4 Steps to Attracting the Best Leaders

Unfortunately there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to attracting the best leaders. But there are a few strategies you can use to ensure that you’re attracting and hiring the high quality leaders you need to grow your business. Here are four practical steps you can take to attract the best:

1. Define who and what you’re looking for in a candidate

You may have a job description written up for the leadership position you’re looking to fill but what it’s likely lacking is the heart of your company. More than simply an outline of responsibilities and metrics, the profile of your position should include the “Who.” We recommend sitting down with your stakeholders (those who will be directly impacted by the new hire, both peers and direct reports) to conduct a brainstorm on the values, traits, and behaviors this candidate must possess to be a match for your company culture. Taking these words and integrating them into your position profile increases your odds of attracting the right candidates. Great candidates will self-identify with the ideal candidate description. Bonus: by including your team in the brainstorm, you’ve created buy-in for the hiring process. For examples, check out some position profiles on our Open Searches page.

2. Mitigate risk for the candidate

When a candidate makes a job change, there’s always some level of risk involved. Some risk is good, but too much can scare a great candidate away. Recognize the level of risk your best candidates might perceive in researching your company. If your company offers opportunity for growth, but is in an undesirable location with a salary at or below market average, risk for the candidate runs high. However, if you’re offering a great salary with opportunity for growth, your undesirable location may not seem so bad.

3. Sell the lifestyle change

Multiple times, we’ve seen small to medium-sized companies attract great leaders from large corporations because the candidate is looking for a change. Generally these candidates are looking for solid cultural fit, a family-friendly work environment (read: more flexibility), and opportunity to make a real impact. If your company offers one or more of these benefits, make sure you’re selling the candidate on these advantages.

4. Cast a big net – and have patience

It takes time to find a diamond in the rough. Great leaders are hard to find for a reason – there are so few of them. But they are out there, and with the right hiring strategy and process, they can be found. It can’t be stressed enough: the bigger your net, the broader your network, the more candidates you’ll bring in and the better your odds of hiring success. Post your position profile on as many job boards as are relevant (three at the very least) and send to your professional network while advising company leaders to do the same. Some of the most effective job boards are LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter (posts to 50+ free job boards), and CareerBuilder. Set a budget for job postings. A reasonable budget for a 30-day posting strategy is $600-$2,000. For more technical positions, think Engineering Manager or IT Director, expect to run job posts for at least 60 days. The more people viewing your position profile, the more likely you are to land the right catch. Another essential? Patience: hire slow, and fire fast.


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