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How to attract senior level Candidates

In today’s job market, characterised by record high employment, hiring is a challenge. Research shows that UK businesses fail to employ the right person for two out of five roles, and the cost of this increases with the level of seniority needed. A bad applicant at mid-manager level, with a salary of over £40,000, can cost a company more than three times this, with causes ranging from low productivity to increased staff turnover. To avoid this kind of situation, and to attract senior level Candidates, you need to adjust your strategy. Here’s what you need to know:

Be patient

It stands to reason that the more skills and expertise you’re searching for, the narrower the talent field available will be. When you’re looking for someone at the very top level, it can often take four to eight months to find the right Candidate. Understanding this challenge will help you to adjust your hiring approach, planning ahead well in advance before an urgent need for a leader within this position arises. Experienced applicants have spent years honing their CVs, and because their skills are in demand, they can be in the enviable position of receiving multiple job offers. In such situations, it may be tempting to choose the first person available, however it’s important to make sure you have a manager who will truly thrive in the role which means biding your time may pay off in the long run.

Don’t underestimate cultural fit

Of course, cultural fit is important for all Employees, including those at entry level. It’s not just about finding a team where everyone has the same beliefs and interests, it’s about building a workplace where everyone is able to buy into a shared vision for the future of your company. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicts that a poor culture fit can cost organisations between 50 to 60 per cent of an Employee’s annual salary. The higher the position, the more important this becomes. According to Gallup, a strong ethos, as well as an engaged workforce is the best way to attract the top 20 per cent of Candidates who are motivated by the idea of working for a business with the same shared goals. Therefore, take time to ask in-depth questions at interview, identifying those who are genuinely interested in your identity, brand and company direction.

Involve Employees in the hiring process

There’s truth in the saying that ‘talent attracts talent’. If you are to sell your organisation as the best place for senior level Candidates to work, you should involve current Employees in the process. As a company you’re searching for ambitious members of staff, so it’s important to be a place where forward-thinking applicants can thrive. If Candidates can see a clear progression path, or even someone who they find inspiring (whose position they’d aim to emulate) they’re more likely to invest in the recruitment process, accepting a job offer at the end. Use your brightest managers on the interview panel to help sell the opportunities available within your firm. It’s likely that you’ll see a higher success rate if people can visualise themselves working with other successful leaders.

A personalised approach

When there’s a narrow talent pool to choose from, it’s likely that, sometimes, you’ll be hiring Employees from competitors. Not only this, but in order to fill your position you’ll need to engage with passive Candidates – those who are not actively looking for work. At senior level in particular, this requires a certain level of discretion. A talented manager may not want to let their team know that they’re considering a career move. So, when approaching potential applicants, prepare to be flexible, to call them outside of office hours so that they are in a comfortable environment and able to listen fully. It goes without saying that a personalised approach is vital if you’re to capture peoples’ attention. If their email boxes are bursting, picking up the phone, taking the time to get to know potential Employees and pitch your opportunity will demonstrate that you’re truly interested in them.

Give the right support in the job

Many leadership positions come with challenges attached. It’s estimated that up to 50 per cent of new CEOs fail within their first 18 months, for many different reasons. All of this means that before your top Candidate accepts the job, they need to know what it entails, including the challenges they’ll face. While it’s important to sell the role, you should also be honest about areas for improvement. If applicants have a clear grasp of how the organisation works, your business model and team structure, not only will they be better prepared for their first day in the office, they won’t be surprised when they do come across problematic situations. Each organisation has a unique internal culture and political environment. However, a survey of 198 HR executives showed that while most companies provided support with administrative arrangements, business orientation and legal formalities, they were less likely to help leaders adapt to this. Once you welcome people through the door, don’t forget to provide ongoing advice and support.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.  

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