Why businesses need to dig deeper during the executive staff search process

Filling a job opening can be a tricky process, but replacing a former executive is much more difficult. Unlike other positions, senior staff members, whether they have been with the organization for many years or not, have unique expectations that may ultimately limit their success in the position. According to a previous Right Management Consultants report, about 30 to 40 percent of executives leave within a year and a half of their new post because they failed to meet their goals.

Whether or not it is the business’ first time looking for a successor, human resources departments need to have staff fully dedicated to the executive search. Otherwise, these professionals will have to undergo a similar and time-consuming process by the next fiscal year. Retention is important: to ensure that the team finds the right match for the job they may need to leverage HR software solutions, and many of these strategies.

Take the time to prepare for the search

Prior to using HR software solutions, contacting third-party executives and drafting up job descriptions, do a lot of research. What did the previous candidate do well, and where did he or she fall short? Take this insight into account when creating the job opening and seeking potential candidates. They might not have extensive knowledge of the industry, but they could have transferrable skills that can truly benefit the organization.

Vet the strongest candidates twice

This strategy applies more to organizations that rely on third-party headhunters. Similar to other HR professionals, these agents are looking to get their clients a job, so they will work tirelessly to get them hired, according to Harvard Business Review contributor Ron Ashkenas.

Now that your company has their resume and references, take advantage of that. Run their application through HR software solutions to see how well their keywords compare to others or see what previous supervisors or co-workers have to about him or her.

“The more data you can get the better — which will hopefully uncover previous patterns that might have gone unnoticed,”  Ashkenas wrote.

Don’t always go for the industry’s well-known leaders

The name of the game is to find someone who will change your business for the better. If hiring managers focus the bulk of their search on those who are widely known in the market’s community, it will likely cost them thousands of dollars without a guarantee of success.

Just because their previous experience went well, doesn’t mean they will fit in with a particular organization. Ron Johnson’s move from Apple to J.C. Penney is a great example of recruitment gone wrong. As CEO, sales and shares plummeted within a 14-month period because his efforts to change the retailer’s image didn’t bode well with the store’s customers, according to the New Yorker.

“There is nothing good to say about what he’s done,” former Sears Canada CEO Mark Cohen noted to the news source. “Penney had been run into a ditch when he took it over. But, rather than getting it back on the road, he’s essentially set it on fire.”

Instead, take the time to see who worked directly with these rising stars. Chances are, they did a lot of the heavy lifting without the recognition.

These professionals are looking for an opportunity to grow and expand with a company, making them a stronger fit for this opening than those who are currently executives. An added benefit to looking into these candidates is that their expectations for salaries and perks are lower, which in turn further improves the bottom line.

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