Insights

Best Practices for Needs Assessment in Executive Search

Posted by Reed Flesher

One of the initial steps in an executive search should be a needs assessment that can both confirm that the hire is actually needed and determine how the hire would benefit the organization as a whole. A needs assessment can prevent unnecessary hiring, and if hiring is necessary, help to define the type of candidate needed.

Basic Parts of a Needs Assessment for Executive Search

First, a needs assessment should look at the organization’s current skills and performance gaps to determine whether the executive position is needed. This can be done whether the position would be a replacement or a brand new position. This could also be a good time to identify new and current needs within the company so that they can be addressed during the hiring process.

Once sufficient need has been determined, a job description should be written based on those needs. Copying the previously used job description may be easier than rewriting or creating a new one, but an organization’s needs change over time. Executive hiring is too important not to spend some time determining exactly what skills and experience are needed at the current time, which may be very different from even just a few years ago.

Some aspects of a job description that are likely to change over time include starting salary, specific skills needed, and job responsibilities. Rewriting the job description gives leaders an opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of previous job descriptions and the candidates that filled them, which allows them to build on previous successes and overcome obstacles.

Next, it is important to determine the urgency of filling the position, which will have a direct impact on the way the hiring process is conducted. A high-urgency hiring situation may have a different budget than one that can take a little more time, and it may also have a different scope and search parameters as well.  

The timeline for filling the position may also help to determine the hiring budget and the salary offered; having to find someone to fill the position quickly is typically thought to be more expensive than being able to take your time.

Benefits of a Needs Assessment

Doing a thorough needs assessment may take a little bit of extra time, but it will result in a more focused executive search that could save organizations tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in more productive executive hires that accomplish more of the organization’s goals.

Needs assessments can also benefit organizations by leading to a faster hiring process, which often happens when needs are better identified early on rather than later when candidates are being considered. An executive needs assessment may even identify skills or needs gaps in non-executive positions and impact other parts of the organization.

Thrive TRM offers a platform to support the entire hiring process from needs assessment to onboarding and career pathing, keeping essential personnel in the loop and streamlining the process so that it can progress more quickly and smoothly. Contact us for more information about our platform and how it can benefit your organization today.

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