Society's Top Tips on Preparing for Senior Recruitment

Leadership recruitment is high stakes, opportunity rich and inevitable. We also hear it described as challenging and daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. 

Here are our top tips on getting your recruitment house in order so that you are prepared to make a great hire when key leadership appointments arise. 

1.      Succession Planning

Do you have a succession plan in place for the leaders of your organisation or department? Whether a vacancy is planned or unexpected, giving prior thought to your contingency plan is critical for the smooth running of your organisation and confidence of your team. There is not a one size fits all solution. This may mean an internal team member steps up, or that you invest in interim or consultancy support. It may mean that you take a recruitment campaign to the market. Or a combination of the above! 

2.      Job Descriptions 

Make sure a succinct, clear job description is in place for key leadership roles. Stick to core responsibilities, capabilities and deliverables without creating a long, unruly list that will be difficult for candidates to understand. Review this annually, to ensure it reflects current priorities, which will shift over time. For strategic positions, resist the urge to go into lengthy operational detail that only serves to muddy the core essence of the role. This makes it much easier to pitch the position in the market when the time comes.

3.      Timescales and Budget

Think ahead of time about your senior recruitment and contingency talent budget and be realistic that hiring great people can take time depending on your approach. Will you invest in a bespoke and proactive executive search campaign? These will often take in the region of three months for end-to-end support. Consider candidates notice periods, and whether this impacts whether you need to factor in interim cover. Whether you are recruiting directly or through a search partner, investing time to build a clear and aligned campaign is critical to attracting great people.

4.      Ownership

How representative and relevant is your Nominations Committee or hiring panel? And critically, who will own the recruitment campaign from your organisation, either as a point person for candidates or for your recruiter. Whether keeping your recruitment on track, or offering productive partnership to your search partner, we hear repeatedly how this ownership makes a critical difference to a smooth running search campaign.

5.      Clear, Inclusive Information Counts

Beyond a clear job description, be prepared to offer up detail on your organisational strategy, culture, diversity, equity and inclusion and sustainability footprint. Ensure you map out the entire assessment process for candidates, both dates and process. Is there adequate turnaround time built in? Forward thought before commencing senior recruitment is critical to a positive representation of your brand with candidates.

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