Leadership Hiring Strategies

Leadership Hiring Strategy

It comes as no surprise that executive hiring is different from hiring other positions in your organisation. Leaders will drive and shape your startup, leading your team towards long-term success. Therefore, it is essential to hire executives for your start-up or company that meet every role-specific requirement. Investors will focus on these attributes – hard facts that are easy to evaluate, validate and measure. 

But there is more to the executive hiring process and it needs to be part of every leadership hiring strategy to avoid failed hires. 

Below I share the process of successful executive recruitment at Key Search. Our strategy takes into account what investors want, what the company requires and adds what both didn’t know they needed in order to hire the right leader. 


The Executive Hiring Process

The leadership hiring strategy of an experienced executive search firm differs from that of an investor, but the desired result is the same, because we can all agree that building the best leadership team for your start-up is the foundation for growing your business. But how is it done? 

Time to Hire Leaders

The very first step in executive hiring is to identify the need for it. This may sound simple, but there are many factors that inform this decision. Especially for start-ups, it is essential to get the timing right. Waiting can decrease company growth, rushing can increase the burn rate too much and may result in the wrong candidate.

Take the time to identify the most urgent hiring needs together with your team, advisors and investors. Review strengths and weaknesses, goals and hindrances and create an order from most critical to solve to those that are important but can wait. 

For a deep-dive into this part of the hiring process, head over to our blog article:

Early-Stage Startup Hiring

Job Postings

A job posting falls short of attracting the best executive talent. While it offers a first high-level introduction to the executive role, required skills, and the company, it does not offer enough for senior executives to make a confident and well-informed decision. 

In fast-paced start-up settings, a job description would not keep up with today’s fast-changing market. Scarcity of talent has created a candidate-driven job market, where many companies compete to attract candidates for their executive positions.

In short, a new executive hiring process that is more effective, agile and personal is what experienced executive search firms like Key Search use to help fast-growth companies disrupt their industries.

A job description simply describes a job. At Key Search, we seek out real change agents that get excited about disrupting an industry rather than just doing a 9-5 job

Talent Acquisition

Our approach to talent acquisition at Key Search is different from traditional recruitment. We work without job descriptions as this approach assumes that the better the job pitch of the opportunity, the better the candidates you attract for the role.

Providing full transparency to candidates very early on in the process builds a relationship between the recruiting experts and the candidate that is based on trust. 

Comprehensive, in-depth information in the Candidate Briefing Documents creates a transparent process from the start. This transparency builds a relationship with each candidate from the start and defines the leadership hiring strategy at Key Search.

Expert Note

“Relationships and trust are key.  Moving from a top job and leaving achievements and opportunities behind to go to another company is not an easy decision. So there has to be a lot of trust – you can create that trust by being very transparent all the way through the process.”

To learn more about the Key Search approach to this part of the executive hiring process, read our blog article on Why we don't write job descriptions:

Why We Don't Write Job Descriptions

Selecting the Best Candidates

Ensuring an excellent experience for candidates and companies alike, our transparency continues throughout the leadership hiring process. After in-depth research in a highly competitive market, Key Search consultants reach out to the right candidates with the right message. 

Attracting Leaders

Our experience shows: offering in-depth information on the position and the company in the candidate briefing documents saves everyone’s time and ensures the candidate is well informed.

Companies receive real-time access to the recruitment progress and statistics that show results in the research of strong executive candidates. As the top qualified candidates emerge, Key Search uses assessment tools to eliminate all potential bias and give clear, comparable scores for each candidate. They inform about leadership style, highlight fit gaps to inform interview questions, and a personality assessment gives insights into the candidate’s fit into the company culture.

In a market with a high demand for talented leaders, creating a relationship based on trust and transparency gives you an edge over competing companies. Open communication with immediate responses is a given to respect every leaders’ time in their fast-paced environment.

It's crucial to make the right decision when you hire leaders for your organization. More on this topic is available in our blog article "The Hiring Process – Tips on how to Make the Right Hiring Decision".

The Hiring Process – Tips on How to Make the Right Hiring Decision

Closing the Deal

Investors might think it is all about the money
but the cultural fit and intangible elements are equally important as candidates are seeking work-life balance.”

Now that the perfect candidate for your leadership role has been found, the groundwork of establishing a relationship with each candidate pays off. Trust and open communication extend into all aspects of the offer management stage. Here, Key Search assists, where required, to help on closing candidates.

“Thanks to Key Search’s assessment and selection process, the likelihood of a candidate succeeding in the role is superior to the rest of the market.”

Key Search Hires Your Leaders

How do you hire a leadership team to help you grow your business? Which leader can take your company to the next level? How do you plan to attract the best possible candidate for your executive team? For executive recruiters, hiring managers and startup founders alike, it is crucial to be able to answer these questions.

Key Search understands the ins and outs of the executive hiring process. Our unique research and data-driven approach enables me and our growing team of recruitment specialists to find the very best candidate for your leadership position. 

Because we help some of the world’s most exciting startups and fast-growth companies hire their leaders, it would be my pleasure to take you through our process in a first meet and greet call and discuss how we can help you hire your leaders.

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