All About Full-Time Hiring

All About Full-Time Hiring

November 13, 2023

What’s your approach to full-time executive hiring?

Scaling your leadership team is a vital part of scaling your company. When you set out to hire a full-time executive, you have the opportunity to create significant impact on your leadership team.

Your approach to full-time hiring is an important part of your strategy. We’re here to help—from start to finish.

two people shaking hands
Photo by Cytonn Photography / Unsplash

Hiring startup executives

Setting your team up for success

A new leader can change the trajectory of your business. But how do you make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job? It all comes down to how you run your search.

We recommend a holistic approach to find the best fit for your team. From reconsidering the job description and requirements to considering candidates from diverse backgrounds, working with a team like Bolster can help you assess and benchmark your team, understand your exact needs, and get aligned as you begin your executive search

Want more detail? Check out our tips for a successful executive search

Looking for the next addition to your executive team?
We help you find skilled, diverse candidates with wide-ranging backgrounds to round out your leadership team and bring the expertise your business needs for success.
Start your search today

Writing an executive job description

Putting together an executive job description to attract your ideal candidates can be difficult. Many people try to cover every aspect of the job, but we recommend looking at the job description as a starting point for the relationship between your company and your potential new hire. It can—and will—change over time as the company and the executive grow. 

It can be challenging to focus in on the most important skills for your open role, while also balancing potential future growth and ensuring you don’t discourage historically underrepresented candidates from applying. We can share some practical tips for solving these challenges—starting with the latter.

Avoid bias in job descriptions
Review the language in your job description for words or phrases that might turn away women or otherwise underrepresented individuals. Reduce your requirements to the most important items—and consider why they are important to you

Understanding the purpose of the job description
Think of the job description as a way to attract the right candidates and set the stage to align on expectations of the role. Aim for about 300-600 words, and remember that it’s highly unlikely that the job description encompasses the full extent of the role in the short or long term.

Writing the job description
Start brainstorming by writing down all the reasons the role is critical for the success of the organization, then narrow this down to one paragraph summarizing the overall impact of a successful candidate. Include context about the company and executive team, such as your current priorities and your longer-term strategy. Finally, add the requirements for the job. Be clear about which are required and which are desired.

Check out this post for more details about creating an effective executive job description

Challenges of hiring startup executives

Recruiting top-tier executive talent can pose a unique challenge for startups. Understanding the “why” behind the challenge is the first step towards overcoming it and finding the right talent for your team. 

So, why is it so hard to find stand-out talent?

  1. Limited resources
    Startups are often working with limited resources, such as a smaller budget or fewer team members than larger, more established companies.
  2. Unpredictable environment 
    Executives who are used to relatively stable work environments may be wary of the fast pace or frequent changes in priorities and goals that come with leading a startup.
  3. Intense competition 
    The startup market is highly competitive, with companies vying for a limited pool of executives.
  4. Limited track record
    Some executives may be hesitant to join a company without an established reputation or proven track record of success.

It is possible to overcome these challenges, though! Some executives even prefer working with startups. Learn more about these challenges—and how to overcome them

How to attract startup executives

Do you know what factors can help you attract startup executives?  

  1. Focus on opportunity
    Working with a startup can be a great career builder for leaders! Figure out what’s exciting for your ideal candidates, whether it's innovating within your market, creating a new and exciting company culture, or working closely with a board. As a startup, you can offer more growth and agency than a larger company.
  2. Offer equity
    Offering equity in the company is a great way to work around salary limitations and sweeten the deal for potential candidates.
  3. Demonstrate credibility
    Your startup may not have the established reputation of a larger company, but you may be able to demonstrate credibility through your team. Does a founder have previous success with a startup, or experience growing and leading another reputable organization? What about others on the leadership team or the board?  
  4. Share your mission:
    When you’re discussing an open role, go into detail about the opportunities for innovation and the impact that leader will have on the organization and its stakeholders.

While executive hiring can be challenging for startups, they also have advantages that larger corporations do not. Read more about attracting talent to your startup.

group of people having a meeting
Photo by Mario Gogh / Unsplash

Keeping diversity in mind as you hire

Clients frequently ask us how to find candidates who help them diversify their leadership teams, a move that’s beneficial for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that diverse teams consistently perform better than homogenous teams. 

Often, though, senior leaders are hired for their resumes, rather than their competencies or potential. 

Why is this? 
Running an executive talent search based on competencies, cultural fit, experience, and general or analogous industry experience is much harder than simply looking at a resume. It takes time, patience, and probably a bit more risk tolerance. 

How can you avoid bias?

  • Look for actual work done, skills, and accomplishments rather than an attachment to a big-name company.
  • If someone has a gap in their resume, consider what they did with their time off or the skills they acquired during that time. These periods can provide an excellent perspective shift. 
  • Rather than writing someone off because they lack executive experience, consider whether they have the skills to look at the big picture of a company. How they interact with other leaders and functions may matter more than their previous job title. 
  • Look for indications of a growth mindset or proactive educational experience such as certificates or technical training, rather than a degree from a prestigious institution. 

Learn more about biases you might have in hiring, what they mean, and how you can avoid or address them. 

Are you hiring and want to interview a diverse slate of candidates?
Learn how Bolster is helping CEOs diversify their teams.
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What does it mean to interview for culture fit?

How should CEOs and leaders go about interviewing for culture fit—and is there a better way?

In this episode of The Daily Bolster, Rory Verrett and Matt Blumberg discuss why CEOs are not always the best arbiters of company culture. Instead, it’s a good idea to look for specific values throughout the interview process. To measure culture fit, make sure you have a group of interviewers who can share different perspectives.

man in white dress shirt sitting beside woman in black long sleeve shirt
Photo by krakenimages / Unsplash

Supporting your executive team

How to navigate employee retention

As you’re thinking about your strategy for hiring talent, you should also consider your talent retention strategy. 

A new era of work means new workplace norms, and we’ve found that many executives are looking for ways to shake up their routines and new opportunities for growth. What does that mean for you as a CEO? It could be time to expand or highlight options for career diversification among your leadership teams. 

What that looks like will be different based on your company and what your executives are looking for. You could offer them the chance to switch up their projects, provide opportunities for coaching, or encourage them to take on board roles. There are plenty of ways you can support your leaders and their growth, and at the end of the day, whether your employees gain new perspectives and ideas or are simply happier at work, you’ll reap the benefits. 

Promoting executive development

Everyone has the capacity to grow and develop new skills and behaviors. Many CEOs express their intent to create a culture of learning and growth, and many executives indicate a desire to focus on professional development, but a lack of prioritization can result in stagnation. 

If executives lack the agency or the bandwidth to pursue professional development, it’s time to find a solution. 

Recommendation #1:
Have an explicit conversation. The executive in question should fully understand that their success at the company is dependent on their growth with the company. The goal is to give the CXO the best chance of successfully developing the skills they need. You’re opting for a difficult conversation now, rather than a much harder conversation in the future.

Recommendation #2:
Make development part of the regular quarterly goals process, not a side goal that’s reviewed separately. Include success measures and tactics, in the same way you set your business and financial goals for the quarter. Then, measure against them to see if the right progress is being made.

Without taking concrete steps toward growth, it’s likely CEOs and executives will find themselves parting ways for preventable reasons.

Learn more about how to prioritize executive development.

Looking for the next addition to your executive team?
We help you find skilled, diverse candidates with wide-ranging backgrounds to round out your leadership team and bring the expertise your business needs for success.
Start your search today