How Executive Recruitment Is Shaping the Business Landscape

By Dash Lunde

The shift toward a candidate-driven market means the role of recruiters is essential to attracting top executive and professional talent that can move businesses forward.

Signals of the robust health of the economy — an average of 174,000 new jobs added every month from February through April of 2017; and unemployment among executives and professionals falling to 2 percent – are colliding with the efforts of U.S. companies to attract top executive talent in a market that 86 percent of the respondents in the “2016 MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study” characterize as solidly candidate-driven.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that executive, managerial and professional positions will grow by 6-7 percent for the next few years — good news for executive-level professionals. High demand and a multitude of jobs put the ball squarely in their court. Companies that recognize the new reality and revamp their playbook to take their recruitment game to the next level are poised to win in the competition for top talent.

Enlightened leadership

Coupled with these growth trends is the increasing relevance of employee buy-in to a corporate culture that has meaning for them, which applies all the way up to the C-suite. The companies that drive economic growth are those that understand the importance of recruiting executive leaders who are a great fit for their needs and who understand that a strong and effective culture of teamwork gives them a powerful advantage.

What are the risks for companies that don’t find the right executives for their organizations, and who don’t do whatever it takes to retain them? In a 2016 Hunt Scanlon study, 27 percent of companies surveyed reported C-suite talent raids. With talent raids becoming more frequent, it’s safe to say the stakes are high.

The millennial factor

Many companies are not even remotely in tune with millennials, and the challenge is to understand what the next generation of executives desire now.

The MRINetwork “2017 Millennial Hiring Trends Study,” which surveyed both recruiters and millennial talent, reports a disconnect between what employers think candidates want and what future leaders are actually looking for. While surveyed recruiters ranked work-life balance as most important at 29 percent, Millennials actually ranked compensation as their top priory at 28 percent, followed closely by mentorship and opportunities for growth at 26 percent).

This demonstrates that younger executives are more interested than ever before in growing alongside the businesses in which they work. Career pathing, the mapping of the incremental progression to new roles within the company, is a powerful tool in this effort, because it places upward mobility in the employee’s hands, rather than with management. Considering the propensity of Millennials for job-hopping and their insistence on a meaningful corporate culture, recruitment targeted specifically to them is essential to attracting and retaining top candidates. Baby boomer retirements over the next few years create even more pressure to cultivate new talent and foster connections with the next generation of corporate leaders.

Precision hiring

Companies increasingly understand the challenges of attracting senior leadership in today’s job market. As they turn to external recruitment for help in gaining access to this talent, recruitment itself continues to grow as an industry. Executive search professionals not only have the experience to understand exactly what executives are looking for and what employers need, they also have the ability to foresee trends and develop candidate pipelines in advance of client needs. They are flexible and able to adapt their business models to accommodate changes in workplace.

As the corporate experience becomes more personal, the human element in executive search is leading to stronger relationships between recruiters and clients, and recruiters and candidates.

Committed to finding the right person for the job and the right position for the candidate, recruiters play a vital role in helping companies remain competitive amidst recent U.S. job growth and in helping our economy thrive.