On the Executive Search? Start Here

June 16, 2022 | 9 Min Read

Building your executive team is arguably the most important task of every successful CEO. If you want your company to continue growing, you need executives you can trust to steer the company in the right direction and free you up as the CEO to focus on what you do best.

In fact, hiring your executive leadership team can make or break your company. It's not a process you can experiment on or take chances with.

Instead, you need to define the right executive role to hire next and make sure you end up with the right fit person for that role. But the “business as usual” approach to executive recruiting isn’t working anymore. In this article, we’ll show you how to avoid the pitfalls of the old way and what you can do to find the right leaders for your executive team.

So You're Ready for Help...

Playing the role of 'Chief Everything Officer' is exhausting. As your business grows bigger, you can't manage all the initiatives that will keep your company thriving. 

Eventually, things will fall through the cracks with no one to catch them.

But before you even start searching for people, you probably have a bunch of questions especially if you've been burned before. They're questions like:

  • Who exactly do we need?

  • Which role should we hire first?

  • How will we know if we found the right person?

  • Can we afford them?

  • What if they don't work out?

Don’t worry, these are common concerns to have — and they show you’re acting with your organization’s best interests in mind! But don't let these questions stand in the way of growing your team and giving yourself time back to focus on your role as CEO. The key to overcoming these fears is avoiding the old way of executive search and embracing the new way. Let's take a look at the old way of hiring first.

The Old Way of Executive Search

If you're already nervous about hiring, relying on the old way of doing things won't boost your confidence. It's outdated, inefficient, expensive and unaligned with the way modern businesses work. It typically goes like this:

  1. Create a formulaic job description and general, bland hiring post. 

  2. Post (and maybe pay for posting) the job description on LinkedIn, Indeed, The Ladders, Glassdoor, and countless more.

  3. If Step 2 isn't getting results, you might also hire a headhunter to poach executives from other companies.

  4. Start filtering through resumes and cover letters to whittle them down to a smaller list of potential candidates for a lengthy interview process.

  5. Have interviews that focus more on how interviewees present themselves than their actual merits, alignment with your organization, or abilities in the field.

  6. Test likely candidates with arbitrary assessments that may or may not be scientific or legitimate, like personality and core competency tests. 

  7. Settle for a good-enough candidate because the process is taking too long and giving you too much work to do — which is why you started looking for a new executive in the first place!

Why Doesn't the Old Way Work?

The truth is that nowadays the best candidates are turned off by the above process. They won’t resonate with your formulaic job description in step 1 and likely won't even be reached in step 2 or 3. Steps 4, 5, and 6 don't weed out job hoppers or people who just know how to conduct a great interview, and you won't really know if anyone you interview is really a good fit for your executive team. 

The New Method of Opportunity Recruiting

First, don't post a new job — recruit people to an opportunity. You want to position your entrepreneurial venture as an opportunity that interests and engages top talent. This is especially true when your business is an entrepreneurial venture; because you don't have the large benefits packages, pay range, or brand power of an enterprise organization that a lot of people on the executive career track are looking for.

Instead, focus on making it all about the unique growth potential of your company. You want people who care about growing alongside a great company, not a cushy chair. 

That's where the Opportunity Recruiting method comes into play. At Unleashed, we use a proprietary method to attract talented people to your entrepreneurial vision instead of a stale position. That ensures you find a great fit for your company's culture and direction, not just someone wooed by the salary. When we use Opportunity Recruiting with clients, we focus on these four steps:

  1. The Art: By understanding your vision for your company, we create a success profile for the executive role you need and a compelling message to attract the right caliber of candidates.

  2. The Science: We use objective, scientific processes to vet candidates and narrow in on the candidates with the right characteristics.

  3. The Discovery: Instead of mere interviews, we'll test the chemistry between your company and potential hires so you know if they're a great fit in reality, not just on paper.

  4. The Decision: At this stage, we'll help you objectively decide which candidate is the absolute best fit.

The Most Important Question to Ask

Start your hiring process off right by asking this question: Who do I really need to help me achieve my vision?

When you're surrounded by projects and endless to-dos, it's easy to think that a CMO is your priority, that you just need a CRO, or that a CFO can help take a lot off your plate. But instead of hiring an executive that handles a narrow band of responsibilities, we’ve often found hiring a true “2nd-in-Command” to be the key to freeing up the CEO’s time. This “Operations Counterpart” is the person who can delegate the day-to-day management so they can focus on growth. 

This 2nd-in-Command role has been called many different things: President, COO, Integrator, or even General Manager. But whatever you call them, they’re often the missing half of your leadership duo. This person will execute your business's plan and manage all the day-to-day activities that are taking up your time as CEO. This leaves you to focus more freely on future growth and potential.

Let Unleashed Lead Your Executive Search

Stay on track with your executive vision by letting us do what we do best — find your right-fit 2nd-in-Command to spearhead your executive team. Reach out now for a deeper look at our four-step process or to start defining the role of your future Operations Counterpart.