Hiring strong leaders and enhancing an organisation’s existing talent are the first steps towards steering an organisation along the right growth path. Industry studies report that CXO searches in India have increased by 80–100% when compared to Q3 2020. In fact, experts assert that the Indian industry is looking for growth oriented and transformational leaders.
CXO roles are positions of responsibility and power. These are leaders who make strategic decisions and almost every decision they make has a significant impact on the organisation and its employees.
Finding the right leaders however, is not always easy. The process is not as straightforward as search, screen, assess, and hire. It is more intrinsic and requires planning. Shortlisted candidates in a CXO search must not only have the potential to lead but also have the ability to quickly fit into the environment and be ready to take hard decisions quickly and prudently.
Here are some handy leadership and CXO hiring techniques:
Spread the net wisely: Organisations rarely advertise CXO positions. The norm is to search for the perfect candidate either within their own organisation or in other organisations through subtler channels. It is quite common in India to hire CXOs from external sources. Recruiters use their networks to find the perfect CXO candidates. Modern day networks may be virtual ones since it is impossible to avoid the power of social media. It must be noted that eligible CXO candidates are frequently passive candidates, and may not be actively looking for new opportunities. After zeroing in on suitable candidates, recruiters must contact them and try to sell them the position and the organisation.
Specify requirements: Recruiters must know enough about the organisation they are hiring for. Is it an established business or a start-up? The setup of both are different and they require different kinds of leaders at the helm. While experience and potential both matter, potential perhaps scores higher for a start-up. Both kinds of businesses require leaderswho have a zeal to acquire new skills, are flexible, and can persevere under all conditions. It has been observed that highly experienced candidates may prefer to lead established organisations that do not require too much change. Exceptions definitely exist.
A right fit is crucial. And an experienced executive search firm can find the proverbial needle in the haystack. For example, founder-CEO is a common position, especially among start-ups. However, every founder may not have the right leadership qualities and skills.
Cast a reverse look: A reverse look at a shortlisted candidate’s profile helps recruiters understand the candidate’s career path. It projects a picture of how the candidate has progressed in his/her career so far. While assessing the candidate’s professional skills and strengths, it is important to understand what would challenge him/her in the new position. Only when career goals match on both sides will the organisation and the individual profit from the association.
Search with an open mind: Hiring organisations should get over the same-industry experience hangup. Competent candidates with leadership experience in a different industry are just as likely to succeed. In fact they are more likely to bring in fresh thoughts and ideas. Leadership and other skills are frequently transferable among industries.
Monitor talents in database: Efficient recruiters maintain a database of top talents that they have been associated with. Candidates who were high on skills and abilities but were not picked by the organisation earlier for certain reasons would have gained significant experience and honed their skills over time. Such candidates need to be looked at too since they may very well fit the bill now.
Get an external view: External advisers or board members who are not involved in the day-to-day routines of the organisation can help bring a fresh perspective and diversity into the hiring drive.
Hiring and initiation: The time gap between evaluation and offering a leadership position should not be too long. It is important to remember that shortlisted candidates are all at the top of their game and are very likely to be considering other opportunities too. Passive candidates may wait or just lose interest.
Using an executive search agency is a smart way to find the right CXO candidates. The agency will find suitable candidates, screen them along appropriate and unique yardsticks and zero in on the best candidate.
Careernet’s group company LONGHOUSE Consulting is a specialised executive search and advisory firm that has successfully hired many CXOs and top executives across all functions. Candidates placed by LONGHOUSE have led and are currently leading some of the biggest brands in India.
Please note that Careernet does not practice charging a placement fee from any job seeker across profiles. Word of caution to the fraudulent news and information, if anyone demands any kind of charges from you, in the name of Careernet Consulting.