Hiring the right talent is important for any business. But it’s especially critical in the ultra-competitive world of private equity firms, where a company’s success or failure often hinges on the caliber of its employees.
Whether you’re hiring for one open position or 20, you know that you need to attract top talent. But that isn’t all; since the best interviewees are bound to have multiple offers, you also need to make your business stand out from the competition. Here’s a look at how to attract — and keep — the talent your firm needs to succeed.
LinkedIn is where most businesses go to find new talent. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. However, if you want to increase your chances of finding the perfect candidate, you need to bring in a larger applicant pool. Aside from searching for and reaching out to potential talent on LinkedIn, the following strategies may be helpful:
This process can be a time-consuming one. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to appoint several people to assist with the search and recruitment process.
During an interview, you have the chance to vet each candidate thoroughly. But at this level, C-suite candidates are scrutinizing your company just as closely as you’re scrutinizing them.
While it’s possible that your chosen candidate sees your company as their only option, it’s more likely that the interviewee you choose will be fielding offers from more than one firm.
So how do you make a candidate more likely to choose you? The concept is simple: use the interview as an opportunity to sell the candidate on the benefits of working for your company.
Talented executives don’t want to work for questionable businesses. You want interviewees to feel as though they’re joining a winning team. To do this, try to illustrate how your firm excels. Talk about your track record, the value you bring to portfolio companies, and your successful investments.
Your interviewee is likely to receive other offers. In fact, they may have already gotten one or more. If you want to increase your chances of landing a new executive, tell the employee how you stack up to the competition.
Do you offer more PTO, have superior health insurance, or offer more opportunities for advancement? Try to make sure you don’t come across as pushy, but do paint a clear picture of your firm’s advantages.
C-suite candidates specialize in helping companies succeed. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own professional aspirations.
It might seem like people who have reached C-suite positions have “made it” already and don’t need to focus on professional growth. On the contrary, most successful executives are constantly trying to grow. Some work with executive coaches, while others just draft their own plans for personal and professional development.
How can your firm help the candidate grow? If you show that your company is committed to professional development, you might catch the eye of a highly desirable candidate or two.
Quality C-suite employees have their own ambitions, but they often want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And if they can find a company whose mission dovetails with their own goals, they’ll be more likely to thrive.
For instance, let’s say that you’re interviewing a candidate for the role of COO. This person wants to one day be a CEO, but they feel they need more professional development before they can be ready for the position.
This would offer you the perfect opportunity to highlight your firm’s development program for executives and other higher-level employees. If you typically promote other executives to CEO once the role becomes available, this would be something to mention as well.
Executives dedicate a massive amount of time to their careers, so they want their company’s culture to be a fit for their personality and values. If you think a particular candidate would be a great fit, it’s worth highlighting how the firm’s culture might resonate with them.
For example, suppose that your candidate has a passion for helping the homeless, and your employees organize a clothing drive every winter. You would want to highlight this detail during the interview to show that your firm aligns with their interests.
This might seem like the last thing you’d want to discuss with a potential candidate. After all, you want this to sound like their dream job. However, a willingness to communicate about challenges shows some transparency on your part.
It’s also important to remember that most C-suite candidates are enthusiastic problem solvers. As such, a discussion of these challenges might make them start thinking about strategies they could use in the role.
If you have a larger private equity firm, you might have all the necessary personnel to recruit, interview, and select C-suite professionals without outside help. But in many cases, lower middle-market private equity firms choose to partner with executive search firms.
Why? These firms specialize in finding C-suite talent for companies across industries. But perhaps most importantly, they usually have pre-existing talent networks. This means that partnering with a firm often results in an influx of applications from qualified candidates. It also allows you to avoid taking your employees away from their usual duties to have them work on the search.
A great executive can lead your company to unprecedented growth. But if you choose someone who isn’t the right fit, the damage can be hard to undo. Just remember that, in order to bring in talent that outshines the rest, you need to make it clear that you outshine the competition.
Our hands-on private equity executive recruiters have extensive experience working with private equity-backed companies. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEO, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and include vice president sales, general counsel, operating partners, and other director-level leadership roles.
Cowen Partners delivers 3X more qualified candidates than the competition. Through our proven retained executive search process, our private equity executive recruiters find, vet, and deliver the top 1% of candidates for positions across the C-suite. Our process works for all industries, including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, real estate, financial service, and more.
Learn how we deliver top private equity talent, no matter the need, with our industry-leading research and resources. Discover the strategy that made Cowen Partners the top executive search firm in New York, Indianapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond.