3 Ways to Strengthen your Executive Talent Search Strategy

3 Ways to Strengthen your Executive Talent Search Strategy
Keith Mulgrew

3 Ways to Strengthen your Executive Talent Search Strategy

Step up your executive talent search strategy with expert advice from Keith Mulgrew, Sector Head at Search by SRG

Executive talent search and attraction is a growing concern for many emerging and expanding scientific organisations in the changing world of work.

Today, merely 29% of leaders have all the talent required for current performance requirements, meaning finding and recruiting reliable leaders is increasingly important for business continuity. This shortage is reflected in risk surveys, where talent attraction, engagement, and retention have been cited as the most critical risks for organisations this year.  

As executive talent demand increases, competition continues to rise, culminating in a fast-paced and often time-consuming recruitment process in the search for the right senior leaders. 
To save time and promote efficiency, the right talent attraction strategies can act as a filter at the start of your recruitment strategy, helping you source, and progress the most optimal talent for your organisation.  

Read on to discover:

  • Why executive recruitment is changing
  • Executive talent search challenges to overcome
  • 3 strategies to attract top executive talent in STEM

Why executive recruitment is changing

As workplaces continue to shift, evolving employee preferences are driving new trends in talent acquisition. New hybrid and working from home models that emerged over the pandemic have significantly influenced future expectations across the employee workforce, including at the executive level.

The 2022 Global Science Employment Report revealed that a strong work-life balance is the most important factor for employees working in STEM today. However, our research also shows that when workplaces provide attractive salaries and benefits, alongside challenging and stimulating work, employees are willing to mitigate some aspects of work-life balance. 

In this landscape of workplace transformation, it’s critical to build a relevant talent attraction strategy to ensure that appropriate, and effective executive leaders choose your company over your competitors. 

Executive talent search challenges to overcome

The challenges to overcome in order to establish a successful executive talent search and attraction strategy include:

Employee value proposition efficacy 

Merely 31% of HR leaders believe candidates, and employees are satisfied with their employee value proposition (EVP). Meanwhile, 65% of candidates say they have left a hiring process midway due to dissatisfaction with the EVP on offer. 

Executive candidates are more likely to feel invested in companies with strong EVPs that represent a commitment to employee experience and wellbeing. 

Leaders should aim to create an EVP with an emphasis on holistic wellbeing, and shared purpose, where cross-organisational ownership on decision making is encouraged, and employee wellness is activated through clear guidelines and initiatives.

Time involved in the hiring process

In 2021, the time to hire increased by 18%, adding on another 2 weeks to the overall hiring process. For executive candidates, delays in recruitment can be indicative of poor management and add doubt to joining an organisation. Meanwhile, this additional time to hire can have major effects on organisations seeking executive support, driving lost productivity, and increased turnover risks from existing staff who may be under strain from recruiting workloads. 

Leaders can bridge the time to hire gap by working with an established executive hiring team to attract, source, recruit, and onboard executive talent at pace. Doing so can increase efficiencies and resource access, enabling faster and more streamlined employee journeys. 

What’s more, executive recruitment services can activate access to technology-driven recruitment to widen candidate access. This can include psychometric assessments, as well as mobile recruiting application technology (of which merely 6% of companies have adopted themselves).

Appropriate benefits and opportunities

According to recent research from Gartner, enhancing employee development opportunities is on the agenda of 44% of HR leaders over the coming year. Alongside this, 25% of leaders are aiming to increase rewards and recognition, and 24% intend to increase compensation and benefits. 

To stay competitive in a fast-paced talent market, leaders should seek to supplement opportunities for development and where possible, introduce relevant and well aligned benefits to attract top executives. Additionally, conducting or reviewing up-to-date salary surveys, to ensure you’re offering the market rate, is crucial to not being overlooked by top applicants.

3 strategies to attract top executive talent in STEM

1. Reinforce shared ambitions

Senior and executive-level candidates are often inspired to join a new organisation out of a sense of shared purpose and ambition. Interviewers and organisations should emphasise the direction of the company and communicate the senior leadership’s vision for organisational growth. 

Executives looking for careers in STEM are likely to be either scientists themselves, or heavily invested in the field. Organisations should take the time to describe what real-world impact their products or technology will have on both the field and users. 

2. Communicate avenues for personal growth

Less than 25% of senior leaders recognise that personal growth opportunities and benefits are not well communicated to staff. 

Successful talent attraction strategies should embed personal growth communication from the start, by clarifying career trajectory opportunities, and benefits. This can help executive candidates envisage their own long-term journey in the organisation.

3. Emphasise flexibility

Flexibility can apply in terms of both choices in activity distribution within a role, as well as hybrid work opportunities. Recruitment for executive-level employees is often delayed by hybrid work concerns. 

Leaders should strategise in advance of recruitment around how hybrid work options can be realistically implemented. While location is often fixed for many research and scientific organisations, the nature of roles can often be adapted to accommodate hybrid work.

This is particularly important in niche fields, where executive level candidates are few and far between. Accepting more hybrid candidates can increase applications, and provide a route to accessing a wider, and more diverse candidate pool, that may otherwise find commutes unfeasible.
In my experience, I’ve found that when organisations are, for example, Northern England or Scotland based, and the majority of candidates are in London, Cambridge or Oxford, and unable to commit to full relocation, hiring managers have successfully split responsibilities and in-office work to 2 days on-site, and 3 days at home, to provide commuters with a more realistic work-life balance

Looking for executive recruitment support?

At Search by SRG, our expert recruitment consultants work alongside leading scientific organisations to source and recruit established executives and senior leaders in the field.
We equip clients with access to extensive candidate networks and unique talent insights including competitive salary information to help create a nuanced, and powerful talent attraction strategy that delivers the best talent.


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