How to Recruit Top Executives

Last year, the Harvard Business Review published an article about the importance of maintaining secrecy when performing executive recruitment. The gist of the article, which advocated “going to extreme lengths” to keep a confidential search, was that a bad actor could use an organization’s executive recruitment to sow discord or “exploit weaknesses.”

Read: “How Executive Recruiters Maintain Secrecy

Our executive recruiters at NewConfig read this article with skepticism. We have helped a diversity of companies, from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 companies, source and hire top executives. At the same time, we have coached many hiring managers on the core elements of how to become a better executive recruiter. We have yet to see a recruitment process marred by internal or external discord.

Of course, internal disagreements can lead to flared temper, and outgoing executives may feel bitter about new hires. But most of our executive recruitment campaigns have succeeded. The key, we believe, is collaboration. The addition of an external consultant, like an executive recruitment firm, who can navigate the leadership team through the potentially tricky waters, is best accompanied by a strong partnership with company leaders.

So does the HBR article accurately represent the potential perils of executive recruitment?

Notwithstanding the suspicious tone, the article does point to a truth of executive recruitment: The environment is extremely competitive.

Of course, as the war for top executives intensifies, more companies have wondered how to engage an executive recruiter who can make a difference. Who are the best executive recruitment firms? And can one of the best executive recruitment firms, like NewConfig, lead a business to success? Below we discuss three critical elements of successful executive recruitment.

How to Recruit Executives

executive recruiters at NewConfig

Stay Engaged with the Process

Most leaders understand that successful executive recruitment can build businesses. And many leaders see the necessity of partnering with any number of successful executive recruitment firms. But many leaders fail to see how leadership itself must engage with the process to guarantee profitable outcomes.

As NewConfig, we often encounter companies who hand the recruiter a job description and say, “Go!” A far better approach includes input from all key players, including leadership, the hiring manager, and the executive recruiter working in a collaborative environment.

Use Networks to Find Candidates  

Leadership can play many roles in the recruitment process, including sourcing. As recruitment expert Jennifer Rettig notes, one fundamental way leadership can help the process is by using “their position of influence to engage…the networks and…fill the pipeline with excellent candidates” (source).

Of course, many leaders do not have the sort of “pipeline” to match the connections of a top recruitment firm. But this is the nature of collaboration. A great executive recruiter with an exclusive network can help a business cut through the clutter of online candidates to find the real hidden talent. In this way, executive recruiting consultants can help to condense the timeline from sourcing to hiring.

Find a Boutique Agency

In her interview linked above, the recruitment expert Rettig expresses reservations about using large executive recruitment firms. She suggests eschewing the large recruitment firms to find a boutique firm with a devoted point person.

By working with a smaller firm, you strike to the heart of a question we often hear at NewConfig: “What is an executive recruiter?” Simply put, the best executive recruiters help companies fill critical roles by playing a consultative role that emphasizes speed, efficiency, and collaboration, saving companies time and money.

As one of the top boutique executive recruitment agencies, this is the essence of NewConfig’s executive recruitment approach. To discover further how NewConfig can help you find your next leader, contact us today.