How to Source Candidates During an Executive Search Process

This hack will show you how to source candidates during an executive search process to help you identify your next senior hire.

While there are many ways to identify your next senior hire, our research has identified employee referrals, professional networks and internal candidates as some of the best sources of high-quality candidates. (Executive search firms can work quite well, but the fees are too costly for some companies.)

DIY Hack – Executive Sourcing

Our team can become your partner through our sourcing program, but if you want a DIY approach, try the following:

1 – Set up a “shared” Google spreadsheet and invite your employees to create a list of people who they respect most out in the field. (by first name, last name, the employee source, a link to at least one professional profile, and a note explaining why the sourced candidate would make a great hire.)

2 – In a separate spreadsheet, have your senior team go through their professional networks and build up a list of potential candidates. (by first name, last name, the executive source, a link to at least one professional profile, and a note explaining why the sourced candidate would make a great hire.)

3 – Also have your senior team compile a list of current (internal) employees who might be qualified for the role. Make sure to consider the people right in front of you inside your organization.

After you have completed all the steps above, combine both lists from steps #1 and #2. You should now have one list of potential executive candidates by referral source. With your new list of sourced executives in place, it should be relatively easy to upload into an applicant tracking system (ATS). (You might not want to combine and upload your list of internal employees – from step #3 – into your ATS because they are already employed at your firm. Make sure they are still considered for the role.)

Additional Tip: If you are looking for an inexpensive ATS, consider, Workable or (you could also use a CRM like Pipedrive)

Need our help?

There are a few ways we can support your in-house executive search process. Check out our Pro Plan if you want us to provide a little guidance to keep you moving in the right direction. Review our Sourcing Program if you want our team to jump in with you and provide dedicated sourcing support.

And if you have big problems all across your talent acquisition landscape, and have no idea where to start, you might need our talent acquisition assessment.


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