2021 marked an unmistakable transition from an employer-driven talent market to a candidate-driven one. This trend has continued into 2022 with no signs of slowing, making it very challenging for hiring managers to attract and acquire the best executive talent.
So, how can companies continue to scale in what feels like an impossible hiring climate? Here are four tips that hiring managers should consider before kicking off a search in order to compete effectively in today’s talent war.
Dial-in your interview process before you go to market.
- A seamless interview process goes a long way for the candidate experience. In fact, a messy, unclear process can lead to a candidate’s decision to exit the process altogether.
- It’s important to predetermine who needs to be involved in the interview process and which topics each interviewer should focus on.
- Have alternative interviewers prepped and ready to go just in case schedules clash at the last minute.
- Draft a loose talk track for each interviewer, so they can be somewhat interchangeable and stay on script.
- Providing some visibility into whom each candidate will meet with, what their role is within the business, and how they would interact with each interviewer will lead to a more fruitful conversation. Candidates appreciate the context!
- Debrief as a team and figure out the next steps quickly. Days feel like weeks to candidates. Moving with intent is critical.
Get your selling cap on.
- There are a lot of attractive opportunities out there, and for many candidates, this is the first time they’re in the driver’s seat — so the interview process may feel reversed!
- Be prepared to focus the first candidate/client call on selling ‘why they should join YOU’. What is it about your company and the opportunity that’s most compelling to a candidate? Make the case! This will have your candidate leaning in, allowing you to better dig in with them.
Don’t aim for total consensus.
- This may be controversial, but not everyone on your team needs to be a “yes” to move forward with a new executive hire.
- Remember, all interviewers look at candidates through their own lens, despite trying to get them on the same page with a clear position profile.
- In a non-consensus scenario, using a candidate ‘scorecard’ can be effective.
- If the results reveal there are valued skills in which the candidate spikes, you can better rationalize the hire to broader stakeholders.
- Know whose opinion really matters on the interview panel, and weigh your decision on this hire accordingly.
Remember, the candidate experience is everything.
- Avoid simply going through your checklist of prepared questions. Make genuine connections and have real conversations — it could mean the difference between keeping or losing top talent.
- Maya Angelou put it best when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Candidates will remember the time you spent with them, the experience they had with you, and how you made them feel — even if they don’t end up in the role.
- Closing out a candidate professionally is a critical component of the overall candidate experience. Don’t underestimate this — these executives are often candidates or clients in the future!
By leveraging these learnings, your team will have greater success attracting and acquiring top executive leaders in today’s highly competitive talent landscape. I’ve seen firsthand how my clients like Homebase, New Relic, and Comcast have reaped the benefits of putting in the pre-work and preparation necessary to conduct a near-seamless interview process and, in turn, have secured some of today’s most sought after industry leaders.
If you’re looking to add to your leadership team or seeking general advice on hiring, please contact me directly or visit SPMB.com.