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What is C-level recruitment?

What is C-level recruitment?

May 20, 2024

The C-level recruitment process is very different to that of a regular employee search. Choosing a C-level executive will have wide reaching implications for your business, and stability in the C-suite is essential for success. 

With a regular employee, choosing the wrong person will be inconvenient, but it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on the future prospects of the company. But choosing the wrong person for a C-level role could be an expensive disaster.

While some companies choose to keep this process in house, others will work with specialised C-level recruitment agencies to facilitate the search. When hiring for the C-suite, you are looking for someone with the right level of qualifications, experience and track record. 

There is a far smaller pool of candidates to choose from, and the process takes much longer. With so much at stake, it makes sense that companies will take their time when selecting their C-suite team.

In this guide, we’re taking an in-depth look at the C-suite recruitment process to help you to understand how a C-level recruitment specialist could help support your business.

What is C-level recruitment? CMD Recruitment

What does C-level recruitment refer to?

The C-suite is reserved for anyone with “chief” in their title. It refers to the upper echelons of a large organisation, where all of the big decisions are made. Within a company structure, the C-suite sits at the top of the organisation. These are often supported by VP roles and the D-suite, which includes directors of various departments.

The C-suite is responsible for the executive decision making that drives a company forward. They are the only group in the entire organisation that are capable of making significant change.

The C-suite typically includes job titles such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

What is C-level recruitment? CMD Recruitment


What does a C-suite recruiter do?

Finding individuals with the knowledge, experience and track record to run a company is not a simple task. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the C-suite structure and the requirements of each role.

With regular recruitment, there is typically a large candidate pool and a big part of the job is sifting through the candidate pool to determine who has the skills and experience to interview for the role.

With C-level recruitment, the process is much more refined. It is often more about identifying individuals already in roles that might be tempted to make a move given the right circumstances. An example of this could be reaching out to a Director of Finance for a Chief Financial Officer role.

The role of the C-suite recruiter is to know who is who across the industry. C-level roles are not as widely available, and the process of making a selection usually takes much longer. With so much at stake, it makes sense to take the time to find the right candidate for a role.

What is C-level recruitment? CMD Recruitment

What are the benefits of C-level recruitment?

Keeping things in-house offers greater oversight, but it’s often the case that decision makers within the company are too close to the issue. This means they are unable to make objective decisions and they miss out on the opportunity to see the problem from the outside.

In-house C-level recruitment will also take up a lot of time and resources. As a result, many companies will outsource this task to a specialist C-level recruitment agency. These are just some of the benefits of working with an agency for your C-level recruitment search.

1. Reduction in churn

Employee retention is important across all levels of an organisation, but it is essential at the C-suite level. High turnover in the C-suite could signal to customers and investors that the company is experiencing issues and this could damage confidence. By working with an executive recruitment agency, you can increase the chances of making an optimum selection.

A recruiter with experience hiring for the C-suite will know the red flags to look out for in a candidate and will be far more adept at spotting the common white lies told by individuals to inflate their experience.

2. Increase diversity

When left to manage recruitment, many people will look to hire individuals who look and think like them. This is a natural human bias that shapes our decision making, but this is rarely a positive thing. By working with a recruitment agency, you can enjoy more diversity in the candidate pool, as your executive recruiter will be tasked with finding the best candidate for the role.

3. Save time and money

As mentioned above, recruitment takes time which is a valuable resource in business. Outsourcing the process will allow your executive team to focus on the final decision, rather than getting caught up in the early stages of recruitment.

4. Pick from a larger candidate pool

When you handle the process in-house, you will need to advertise the role and wait for candidates to come to you. By choosing a C-level recruitment agency, you’ll have access to a far larger pool of candidates, as your recruiter will know how to start conversations with those who might not necessarily be looking for a role but that would be willing to have a conversation. When combined with in-depth industry knowledge, this is an invaluable skill that can help to increase the pool of candidates you get to pick from. 

What is C-level recruitment? CMD Recruitment

How to choose the right C-level recruitment agency

Once you have decided to outsource the process, the next challenge is to find an agency to represent you. Past experience and track record is essential in this process, but not every company is willing to share these secrets. For many companies, the recruitment agency they use is their competitive advantage.

Speak to other executives from similar companies to ask if they have any recommendations. You can also ask the C-level executives in your organisation if they have worked with any reputable agencies in the past. Most C-suite staff will be approached regularly by recruiters, so this is often a great place to start. 

If you’re ready to start your C-suite search, get in touch with our executive recruitment team today. We can help to streamline the process and put you in touch with the candidates that will have considerable impact on your organisation. 

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