As the economy continues its pandemic/endemic recovery, hiring remains challenging for executives and their HR teams. In fact, 80% of CEOs report having difficulties with attracting qualified workers.

While top talent is more selective than ever about where they work, most companies are left searching for the right candidates and struggling to reach them. And executives, in particular, are in high demand.

To source and hire the best talent, you’re going to need a solid strategy tailored specifically to finding your next executive team member. It may be time to shift your focus – from generalist searches (which typically target lower-level executives) to more specific searches geared toward identifying C-level executives that will lead and guide your team with exceptional expertise.

What Is Executive Recruiting?

Executive recruiting is a highly specialized process used to find, engage and hire strong candidates for executive-level positions. Typically, recruiting an executive means bringing in fresh perspectives and proactive leadership. 

But figuring out what that perfect-fit executive looks like (and where to find them) can be challenging. You may know what skills and experiences you’re looking for, but nailing down exactly who will be the perfect fit for your team and company culture is another story.

Companies often bring in an executive recruiter to help. Executive recruiters work as independent contractors and it’s their job is to:

  • Identify and approach potential candidates
  • Negotiate the terms of their employment contracts (salary, benefits, bonuses, equity, etc.)
  • Help their clients hire and onboard these candidates as new hires. 

Most recruiters specialize in a particular industry or job function, and therefore often have strong networks of potential candidates that are not listed on job boards. By tapping into these networks, executive recruiters can often find candidates who are a better cultural fit and more likely to succeed than candidates found on job boards or through other sourcing methods.

Why Is Finding The Right Talent So Hard?

Finding candidates with the required skill set and experience who also fit into your company culture is always difficult. Doing this for executives, however, is even more challenging.

Unlike entry-level positions, executive roles require a higher degree of trust and visibility into the organization as a whole. A rushed search, on the other hand, can lead to hiring mistakes and costly turnover down the line. 

You also need to account for the fact that executives tend to be more selective. Many of the best executives are already employed by another organization, while still having several options at their fingertips. Once you find them, you still have to win them over and earn their trust. 

Finally, for many organizations, hiring an executive means making a significant investment. We have some tips below for alleviating this challenge, but first, it’s critical to have a clear and precise idea of what you’re looking for in an executive.

The Great Resignation, the Great Re-shuffle continues, here is a quick video to explain this:

What You Should Look For In An Executive Candidate

Before you begin your search, you’ll want to determine what kind of candidate you’re looking for. 

Start by asking yourself these questions: 

    • Do you need an interim executive or a long-term hire? 
    • What is your hiring budget? 
    • What specific skills does your ideal candidate have? 
    • What is your company culture like – and what kind of candidate will best fit into it?
    • What job function do they need to be able to perform? 
    • Do they offer customized solutions?
    • Is their process/methods proven by past engagements?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down the kind of executive candidate that’s the best fit for your organization. The next task is finding them…and affording them.

A Few Notes On The Importance Of Company Culture And Fit

Company culture is extremely important when it comes to hiring and retaining strong executives. Candidates who don’t fit well into your company culture will struggle to find success and may even disrupt your team and organization as a whole. For this reason, it’s essential to find candidates who are a cultural fit with your company as a whole. 

Part of this process involves taking the time to define what your company culture is and finding candidates who align with it. You can do this in a number of ways, including:

1. Complete an organizational assessment. This will give you a clear picture of the culture within your company and allow you to identify areas for improvement.

2. Conduct focus groups with current employees to get feedback on their experience and find out what they like about the company. 

3. Conduct a social media audit to get an idea of what your brand’s online presence is like and any opportunities for improvement. 

4. Invest in employee surveys that allow you to ask questions about company culture.

Related: Not having the right people in your company is hurting your growth and adding pressure to your team. You are Frustrated: It shouldn’t be so hard to hire good people…

Today’s Innovative Solution: Go Fractional

If right now, you’re thinking, “I’d LOVE to add another executive to our C-level —but there’s just no room in the budget for another full-time employee.” – you’re not alone. 

It’s the reason why more and more companies are turning to a new solution sweeping the corporate landscape: fractional executives. 

A fractional executive is a senior-level executive who works on a part-time or interim basis in a way that can be beneficial for both the executive and the organization:

1. The executive gets to continue to challenge themself with new opportunities – but without making a long-term commitment.

2. The organization gets access to an experienced and qualified executive  – one who they would likely not be able to afford on a full-time basis.

It only makes sense why more and more companies are seeing this as a win-win. The right fractional executive for you depends on your company’s needs. Let’s look at the four most common types. 

4 Common Types of Fractional Executives

Fractional CEO 

A chief executive officer (CEO) who works on a part-time or temporary basis, often during a period of change or transition for a company

The fractional CEO provides strategic guidance for a struggling/transitioning company, helping them to make crucial decisions and create long-term plans and goals.

Fractional COO 

A chief operating officer (COO) who provides professional, expert-level support to an organization on a part-time or as-needed basis

With their wealth of experience, a fractional COO can provide the operational leadership,  guidance, and support needed for setting and achieving business goals.

Fractional CFO

A chief financial officer (CFO) who provides their financial expertise and professional services on a part-time basis to a business

A fractional CFO may provide services such as financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, risk management, financial reporting and compliance, and more. 

Fractional CMO 

A chief marketing officer (CMO) who provides C-level marketing leadership  — but at a Fraction of the Cost

By partnering on the C-Suite, a fractional CMO will help a company align its marketing moves with its revenue goals, giving fresh clarity for continued, predictable growth.


The Bottom line

Hiring executives is an incredibly challenging process. It requires careful attention to skill set and cultural fit, along with a willingness to invest in great talent. If you want to find candidates who are a great cultural fit and have the experience you’re looking for, you need to invest time and effort into your search.

Look for ones that are results-driven, highly experienced, working from a proven process, and willing to work on a fractional basis. Once you’ve identified these qualities in an executive candidate, you’ll be able to invest your dollars in the best fit for your company.

When you invest the time and energy into sourcing and hiring the right executive, the payoffs are substantial. You’ll get better results from your team, have stronger company growth and have a better chance at success.

Need help building your team?

Let’s book a workshop and together we can clarify your needs and establish your winning team today. 

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