how to provide the best candidate experience when recruiting executives?

Candidate experience can make or break relationships with potential talent. 83% of candidates say a negative experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% say a positive experience can alleviate their doubts regarding a role or company. When it comes to executive recruitment, companies should be extra careful of the candidate experience they provide as the best senior executive talent is highly in-demand and often wields a good influence over the industry.

 Here are three ways to provide the best candidate experience during executive recruitment:

 #1 Communicate right: Senior executives are not averse to being approached by recruiters but the trick lies in being discrete.97% of senior candidates in a company want to be ‘found’ or ‘approached’ by headhunters for relevant vacancies but want recruiters to employ a highly personalized approach and keep their information confidential. 86.9% of executive candidates prefer being approached through a private email address, while 77.9% prefer being contacted via online networks.

 #2 Play the ‘referral’ card: Employee referrals can come in extremely during executive search. 82% of employers rated employee referrals above all other sources for generating the best ROI in the least possible time. As a recruiter, network extensively and build relationships with key industry personnel to find someone who understands your target executive persona and may be open to recommending names. Widen your referral pool by including alumni, board members, investors and other key stakeholders. Jennifer Rettig who’s led executive recruitment for brands such as Apple and Yahoo has a simple piece of advice for fellow recruiters - leverage your existing leaders to cost-effectively land the top talent you need.

 #3 Understand what drives your target executives: In executive search, after you have made the first contact, you need to strengthen your pitch by getting to know what motivates these executives to do the work they do. For some, power may be a key driver, others may value money or the larger social good. But how can recruiters get to know this information? Try aggregating social media data of your target profiles - who they follow, what they write, their personal likes and dislikes and start building a cohesive target executive profile. When it comes to the interview stage, ask them “Which achievement(s) are you most proud of in your illustrious career?” The answer will likely open up noteworthy insights. Executives that are highly motivated are also highly engaged and lead their teams better.       

Differentiate your candidate experience

Executive recruitment is a long and tedious process - it can take up to four to eight months. This makes it even more important to provide a consistent candidate experience that really stands out. Take for instance, Salesforce - the company directs its hiring managers to not focus solely on the job description and skills match during executive recruitment interviews. They are instead encouraged to talk about their personal journeys, how Salesforce has helped them achieve life goals, what they like about working for the company, etc. This offers executives a glimpse into life at the company and also enables recruiters to go beyond skills matching and assess values match instead. The company has in the past also successfully piloted a happy hour hiring process hire that helped it hire more higher-caliber technology professionals 33% faster by assessing cultural fit rather than merely the technical fit - an aspect often overlooked when it comes to technical hiring. The bottom line for executive recruiters is clear: scale your executive recruitment efforts massively to stand out in today’s hyper-competitive talent markets, but don’t forget to create personalized touches that differentiate your candidate experience.   

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