ future. Recruiting someone eager to achieve the company’s mission will greatly increase the likelihood of reaching this goal. Hiring someone willing to lift others up alongside them will fill your company with future candidate prospects, too.

Finding an executive willing to support your mission and culture will help fulfil the company vision and make it far more likely that those around them are willing to do the same.

Recruit for succession

It may seem a little premature to think about a succession plan for the candidate you’ve only just decided to hire. But the truth is that no-one stays in the same place forever. And especially once someone reaches C-suite level, you can be certain they are ambitious and willing to work towards their own development and goals.

Therefore, you need to be certain that this candidate can succeed well enough in the role to leave it open to another to do even better, and be savvy enough to plan ahead for this possibility.

It is critical that executives are able to identify and nurture talent in their teams, to build an employee base that will push the company forward towards greater heights. Through this process of development, the executive should then be able to pinpoint what qualities are necessary to succeed in the role they are leaving behind, and those needed to support the company’s future direction.

Having a succession plan in place early, and being sure to adapt it when necessary, means that executives can always be on the lookout for a protégé and help their own team develop the skills needed to succeed even once they move on.

The whole point of business is growth. No business or executive role should look the same five years down the line. If it does, the business is unlikely to be moving with the times and the employees are unlikely to have contributed as much as they could.

Looking to the future is vital when hiring for the C-suite. The company must always focus on its vision, even in times of crisis, to ensure perpetual growth and successful bounce-back during low points.

Recruiting a candidate who can help the company progress extends beyond simply filling a gap, ensuring they complete tasks and meet deadlines. This candidate should be as dedicated to the future of the company as its founders, and be willing to learn and grow with the process, leaving something behind for those who come next.

If you need help hiring the right C-suite executive for your company, arrange a meeting with Maranello Executive Search here.



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