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Executive Hiring for Tech Companies – 5 tips for success

GE, Coca-Cola, Apple…think about what these companies have in common. Memorable marketing campaigns? Undoubtedly. Ex-CEOs who own super yachts? Highly likely.

But what makes these companies stand out is exceptional leadership.


We all know top-tier leaders are crucial to the success of an organisation. Nonetheless, recruiting those upper-deck hires isn’t always easy.


Just ask Nick Ingall, The Lab17’s co-founder. He’s the first to admit how complex this task can be.

Luckily, he has a passion for hiring executive leaders–and knows how to build, develop and inspire incredible teams.


Here are Nick’s 5 tips for locating (and luring) execs who can scale, innovate and drive progress in your organisation.


1. Clearly define what leadership looks like in your organisation

Defining and assessing leadership qualities is challenging, says Nick. This means you must build practices around precisely what leadership means – and how it’s measured in your organisation.

‘Make it objective and put clear goalposts in place, so leaders know where they’re going and how to get there,’ he says. ’You’re crafting the company culture through your leadership team – and their behaviours matter.

‘I’d say 90% of organisations of ~250 people don’t have this built out,’ Nick tells us. ‘That means leading people becomes their biggest challenge – and that’s annoying because then it’s not driven by customers, products or goals.’

2. Stop inflating job titles

It’s tempting to jack up a job title. And, sure – it can be just the tonic for making a great hire, retaining employees or rewarding performance.


But it’s a short-term win, according to Nick.


’If you have a ‘VP’ level team member on LinkedIn who doesn’t look like they’ve earned that title, it lowers the bar for others considering joining your team,’ he explains.


‘There’s no industry standard for a VP, for example, so you need to define this internally,’ Nick continues. ‘This is going to boost your employer brand – and therefore your ability to hire and retain top talent.’


3. Keep reassessing your leadership expectations


If you’re already doing this, Nick says you’re ahead of most 50-500 person organisations.


But setting these clear and objective executive leadership expectations is critical for every business – significantly growing ones.


‘Every 2-3 years, scaling companies should ask themselves whether they have the right leaders in place,’ Nick explains.


‘Most organisations end up giving subjective feedback and recognition to their leadership team, which can very quickly devalue performance, engagement and culture.’


‘All these elements are based on trust – and when that’s broken, it can take a lot of time and effort to rebuild it.’


So, where do you start?


Nick says it goes back to designing, defining and measuring leadership at your organisation.


‘When you take this into leadership hiring, it makes it far easier to evaluate candidates objectively,’ he emphasises. ‘Better yet, you can provide impartial feedback to those candidates around interview success or failure.’


4. Align candidate expectations with reality


Nick believes the best leadership hires happen when companies are upfront with candidates from the start.


‘When an organisation gives leaders clarity around what’s working well and, super importantly, what’s not working well, you’ve got the best chance of success,’ he says.


‘Of course, this all begins during the recruitment phase,’ he continues. ’Companies need to be transparent about the role and their expectations so candidates know exactly what they’re getting into.


‘Once again, it’s about taking the time to clearly define an objective interview process that genuinely aligns with the position you’re recruiting for. When you do this, you’re laying the foundations for your leaders to flourish over the next 2-3 years.’


5. Consider using an embedded recruiter


Plenty of organisations happily hire using in-house resources. And if that works for you – great!


If, on the other hand, you lack the expertise or employer branding to attract executives and upper deck leaders – an embedded recruiter could be the answer.


‘A mid-level in-house recruiter with no functional leader generally churns inside 6-9 months,’ Nick comments. ’In fact, that research led us to start The Lab17.


‘An embedded recruiter like The Lab17 not only provides extra help – it’s an effective resource which levels up your TA function, person or team and gives you that strategic viewpoint as well.’

Are you considering a recruitment partner like The Lab17? Get in touch with us here.