Hiring for any position requires thought and consideration as the individuals you bring on board will have an impact on the success of your company. When filling large roles, however, you should put even more time and effort into the process. The people you place in executive and leadership positions can make or break your company more than any other position you fill.
Though it is tempting to fill these large roles quickly to not leave your staff without leadership and guidance, doing so can have a negative effect. When hiring for executive positions, it’s important to be thorough and mindful to ensure you hire someone who will be a good fit.
A company’s hiring and onboarding processes are essential to finding the right individuals and preparing them for the role they are about to fill. If you are struggling to hold on to staff in leadership positions or simply find you are rushing through the hiring process, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy and make improvements to help you find quality people to fill these roles.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring for Executive and Leadership Positions
Before taking a look at what you can do to improve your hiring process, it’s helpful to understand what mistakes to avoid. Poor hiring decisions can lead to high turnover in addition to potentially costing you money. If someone you hire for an executive position makes bad decisions themselves, it can ultimately hurt your business.
When hiring for large roles, you should avoid:
- Rushed decisions without setting goals. Filling a position as quickly as possible to avoid setbacks or to ensure employees aren’t left without guidance can do more harm than good. You should always have a clear idea of what you are looking for and what skills a person needs before rushing into the process. Avoiding setting goals for the role can end up costing you in the long run.
- Relying solely on online job boards. The internet is a great resource for finding and attracting candidates, but it should not be the only thing you rely on. Some of the best candidates are found using other professional networking methods.
- Inappropriate pay rates. Offering pay rates that are too high or too low can both have detrimental effects on your company. Low pay will likely deter the best and most qualified candidates from applying, and overpaying can result in high expectations that go unmet and cost you money. It’s best to set the pay for the position based on the standard for the position and be willing to negotiate depending on the candidate’s skill level and experience.
- Leaving the hiring entirely up to HR. While your human resources department is the starting point for all hiring processes, they should not be the only ones involved, especially when filling executive-level positions. When hiring for large roles, there should be multiple interviews involving HR, managers, department heads, and executives—all of whom should have a say in who gets hired for the position.
Tips to Improve Your Hiring Process
Hiring for upper-level positions is not meant to be easy. The people in these roles have a significant impact on your company and thus, filling them requires time and consideration. If you are struggling to find quality candidates, you can benefit from redesigning your hiring process and making the following improvements:
Understand the Role You Are Hiring For
Having a thorough understanding of the role, you are filling and what you want to achieve by filling this position is essential. What roles do you expect them to perform? What skills do they need to have? Executive-level positions such as Chief Financial Officers, for example, require highly-qualified individuals with a specific set of skills. If the people doing the hiring don’t even fully understand the position they are filling and what duties will be required of them, then how can you expect them to find the right candidate for the job?
Ask the Right Questions
Do not rely on standard interview questions when filling upper-level positions. You can start with an easier, more conversational, and relaxed interview to help the candidate feel comfortable and welcome, but don’t leave it at that. Plan to pass them along to another interviewer who has more experience with the position being filled and can ask them more technical questions to better assess their experience and knowledge. You’ll also want to ask questions that thoroughly evaluate their listening, communication, and leadership skills.
Thoroughly Assess and Test Their Skills
Following the initial interview(s) that involve a lot of back and forth with questions and answers, you should put them through an interview with another team member who is an expert in their field to ask more specific and detailed questions or provide scenarios that more thoroughly gauge the candidate’s capabilities. This should include a written test of sorts that helps you better assess their ability to perform what is needed of them on the spot. For example, have them write a test sample of something they would likely be required to write while performing their job, such as an email or a letter addressing a specific issue.
See How They Interact With Other Employees
As executive and other upper-level positions involve guiding and leading others, the hiring process should include interactions with other team members so you can evaluate how they interact with one another. This can include games or role-playing scenarios that will help you evaluate their communication and leadership skills.
Reevaluate Your Human Resources Department
In some cases, improving your hiring and onboarding process overall may require a closer look at how your human resources department is running. While others in management and executive positions do play a part in how the company is run, your HR department is ultimately responsible for ensuring everyone and everything is operating at its best. This means developing a quality human resources life cycle.
Successful human resource departments should recruit new hires with deliberation and thought, continuously educate staff, provide organized development, encourage harmonious departures, and prioritize continual evolution. If your HR department is following through on all of these stages of the human resources life cycle, it should help to improve your hiring process.
Your employees are like the foundation of your company. Without quality staff, you will likely struggle to succeed. So it’s important to put the extra effort into finding and hiring good candidates, especially those that will hold executive and leadership positions.
Think of the hiring process as a collaboration. The burden should never be placed on one hiring manager’s shoulders. You should work as a team with your HR department, executives, and other department heads to ensure you are hiring someone that will be a good fit.