The Talent Scout Episode 50: Executive Recruitment in 2021
4 minutes | Posted 09 March, 2021


On the off chance you missed it, this month I ran a webinar for our clients on all aspects of Executive Recruitment in 2021. As I know we’ve already covered the more granular aspects of Executive Recruitment on the podcast quite recently, I thought I’d cover the other aspects of the webinar today. That being what we can expect from Executive Recruitment in 2021 and what the lay of the land now looks like for executive-level candidates.

Candidate expectations in 2021

Looking at Executive Level candidates in 2021 the first thing we need to address is the elephant in the room. That elephant being the mess that was 2020. Be it due to Covid-19 or the fight for social justice or the many other things that happened, 2020 was a very tough year for a great number of people.

In our personal lives we’re burned out and in our professional lives we’re burned out. With that in mind, anywhere you can make your recruitment process easier, more candidate friendly, or just reduce candidate effort you should do it. Candidates are exhausted right now and this is particularly true of our senior leaders. It was an incredibly tough year to be a senior leader. A lot of very challenging decisions were made following many sleepless nights. Senior executives are a little bit shell-shocked at the moment at that might make them a bit more hesitant to look for a new career which means the talent market itself may be more challenging than you’re expecting it to be.

Employer Branding is still king

As we look to Executive Recruitment in 2021 it’s also worth noting that Employer Branding is still key to securing top talent. According to the JobVite 2020 Job Seeker Report, 81% of workers think that company culture is somewhat or very important in their decision to apply for a job.

The reason that an Employer Brand is important to senior executives is that your current employer brand is going to assist executive applicants in assessing how your leadership teams interact with one another and their respective teams. Senior Executives want to work with organizations that have a highly motivated and engaged workforce and these are usually found within organizations that have a strong Employer Brand.

It’s also worth noting that whether you’ve worked on your Employer Brand or not, you do have one and it is influencing whether executive candidates apply for your role or not. Furthermore, your Employer Brand may have been massively influenced by Covid. According to the Scout Talent 2020 Candidate Survey, 72.9% of candidates stated that how an organization treated its staff during COVID-19 would influence their decision to work there.

Whether you’re influencing the narrative of that story or not, that information exists and will be found by candidates that look for it. Executive candidates will do their research and they will find that information.

The passive candidate market

In an attempt to understand the mood of Executive Candidates at the moment it seems that the biggest driving factor right now among this group is global uncertainty. This means that passive candidates that would maybe jump at the role you were presenting to them may be a little more hesitant to leave their current role for something that is a great deal more unknown.

If you want to court these candidates then a simple and concise application process is absolutely key. Make sure that whatever screening questions you’re asking or whatever information you’re seeking is relevant, necessary, to the point, and concise. Executive candidates just aren’t going to waste time completing an arduous screening process and in all honesty, you don’t need them to. You’re likely going to bring them through several rounds of interviews, you are going to have plenty of time to robustly screen them.

Executive candidates expectations

Executive expectations are also set to change somewhat in 2021. Firstly executive candidates are going to expect more flexibility than they’ve expected in the past. Traditionally executives would spend a significant amount of time in the office but now that the infrastructure for remote working exists and is functioning well you are going to find more executives looking to build it into their contracts. Be prepared to compromise and have executives who spend part of their week working remotely and part of their week working within the office.

Salary is also something to be mindful of. According to the Scout Talent 2020 Candidate Survey over 50% of candidates are expecting their earning potential to increase within the next 12 months. This is true of senior executive candidates as well. Consider the salary range you’re offering, have you compared it to the market average lately and is it competitive. Have you considered what salary increase plans you can put in place for a year from now or performance bonuses? Expectations have changed with our changing landscape and if you want to secure top senior talent then you’ll need to adapt.

If you’re still interested in Executive Recruitment and would like to dive a little more deeply into the nitty-gritty of how to secure top Executive talent then you can find our full webinar here.

If you have a very specific executive recruitment question then please do reach out and one of our specialists would be more than happy to have a conversation with you and advise you on executive recruitment best practice.

To make sure that you don’t miss an episode of The Talent Scout, sign up below.