How To Attract Top Talent in the C Suite

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How To Attract Top Talent in the C Suite
Hannah Mason

5 mins

How To Attract Top Talent in the C Suite

In this article, Hannah Mason, Principal Resourcer at Search by SRG, explores some key strategies to attract retain and empower C-Suite level employees in your organisation today.

Want to accelerate your C-Suite job search? You're not alone.

As we emerge from the pandemic and ‘the great resignation’ where over 19 million workers left their roles, and a further 40% of the workforce are still seeking change, employees are fast becoming candidates and are making their way through to the world of recruitment where talent mobility trends are driving more, and better opportunities for senior professionals

In this competitive, fast-paced landscape, the success of your C-Suite job search will rely on how well you can translate and align your professional history with your ambitions to get where you want to be. However, for executive leaders who may have complex routes to the C-suite, or are even passively scouted for the roles they’re interested in, leveraging the talent market to make the best job selection can be challenging. 

This article will explore some of the actionable steps you can take to select the right job in the C-suite.

Read on to find out: 

  • How to leverage your potential as a senior candidate
  • How to ask impactful questions in an interview
  • The importance of transparency

How to leverage your potential as a senior candidate

As global priorities shift after COVID, organisations around the world are re-prioritising and generating new roles across the C-suite to strengthen their sustainability and promote their recovery. 

In a survey of 3,000 global CEOs from IBM, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) were rated as the most critical role for business continuity, followed by Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. A further survey of 5,000 Chief Technology Officers reveals that 29% of current CTOs expect their next role to be CEO. 

In this climate of change and transformation, it’s vital to thoroughly understand your own role, abilities, and skills, and how these fit into both emerging and established roles. While you’ll likely have plenty of experience within your current role, solely applying to roles with the same title that you have can inadvertently silo your efforts. What’s more, even if a role does have the same title, responsibilities will invariably change between companies. 

Look for opportunities to diversify and draw on your breadth of experience in new ways to position yourself competitively within the market. Working with a recruitment consultant can be a powerful way of doing this, as they’ll have up-to-date and extensive knowledge on how applicable your skills are across a range of executive positions, including newly created ones.

How to ask impactful questions in an interview

The right culture is crucial, and miscommunication is a key hurdle to finding the right workplace. 

46% of ‘mis-hired’ employees want to leave because of a toxic work culture, while 89% of employers say that ‘mis-hired’ employees leave because of poor emotional intelligence and motivation.  

Overcoming this rift relies on establishing exactly how aligned your cultural values and work styles are with your prospective organisation from the beginning of the application process. The right questions are key to this process. 

While any interview should be a two-way evaluation process, this principle takes extra presence in executive-level interviews, where leadership and business acumen are essential to the role. 

Thorough and nuanced research is essential for your questions to be suitably detailed, and appropriate. Take the time to understand the company’s current position in the market, challenges, and financial performance, and ask appropriate questions to support your decision-making process. Recruitment consultants can support with this stage by providing foundational information on the organisation’s position in the market, as well as suggesting potentially fruitful avenues of enquiry in the interview.

It’s important to ask questions that strengthen your understanding of:

  • How the company operates
  • What the company culture looks like, and how it’s actively reinforced
  • What the overall business pathway is, and whether it aligns with your own ambitions
  • Aim to get a good understanding of the board’s expectations, challenges, and how they measure success

As well as preparing your own questions, you should be prepared to discuss your leadership style, how you get the most out of your team, and how you can help contribute and build on their company culture. You could also consider what is currently missing from the company and how you could help fill the gap, as well as details on the types of decisions you have made in the past, along with outcomes and lessons learned.  

The importance of transparency

Transparency is a key indicator of reliability and trustworthiness and is something both yourself, and your prospective organisation should exhibit. For the organisation, transparency may come across in how they describe the overall recruitment process, and the means they take to reduce bias. Additionally, transparency can also come across in the description of the role and responsibilities in the interview. 

For you as a candidate, transparency in your availability, capability, and skill set, as well as your motivations to move, are all important factors to discuss to support the success of your next role. 
If you receive another offer or are still in the interview stages with other organisations when you receive your primary offer, it’s vital that you communicate your stance in a professional and clear way.

Maintaining this transparency can help reinforce your reliability, and if you do end up taking another position, ensure that any relationships established over the interview process are not sullied in the same way they would be if you abruptly declined the offer. 

Recruitment consultants can help support your transparency across the interview process by acting as a buffer between you and the organisation, enabling you to communicate in the most effective way possible. 

Looking for your next opportunity in the C-suite?

SRG’s specialist executive search team, Search by SRG, provide leading support to executive-level and mid-senior-level niche technical candidates across the recruitment process. We can help you to realise your ambitions across the scientific industries.

Your future awaits and SRG will help take you there and beyond.

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