The CEO recruitment project – what makes it special?

Executive search is commonly divided into divisional, departmental and C-level executive search projects, but the most distinctive is the selection of the most senior executives, i.e. CEOs. These executive searches differ in terms of search channels, selection dynamics and candidate assessment, but the main differences are 3.

1.The difference between hiring a CEO

In the case of hiring a department head, the hiring manager is usually the company director. But in the case of hiring a company director, it is the shareholders or, in the case of a large company or group of companies, the board members who are already involved. This is why, in the process of selecting a top-level manager, the executive recruitment PM usually has to work with a sufficiently large group of interested high-level managers. This is difficult to prepare for, so it is best to have adequate experience in top-level executive search and to have built up an impeccable reputation. That will help both in dealing with the client and with candidates who will also be publicly visible, respected and valued executives.

2.The multidimensionality of candidate assessment in the executive search process

While a Head of Unit may have 5-7 specific requirements that are easy to identify and assess, a search for a top-level manager may have more than 10 requirements. Plus important parameters such as cultural fit, representativeness, credibility, public image and others. All these parameters have to be carefully assessed during the interview. This is why the interview of a top-level executive by an executive recruiter usually lasts twice as long as a standard one. There must also be an external analysis of the person being evaluated, i.e. the candidate’s public statements, reputation, references from former subordinates etc.

3.High motivational leverage

Executive search project involves candidates who are in highly paid positions and are highly trusted by shareholders and highly valued. In this situation, job changes are particularly risky. That is why, before starting an executive search and selection project, the recruiter must confirm a solid value package for the role. It must include direct values  such as salary, car, health insurance. But also indirect values (level of autonomy, career within a group, the possibility of becoming a partial shareholder and etc.). The aim of this package is to motivate the candidate to enter the selection process. The value package itself can then be adapted to the needs of the final candidate. But it must in any case be attractive and competitive in the long term and with at least one salary review session per year.

These differences are really significant. That is why executive search projects are assigned to executive search project managers with a successful track record in C-level recruitment. This is a position of high trust. For that the employer selects an executive search firm, it is important to consider its portfolio of success stories when selecting executives for other businesses.

Insight by

Karolis Blaževičius

Managing Partner of Indigroup

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