06/04/10

By Mark Wilding, Head of Technology and Consulting at RMG

Have you ever wondered how to recruit for executives in a niche market? Niche market recruitment can often prove challenging so here is a guide to getting it right:

Be clear about your requirements

Understanding your business requirements is essential. Be clear that this position is going to help you deliver against your corporate strategy. Once you have defined your plans, you can build a detailed and strategic person specification.

Find a cultural fit

Successful organisations are characterised by strong values and a strong guiding vision that communicates behaviours. Strong cultures are built on widely shared individual and collective values. When recruiting at exec level, measure individuals against your values and culture — senior employees must promote your organisational beliefs, and complement your corporate culture.

Commence the search

Make sure your executive search partner has a detailed understanding and experience of the market your business operates in, particularly in niche sectors.

A good executive search organisation will have the ability to map out the key organisations and individuals in the market, and will be experienced in positioning your company appropriately.

You will also need to give them as much detailed information on your company as possible, so they can have educated conversations with people they are approaching on your behalf, acting as an extension of your business.

Always open up the search internally — there is often talent within your organisation looking to move into a senior executive role. The organisation you decide to partner with will be able to offer you advice on best practice, including the ability to benchmark any internal applicants against the external market.

Selection phase

It is essential to have confidence in the quality of your shortlist. An executive search organisation will deliver a detailed brief on all candidates before you interview and will coach you through the process.

Typically you should have a total of four candidates, which would include external and internal applicants in your shortlist. Measure each person against the competencies of the role using a scoring system that you can refer back to at the end of the process.

Normally a two or three stage process is sufficient. And you should always remember that the candidate is also interviewing you!

Offer Management

This is always the most exciting part of the process, but it can also be the most challenging. Your executive search company will be able to act as an intermediary through the offer management stage. They will also be able to advise you on realistic terms to ensure that you make the candidate a competitive offer.

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