What Executive Search Firms Look for in Candidates

Executive Search Firms

What Executive Search Firms Look for in Candidates

When searching for an executive position it’s beneficial to know what executive search firms look for in candidates for their top-notch, C-suite jobs. One of the advantages of using a recruiting agency to find available executive jobs is access to better quality opportunities. Because of their close working relationships with firms which need to fill executive level positions, executive search firms have knowledge of more opportunities than an individual job seeker would when seeking on their own.

Executive search firms have a good grasp on what organizations are looking for in an individual they will place in an executive position. Here are traits CEOs look for in candidates they consider for executive jobs:


1. Cultural fit. A majority of employers want a candidate who will fit in with the company culture, regardless of their skill set. Although experience is a definite plus, CEOs want to make sure the candidates they consider have the personality traits that make for the right kind of leader for their employees.


2. Energy. Positive energy is something every CEO wants in a company leader. High energy is important and can be expressed in your body language and demeanor as well as your words. This does not mean you should force something you don’t feel; let your natural personality shine through, and don’t force or fake a level of energy or interest that isn’t genuine.


3. Confidence. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and CEOs appreciate a candidate who is confident in their ability to do the job well. Even if you don’t have experience you feel is directly related to the position you’re being considered for, a smile, firm handshake, and clarity about your own abilities can go a long way toward convincing the CEO that you can handle the responsibilities of an executive.


4. Professionalism. Company presidents and owners want leaders who are confident, but not cocky. Remember that you are there to provide a solution but stay humble and maintain a professional attitude.


5. People skills. Remember that the most sought-after trait in a C-suite level executive is cultural fit, and CEOs need to know you can get along with all manner of company personnel, not just other executives.


6. Proven success. During your interview provide examples of how you overcame hurdles to achieve desired outcomes in your current or previous position. If no career-related anecdotes come to mind, share some incidents from other categories of life that show the same underlying principle, even if it is a personal situation. Keep examples brief and to the point; do not share your life story with the person conducting your interview.


7. Communication. During your interview do more listening than talking. Pay attention to what the interviewer shares about the company, the duties and responsibilities of the position you are being considered for, and what the firm is looking for in their next executive. Answer questions thoroughly, and tailor your responses to address specific points the interviewer makes.


8. Ability to problem solve. Doing research on a company you will be interviewing with may present you with information on a particular problem they face, such as declining sales, increased competition, or restricting industry regulations. Brainstorm possible solutions and offer your insight as to how you would solve a problem the company faces. This shows the CEO you have taken an interest in the company and are already thinking like an executive.


9. Strategic thinking. This ties in closely with the ability to problem solve. Executives need to be able to “see the big picture” and think strategically to help their organizations succeed. Do your due diligence and be able to offer suggestions as to how the organization could operate more strategically and gain a competitive edge.


10. Coachability. Above all, CEOs want to know that no matter how many great ideas you have, you are coachable. Keep in mind that until you become part of the company, you only have an outsider’s perspective, and there are many things about the organization that you can learn.


The best executive search firms keep abreast of available executive jobs and career opportunities across a wide variety of organizations and stay in touch with qualified passive candidates to keep them informed of these opportunities, making an executive recruiter a great resource and good investment. The cost of using executive search firms will vary depending on how often you utilize their services, the length of guarantee period, and other negotiable contract terms.


With locations in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, The Hire Firm is here to support both qualified candidates searching for the right opportunity, and organizations seeking to fill administrative, support, project, management, and executive positions in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We offer our clients temporary staffing, temp-to-hire, direct hire, and executive search services. Contact us today and let us help you find the right fit for your experience, skill set, personality, and career goals.

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