How Do Recruitment Approaches Differ for Leadership Versus Entry-Level Roles?


    How Do Recruitment Approaches Differ for Leadership Versus Entry-Level Roles?

    When it comes to hiring, the stakes—and tactics—are different at the leadership level than they are for entry-level positions. Drawing from the expertise of a founder, a CEO, a Human Resources manager, and a Talent Management Specialist, we explore this nuanced process.

    • Tailor Recruitment for Leadership
    • Assess Culture Fit for Leaders
    • Differentiate by Recruitment Volume
    • Leverage Employer Brand and Employee Referrals

    Tailor Recruitment for Leadership

    When it comes to recruiting for different levels within an organization, you've got to tailor your approach. For leadership roles, my focus is razor-sharp on unearthing candidates who not only have a solid track record of strategic leadership but also mesh well with the company's culture. This means deep-diving into their experience with behavioral interviews, leveraging my industry connections, and sometimes partnering with executive search firms to find those top-tier candidates who are not just looking for a job but are passionate about leading.

    On the flip side, when hiring for entry-level positions, the game changes significantly. Here, it's less about what they've already done and more about what they can do. I look for potential, adaptability, and eagerness to learn. The recruitment process is more about casting a wide net, using broader job postings and streamlined interview processes. We're building the future here, so I focus on finding individuals who are ready to grow and take on new challenges.

    Sharon Koifman
    Sharon KoifmanFounder and Remote President at DistantJob, DistantJob

    Assess Culture Fit for Leaders

    Entry-level roles are typically more task-focused, with behavioral-based questions targeting key performance indicators related to job tasks and required output. Typically, for a frontline employee, the recruitment process consists of a prescreen and one interview.

    When looking for leadership positions, the interview questions will be based around leadership style, asking for specific examples of an approach to various situations and explaining how one has tailored their style to their employees. Typically, more than one round of interviews will happen for a leadership role, to ensure various levels of management have buy-in and that cross-sections of the business can make an assessment.

    There may be a more extensive reference check, as well, with a leadership role. While all roles contribute to the morale and culture of a company, hiring a poor culture-fit leader can be a fast track to a company's morale demise, so it is important to hone in on soft skills and use behavioral questions to discover the thought pattern behind the actions when interviewing.

    Heather Kerr
    Heather KerrHuman Resources Manager

    Differentiate by Recruitment Volume

    Volume is the differentiator in my experience, most of which was gained working for a large airline. Those focusing on volume recruitment focused most of their activity on getting as many applicants into the recruitment funnel. In my role as Head of Talent, I would be working one-on-one with the CEO and Senior Leaders to understand what they were looking for from a particular hire, and then going to find these individuals, either through specialized recruitment partners or by reaching out to highlighted candidates directly, mainly through LinkedIn.

    Leadership recruitment, particularly at the senior level, is much more targeted, more individualized, and more focused on why the individual should come and work for our organization, as opposed to entry-level roles where the focus was more on the candidate proving why they would be a good fit for us.

    Jane Ferré
    Jane FerréTalent Management Strategist, Jane Ferré Coaching

    Leverage Employer Brand and Employee Referrals

    Recruiting top leaders for your company starts with your employer brand and value proposition. Evaluate your online presence, company values, benefits, and overall employer brand to ensure that it's modern, relevant, and attractive to industry leaders.

    To find external candidates, your best source is employee referrals. A structured employee-referral program with incentives is an excellent place to start. Next, make sure that your company is active in professional associations, conferences, and industry events that will connect you to new talent.

    Lorraine Rise
    Lorraine RiseCEO / Career Coach, Career UpRising