CxO Recruiting: Methods for Uncovering Contenders


At the moment’s disrupted world finds many firms in a fevered frenzy to supply C-level executives who’re adept at offering transformative management. However finding influential expertise, which is able to assist a corporation develop, is simpler mentioned than achieved when established enterprises and new market disruptors are equally tasked with navigating financial, societal, and digital transformation challenges.

Firms want to seek out proactive methods to get well whereas making ready for future calls for and new methods to function, together with sourcing the correct senior management crew members.


Whereas the pandemic has shifted the best way companies function, many firms have used the “downtime” to find their strengths and begin resetting priorities for a return to “regular.” A overwhelming majority are proactively strengthening their management groups by looking for and hiring “nontraditional” C-suite executives (CxOs) who’re versatile, nimble, and numerous.

The brand new CxO demand has made expertise retention and recruitment a top-of-mind concern, with many viable contenders being courted and infrequently poached. This new “battle for expertise” finds high-caliber candidates evaluating a number of gives. These eventualities have made the hunt for shortly discovering C-level candidates extra pressing than it has been up to now.

Cease Looking for Legendary Creatures

Sadly, some say the “proper” search technique doesn’t exist as a result of efforts are affected by location, trade, private circumstances, and firm tradition. Others say that “excellent” candidates are legendary creatures who don’t exist, so the main target ought to be on finding the very best candidates. It doesn’t matter what candidate definition is embraced, high-growth practices mandate methodically figuring out and hiring somebody who will keep for the long run whereas including important worth to any group.

Simplify Your Candidate Standards

What if discovering the correct candidate might be simplified to make sourcing viable choices simpler? As an alternative of the normal laundry checklist of choice standards, make sure you supply attainable C-suite contenders with ability units that handle the risky disruptions of at the moment, e.g., financial modifications, work-from-home workforces, local weather change, political polarization, social injustice, and pandemic restrictions. Think about the next three standards for locating and recruiting the correct CxO.

Search and assess softer expertise. Whereas there are various core competencies for CxOs, it’s onerous to translate tradition into at the moment’s expansive work-from-home surroundings. At the moment’s management requires extra mushy expertise that characterize how somebody builds rapport and relationships with others. As a result of efficient management throughout “regular” occasions already valued mushy expertise, think about how far more very important it’s at the moment to collaborate, encourage, and persuade distributed workforces whereas successfully shaping a corporation’s future.

Whereas there are various methods to evaluate resilience and flexibility, evaluation instruments and focused prescreening interviews have turn into extra necessary than ever. Begin by figuring out the intangible traits which are necessary to your organization tradition and workforce. Make sure you embrace these related mushy ability {qualifications} within the job description. Then learn between the strains to see how a candidate showcases these competencies in his or her file. Ask probing questions that assist a candidate exhibit self-awareness and showcase the traits you’re in search of.

Look past the title to outline the function. Many organizations need assistance figuring out what they’re actually searching for in a CxO candidate. With various acronyms, some firms get hung up on the precise title with out crafting a job description that matches their particular wants. At the moment, C-level roles are shifting to assist firms tackle new alternatives and challenges. Conventional obligations additionally embrace artistic scopes of labor for expanded government management descriptions that embrace technical specialists and generalists. A latest instance discovered {that a} CMO wanted to additionally perform as an information scientist and a COO. Discuss a novel place!

One of the simplest ways to uncover these distinctive wants is to ask probing questions that get firms to suppose via the scope of a job. Analysis can be required to place the job description appropriately, so a market search will uncover potential candidates who align with the function and might obtain all of the actions the place requires. In the long run, it’s important for at the moment’s C-suite function descriptions to incorporate sensible software, technical innovation, and results-focused duties that can assist accomplish firm development.

Goal curious thinkers. Range of considering is a should for at the moment’s agile and versatile C-suite. The pure potential to acknowledge variations and reply to them in several methods tends to make sure an government’s success, particularly throughout difficult occasions. Inquisitive leaders will pursue new options for previous issues whereas motivating others to suppose and behave in new methods. As an alternative of getting all of the solutions, a curious thinker will sort out the sudden whereas frequently studying. 

Focused questions will assist uncover this distinctive trait throughout any quest for locating the correct C-level candidate. Think about asking guided, open-ended inquiries to reveal a contender’s stage of inquisitiveness. Curiosity questions would possibly embrace asking the person to inform you a couple of new ability or thought she or he realized up to now 6 months and the way she or he went about it. Or, chances are you’ll ask the individual to share with you the very last thing she or he obsessed over.

Bear in mind, if curiosity leads an organization down new paths, think about how necessary that attribute is in at the moment’s continuously morphing market. Curious thinkers will domesticate improvements for an organization’s future to handle quickly altering, disrupted workforces. In flip, the corporate will probably be better-positioned to prosper and thrive.

Adapting to at the moment’s new realities requires discovering needles in haystacks and gem stones within the tough that can propel firms and workforces to new heights. As an alternative of leaning into long-standing practices, new government search methods to seek out the correct CxO leaders for at the moment’s disruptive world are required. Is your organization being proactive in its quest to rework the best way you conduct enterprise? All of it begins with sourcing the correct candidates creatively. 

Tracy Murdoch O’Such is the President for the Americas at Marlin Hawk, a world management advisory agency. She is accountable for the administration of the group’s Americas area and the event of its world digital, media, leisure, and sports activities apply.

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