By DeLynn Senna, Senior District President, Executive Search Global Operations, Robert Half Succession challenges are a top-of-mind concern right now for executives and boards at organizations around the globe — and they’re likely to remain so for the next decade, at least. That’s according to research for the latest Executive Perspectives on Top Risks survey from global consulting firm Protiviti, a Robert Half subsidiary. In its survey report, Protiviti also suggests that companies make succession planning a strategic priority to help ease the risk of unexpected leadership gaps. Taking a more proactive stance toward succession planning is a sound recommendation, as the opposite approach can be disruptive and costly for a business. However, keep in mind that a succession plan is exactly that — a plan. When a business needs to hire a leader — whether it’s a CEO, chief financial officer (CFO), general counsel, vice president or another vital role — there is no guarantee that the plan that was outlined will meet the moment. No matter how hard you work to fortify your executive bench from within, you may still find you need to look outside the company for executive talent. Perhaps the person you identified as a potential successor for the CFO isn’t quite ready to take on the responsibility when the role opens up sooner than expected. Maybe that employee simply decides they don’t want to be CFO after all? Or perhaps your business is a startup that’s growing fast, and you need to bring on several new executive roles at once. In that case, you may not even have a succession plan to consult because you didn’t need one.
Whatever prompts an executive search at your company, know this: It is unlikely to be a quick and easy process. C-level hiring can be particularly difficult because you need to identify someone who is prepared to make a significant commitment to your business for the long term. You also need to ensure that the person you recruit for a top leadership role will not only thrive in your organization’s culture, but also be its enthusiastic and steadfast champion. Because hiring senior executives can be a tough and complex process that also requires discretion, many organizations will enlist help from a retained executive search firm. Working with skilled executive search consultants can make it easier for businesses to hire the leaders they need. These professionals can also assist with evaluating internal hires, so you can confirm that the succession plans your business has developed are indeed the right ones. Here are a few top reasons a retained executive search firm can make hiring leaders easier.
Executive recruiters typically have deep knowledge of specific industries or roles, which means they understand the qualifications and skills a professional needs to excel in your company’s open leadership position. Their specialized expertise can also help to inform your hiring requirements, so you can connect with top candidates more effectively and avoid the constraints of unrealistic criteria.
Many employers look to a retained executive search firm with a strong global network to help support their search for leadership talent anywhere — locally, nationally or even globally. The best executive search teams can also help your business connect with high-potential professionals in other markets or industries you may not have otherwise considered or identified.
A leading executive search practice will go the extra mile to provide your business with a detailed set of relevant market insights, such as compensation trends, candidate availability and competitive hiring strategies. This valuable information can help you adjust your recruitment process accordingly so you can move faster to secure top executive hires — and stand out to candidates as an employer of choice.
While executive recruiters will focus on the task at hand — finding the best available candidates to meet your company’s immediate needs — they will also keep the future in focus. They understand that recruiting a leader isn’t just about staffing a role for today; it’s an investment in the company’s future. So, when they’re assembling a short list of candidates for you to consider, know that the recruiters with a reputable retained executive search firm will take into account everything from your company’s long-term strategic goals to the market dynamics your business must navigate.
Executive search consultants can help you find success in recruiting leaders for your business simply by being a knowledgeable and committed guide in the process. The best firms emphasize a collaborative approach and prioritize building strong relationships with their clients. They recognize that they’re serving as an extension of your business when conducting candidate searches, and they embrace the opportunity to help position your organization in the best light.
Executive search consultants understand the need to be discreet, and they will maintain a high level of confidentiality throughout the hiring process. This is especially important when your business needs to replace an incumbent executive, or you operate in a highly competitive industry. Candidates also appreciate confidentiality, as it is fairly common for a potential executive hire to be currently employed. And the candidate will know that your company is serious about the hiring process because you’ve engaged a retained executive search firm to manage the engagement.
Executive recruiters are skilled negotiators who can help manage discussions about salary, bonus, equity components, prerequisites, benefits, and other critical aspects of the executive hiring process. They will work to make sure your organization and the candidate you hire arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement. Succession planning is always a smart strategy to help your business prepare for changes in leadership, whether they’re expected or not. But it is also valuable to have a resource like a retained executive search firm on hand to assist your organization in making senior-level hires as swiftly and seamlessly as possible, and with confidence.
Working with Robert Half’s retained executive search practice can help to expedite and streamline your search for the C-suite and senior management professionals your business needs. Our Forbes-recognized executive search consultants work with public, private and nonprofit organizations across industries to hire for these and other roles at the director level or above:
CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, CIOPresident, EVP, VPExecutive directorGeneral counselGeneral managerBoard member
Contact Robert Half’s executive search practice today to let us know about your senior-level hiring needs. Follow DeLynn Senna on LinkedIn.