Insights

How to Attract the Right Executives to Your Small Firm

Posted by Reed Flesher

Recruiting executives to your small firm or startup can present challenges that larger firms do not face. Smaller firms usually struggle to match larger ones because of the size of the salaries and benefits they offer, the relative uncertainty of job security, and the lack of a dedicated hiring team to handle the executive recruiting process.

Advantages of Small Firms for Executives

At the same time, small firms and startups have some advantages for executives and should take advantage of them when recruiting. Executives of smaller firms may have more autonomy to develop strategies and guide the firm than in larger companies, which may be more exciting to some executives than a high salary.

In addition, smaller firms may not be as steeped in bureaucracy and procedure as larger firms, which will attract innovative executives with great ideas they want freedom to implement. Executives who want to make a difference to a startup or help a small firm grow into a larger one may be good candidates for recruitment.

Finding the Right Executive Talent

Small firms and startups can find the executives they need with a little bit of extra effort. Here are some ways to attract top talent.

Define goals clearly. An executive needs to know that your firm has a direction in mind and knows what it wants to do. Defined goals will help executives know what will be expected and whether they will fit well into the structure that has been developed so far.

Network with current executives and board members. The more your firm’s current executives can get to know other executives, the easier hiring will be. It is not necessarily that you want to poach another company’s executives, but that you will have more access to referrals and can find out about sources of top talent that you might not otherwise be privy to without networking.

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Tell your story. People are increasingly attracted to great stories, so spend some time articulating your company’s story until it is compelling and attractive to those outside the company. What differentiates your firm from others in your field? How did you get to where you are today? Knowing your story and being able to share it with others is of the utmost importance when recruiting top talent.

Be able to work your hiring process quickly. Chances are, the recruits you want for executive positions have other companies chasing them as well. If you can vet candidates, conduct interviews, and make a decision to extend an offer before your competition, you may have the upper hand in hiring. If you are too slow or unresponsive, candidates may give up and take a competing offer first.

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