While recruiting senior management candidates, it is very important to guarantee a top-class candidate experience

Providing the best candidate experience in executive recruitment

The key aspects to heed while hiring senior professionals

Candidate experience is a substantial element in the margins of talent acquisition. It has drifted to the forefront of the HR horizons mainly because of the globally outspread competition for top talent and the general “impersonalization” of recruiting practices due to the notable technological advancements. Being defined as a mix of jobseeker’s feelings about an organization’s recruitment process, candidate experience in its entirety comprises all stages from the initial communication till the final onboarding.

The importance of candidate experience cannot be overestimated: according to the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, “people who are satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38% more likely to accept a job offer”. On the other hand, as suggested by consulting firms’ research, more than 30% of candidates that have a bad experience will share that news with friends, and more than 19% will talk about it through their social media accounts.

While it is important to provide a great candidate experience in all recruitment occasions, it happens to be absolutely indispensable when hiring executives for the top-level roles. Clearly, the candidates that have already reached this hierarchy stage are very careful when taking under advisement new job opportunities. These managers are mostly passive candidates that are frequently courted by various companies. For that reason, their judgment of candidate experience is based on a profound evaluation of all recruitment process details. When it comes to executive recruiting, you should strive to stand out as their employer of choice and hence improve your candidate experience till the premium level.

It is also fundamental not to be overwhelmed with a candidate’s “superstar” reputation. A decision to hire a senior manager cannot be based solely on his/her reputation. In fact, the candidate may be a prominent “superstar” executive regularly giving interviews and guest-starring at professional conferences. But what is critical for you to understand is if your business actually needs this very person on board. The fame and reputation should never outweigh the qualifications’ set and its relevance for your organization. The candidate in question must objectively meet all of your requirements to fill the niche.

Not unimportant, executive recruitment is a rather long-lasting and enervating process – it can take up to half a year. This makes it even more critical to offer a consistent candidate experience that is truly impeccable. Here are some ways to scale rightly your efforts and provide the best candidate experience during executive recruitment:

  • Leverage professionalism and confidentiality

Executive-level candidates are no new to being contacted by recruiters. The trick is to establish the contact honouring confidentiality, since it is something they value enormously. So instead of reaching out on their working email, find more private ways of contacting them – via personal email or directly making a call. Be sure to guarantee your candidates full confidentiality and privacy, from the very first contact point till closing the deal. Moreover, executives have a lot of expertise to bring to the table, so treat them with a lot of respect: answer emails and phone calls promptly and with all requested details.

  • Understand what drives your target executives

In executive search, initiating the contact is only the first step out of many: you need to lean in by getting to know the motivation that drives your potential hires – which are their career goals, what backs up their success, are they still motivated to grow. In some cases, the main motivation factor is the sense of power, other people may be driven by financial status, for some, the core motivation is having a positive impact on communities, others are naturally driven by self-development and professional realisation. At the interview stage, ask the candidates about the biggest achievements they are proud of, go deeper to understand why they mentioned those cases. The answers will probably give you some worthy insights to boost your employer attractiveness and shape your offer in accordance with the candidates’ inner expectations.

  • Manage your communication intelligently – add a personal touch

Hiring executives is a long process, so one of the best practices is to establish a good interpersonal communication with your potential hire. When you probably have months ahead, try to get along well and use the time smartly: get to know the candidates’ hobbies outside the office, learn how they approach business and personal issues. It’s vital to add some human touch. You may even schedule an informal lunch that can turn into a marvellous opportunity to tell something more about the company and exchange the ideas on the role. It is always great to talk openly about the business and the corporate culture: executive candidates call for a sense of connection with an organization, so assessing cultural fit is without doubt a high priority on their list.

  • Safeguard information consistency

The process of executive recruitment often involves multiple interviewers. Therefore, it is important to maintain a consistency and continuity in terms of interviews’ structure and the tone with which the role is described. Executives are extremely cautious and would get very sceptical if the position, corporate culture or company’s strategic goals are portrayed differently from one interview to another. Providing identical information proves that the enterprise has a transparent, solid and clear internal communication supported by a good connection between the teams.

  • Assuring a great candidate experience does not end in the moment of signing a contract

Effective executive recruiting comprises a successful onboarding as well. Bringing new senior managers in the company should be smooth and painless, as the first working weeks may have a profound impact on their following integration, leadership, and tenure. It is best to make onboarding seamless and well-planned: insure an exhaustive and comprehensive preorientation, prepare the employees for a new leader arrival, provide the hired executive with a complete overview of his business unit and the relative teams.

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