The Hunt For a C-Suite Candidate: What Can Go Wrong?

One of the most important things any business can do is hire the right leadership ‘suite’ to guide their company towards success. The C-level group in your organisation doesn’t just tell other employees what to do; they cultivate exceptional results by delivering the right motivation, support, and guidance for every team.  

The trouble is, finding the ultimate leader for your team isn’t easy – mainly when everyone in the finance sector is hunting for the same proficiencies and certifications as you.  

As the marketplace grows more competitive, the best senior talent is already being courted by other organisations in your field. This means that if you want to get your hands on the perfect hire, you’ll need to overcome some hurdles along the way.  

Here are just some of the top things that can go wrong on your hunt for C-level success, and what you can do to improve your chances of getting the right recruit.   

1. You Fall Victim to Market Pressure 

Perhaps the most common issues that hiring managers face when they’re building their C-level team involves getting so overwhelmed by marketplace pressure, that they rush the recruitment process. While there’s nothing wrong with turning to the experts for help speeding up your search, companies who hire the first person they meet to save time might set themselves up for failure.  

Hiring the wrong candidate is an expensive mistake for any business to make. Not only do you waste time onboarding a leader that can’t move your team in the right direction, but you also have to re-do all the work of finding another recruit when your first attempt doesn’t work out.  

Senior-level hires are the people that make or break your organisation. You can’t afford to make the wrong decision. Rather than holding onto any candidate that has the necessary skills you need for your position, envision how each person will fit in your team, looking at their: 

  • Previous experience and education 
  • Certifications and qualifications: Does your CMO have the latest marketing expertise? 
  • Additional skills – For instance, would it help if your CFO was also proficient in cloud technology? 
  • Attitude: Will they fit with your existing company culture? 

2. You Rely on Your “Gut Feeling” 

Instinct can take you a long way in business. However, you’ll need more than a good feeling about someone to ensure that they’ll fit well into your C-Suite. Instead of thinking of these high-level candidates as just another employee, look at them as partners. They’ll be guiding other lower-level employees in your group, so they need to share the same vision, values, and aspirations as you.  

To avoid relying on your gut, outline a few critical success factors for the position in question before you start your search. Taking the time to think about what you need from your top-tier talent will also help you to inform your recruitment agency of the kind of expertise you’re going to need when you onboard your new executive 

Rather than just looking at skills and education, think about other elements too, such as: 

  • Flexibility: Do you need someone who’s willing to work long hours?
  • Network: Would it help to hire someone with connections in your sector? 
  • Previous successes: Do you need someone who’s proven themselves in a CIO role before? 
  • Diversity: Can you benefit from adding a new type of professional to your team? 

Make sure that everyone you interview ticks all of your “basic requirement” boxes before you move them to the next stage of your recruitment process. This will prevent you from falling victim to bias, or the pressure we mentioned above.   

3. You Talk More than You Listen

If you think you’ve found someone who meets your criteria, it’s easy to get excited. The same is true if you’re passionate about your business, and you’re selling the position to a candidate as effectively as possible. 

Though it’s important to convince your applicant that it’s worth joining your team, don’t get too carried away during the interview. During the interview process, aim for the candidate to speak around 80% of the time, but be inquisitive. Learn as much as you can by asking your would-be hire to expand on their answers or give you more information about situations they’ve faced as a C-level employee in the past.  

Listening carefully and taking notes will show your candidates that you respect them – leading to a better recruitment experience. What’s more, it will also give you more information to refer back to when you’re making your choice.   

4. You Let the Process Drag Out for Too Long 

Finally, while rushing to hire any candidate can mean you end up with the wrong executive leading your team, moving too slowly means you miss out on the ideal hire. With top-level recruitment, the longer the process drags out, the more likely it is that the person you want will receive an offer from a competitor. Many individuals taking charge of their career plan will schedule multiple interviews with various companies at once.  

The hiring and interviewing process shouldn’t last forever. Any longer than six weeks, and you can risk losing people who just can’t afford to sit around and wait for an offer. If you’re concerned that your recruitment track is dragging, the best thing you can do is keep every potential employee informed about where they stand in the process.  

Even if you’re not ready to offer the job to someone yet, give them a call and let them know you’re still very interested in them for your role. Provide regular updates on when they can expect to hear something new and live by your promises. If you tell someone they’ll have an answer by Monday, make sure you get in touch. 



About JobFitts 

JobFitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from; HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline. 

To find out more visit our website at JobFitts here or call us on (02) 9220 3595 or email here.