Shifting from recruiting for production roles to leadership positions can feel a bit like going from playing in Little League to the Majors. It’s the same game, but the competition is at a different level and the game feels completely unknown.

Here are some of the differences between recruiting for positions of leadership or management and recruiting for more production-heavy roles, and how you can set up your company for success in recruiting at these high levels.

You’re Not Only Evaluating Candidates, You’re Selling Your Company to Them

The power dynamics for hiring highly qualified leadership candidates are dramatically different from hiring for production roles. Talented senior executive talent is being pursued by everyone. Your company has to make the case for why they should come work for you, rather than the usual interview process of asking a candidate to demonstrate why they’re the best fit for your company.

This comes down to selling your company to top talent: explaining what makes your company a great place to work, highlighting how its values align with the candidate’s values and getting them excited about what they could accomplish at your company.

It also means tailoring your offer to their needs in a way that isn’t often necessary for more entry-level roles. Take the time to get to know the candidate and understand what is important to them. This can range from generous vacation leave and flexible working arrangements, to exposure to the board of directors or the opportunity to work with a particular client. Show them that you not only understand what they need, but that you can give it to them.

This process will be much easier if talent is aware of your company and has a positive impression of it long before you begin the hiring process. Invest in building your company’s brand as a great place to work. Our Applicant Tracking System helps lay the groundwork for your company to attract high-quality candidates.

You’re Wise to Target Candidates Who Aren’t Actively Seeking Work

The demand for highly skilled managerial and executive talent means they do not need to be as proactive as other employees, and they may not even approach your company at all.

You need to go out and find them, which is why they’re often called “passive candidates.” It’s wise to go a step further and look at candidates who aren’t actively searching for a new job. Once you have a clear idea of the profile of the person you’re looking to hire, use LinkedIn, personal referrals, and other methods to identify candidates that fit that profile, whether or not they’re actively looking for work.

Long-Term Relationships Are More Important

It’s also smart to cultivate long-term relationships for future hiring. That great middle manager who interviewed for a position and but wasn’t quite ready for a step up to upper management? Stay in touch with her. When another management position becomes available, she may be the right person, and you’ll benefit from having established a relationship with her.

In a best-case scenario, as you start to build relationships, you may be able to fill positions without even having to advertise them. And because the candidate is familiar with you and your company, you may not need to sell them on the company as much as a candidate who doesn’t know your company as well.

Recruitment software like our Applicant Tracking System allows you to review past candidates when a new position opens. This streamlines your talent acquisition process and makes it easy to bring in past candidates that may be right for now.

It’s a Global Talent Marketplace

Today’s executives move across states or countries for the right leadership position. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity: it means you’re competing for talent with other companies that may be around the world, but it also means that you can tap into a wider pool of candidates. With such a wide geographic pool, you will find it helpful to use recruitment software to keep track of candidates.

You May Need External Talent Consultants

Because of the challenging nature of hiring executives, it is very common to call in an external talent consultant as a pinch hitter. An executive search is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. An external consultant takes that process off your desk, while working with you to find someone who is the right fit for your company.

Interested in learning more about how BirdDogHR can help you the next time you’re looking to fill a leadership position? Review our HR solutions or get in touch today.