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Top Tips for Recruiting at Board and Executive Level

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Top Tips for Recruiting at Board and Executive Level

With staff turnover at board level at around 30% per annum we look at the pitfalls that many employers come up against when recruiting and selecting their senior talent.

  • Seeing executive recruitment as a cost to be reduced! Would you do this with your new product development? Would you compromise on your sales effort?  Senior recruitment is a key business activity whether it is promoting internal talent through rigorous assessment or external sourcing.  Much research into high performance working has identified top-class selective recruitment as being critical to business success.  Remember ‘craft skills’ are not usually an indicator of either leadership capability or potential. Research has shown that the opportunity cost to an organisation of a “failed hire” is typically three times the job salary. With most directors now earning in excess of £100,000 do you want to take this risk.
  • Using inappropriate recruitment and selection methods. At this level a quick online advert or worse still an advert in the local press is a waste of money.  Great talent is always hard to find! Our approach is invariably to head hunt talent as well as using a focused advertising campaign as part of an integrated Executive Search & Selection Assignment.  This “the best of all worlds” really works.  Usually we also benchmark internal applicants in order to ensure the right hire is achieved every time.  You may know someone in your network or have a friend who might, I stress might, be suitable, but how do you know?  Only a robust process will find out.
  • Use a cheap recruiter. How often do you complain about the behaviour of agencies?  How often do you have to work with inexperienced graduates/recruiters who have no appreciation at all of what it takes to succeed at senior level?  Just recently a client of ours came to us to fill an assignment on which a mass market recruiter had failed. Our client explained that, “they acted like an agency sending irrelevant and unqualified CVs”.  There is the problem, agencies and sales driven specialists do not employ consultants who can consult!  Our team is all vastly experienced and all hold professional qualifications.  This expertise is not inexpensive but it is extremely cost-effective with just a 2% first year staff turnover.  You would not hire an accountant or lawyer who has no expertise or creditability, so why compromise your executive recruitment?
  • The selection process consists entirely of one-on-one interviews. One-on-one interviews are proven over many studies to not only be inaccurate but dangerous.  We will not rehearse the reasons here but we always use psychometrics and a selective recruitment methodology. These uncover the hidden aspects to character and capability that interviews alone are incapable of finding. We also recommend that clients use a panel interview approach at second and third interview. Again this is proven to be more reliable and rigorous for senior recruitment.  Oh, and by the way, it avoids ‘gut feel’ which is invariably wrong!
  • On-boarding/induction. Induction is all about introducing new employees to colleagues and where the fire exit and lavatories are, right?  Wrong, induction is about ensuring that the person quickly settles in to become a productive member of the team.  We design bespoke ‘100 days’ programmes for clients so that their new senior team member quickly settles in and becomes productive.

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Phil Boyle - Director of Ramsey Hall

Phil Boyle is the managing director of Ramsey Hall Ltd. Ramsey Hall is a highly respected and long-established boutique Talent Management Consultancy. It is an SHL Enterprise Partner and amongst the most experience users of the Hogan series of tests in the UK. They can also offer the MBTI together with a wide range of other top end psychometric tests.

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