Your COO isn’t working out.
You know it, but few others do.
It could be because they’re still at your organisation, or maybe they want to keep their own leaving private, or you just don’t want the rest of the team to know someone high profile will be departing before you have a replacement.
Whatever it is, hiring at this level is never easy.
And it becomes even harder when you need to keep it quiet. There can be no huge recruitment campaign going on here.
You often can’t bring in other team members (who may be more experienced in this area than you) to help.
But you still need to go through the same – if not more – vigorous recruitment processes to identify and attract the right talent.
Don’t worry though. We’ve been there.
And we’ve worked with a multitude of companies in exactly the same position. That’s why we’ve put together some of our biggest tips for confidentially hiring at executive level, helping you to get through the process as efficiently as possible.
Outsource if you need to
Confidentially hiring your next COO is a difficult process. So, if you need to, don’t be scared to outsource.
When things are confidential, this saves you spending your time trying to disguise the fact you’re hiring and dealing with admin tasks like NDAs.
Even if you don’t think you need one, consider getting a recruitment partner. Not only do they help you guarantee confidentiality, they’re also the experts and will likely save you time and get you the best possible candidates.
With their indepth knowledge of hiring, they’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where to look, stopping a “spray and pray” approach and helping keep the role under wraps.
They’ll help you map your talent
Plenty of people dive into an executive search without doing much research. When the role is confidential, this makes it doubly difficult. You can’t turn to your usual talent team to ask for advice or use their experience in your field.
The right executive search partner will have knowledge of your industry and location and be able to give you insights you wouldn’t get on your own.
If they don’t have all the knowledge you need, they should be able to carry out in-depth research on these topics on your behalf.
At Solutions Driven, we call this Talent Mapping.
We create talent maps for many clients, looking into things like demographics, salary expectations, and talent on the ground. Then we present this to clients and either allow them to use this information in their own searches, or we take the information and use it to help you hire the perfect candidate.
In executive search talent maps, we will usually do a deep dive into the capabilities of your internal staff too, if appropriate.
This gives you an idea of whether you have anyone ready to make the step up, and gives your top candidates a benchmark to work to if they’re not quite ready for the step up.
Having this research coming from a third party helps with the integration of new team members and fosters the idea of this new person coming in to support the team, rather than usurp existing, talented employees.
But how do you hire the perfect candidate if you can’t advertise the hiring company?
Again, this is something a good recruitment partner should be able to help you with.
Recruiters are experts in conveying your Employee Value Proposition, whatever the circumstances. They’re also able to pinpoint the correct candidates, and organise NDAs to keep your business’s identity quiet.
One of the best ways to get your EVP – and your confidentiality needs across to a recruitment partner – is through a thorough scoping call at the beginning of your working relationship.
It helps you articulate exactly what you want in a candidate at the beginning and set out your expectations.
And it gives you the chance to show your exec search partner exactly what your company is about and what kind of employee would fit perfectly into your company culture.
Getting exactly the right fit
Whether we think it will or not, gut feel creeps into most parts of recruitment.
In fact, only 5-10% of our decisions are taken consciously, so it’s not surprising that biases creep into hiring processes.
But when hiring for a position as important as a COO (or any position in fact), biases can be incredibly unhelpful. Rather than pick the best candidate or one with the drive to push the company forward, it’s easy to go for someone who has the same background or experience as your core employees.
Which is where a great recruitment agency comes in. While conducting your confidential COO search, they’ll also ensure that you get the best possible candidates to take on the role you need and to meet your big picture goals.
Finally. Embrace the new era
The “old” way of recruiting through contacts and a little black book, meeting for lunch, and long interviews is:
A. No longer possible with most of us working from home for the foreseeable…
B. Not very efficient...
That’s why it’s important to embrace a new way of hiring.
From hiring the best recruiters because of their experience and processes, to using video technology for interviews, and carrying out psychometric testing – new technology allows businesses to save time and money.
It also makes confidential hiring much easier.
With candidates working from home, it’s much easier for them to jump on a video interview than take a day off their current position to meet recruiters or hiring managers.
Or to sneak about to meet with you…
Not having to meet candidates or recruiters in person also makes it easier for you to keep your hiring process under wraps. And psychometric testing and candidate skill and qualities scorecarding means you get a handle on who the candidate is before making an offer.
So if you’ve found yourself in the position of confidentially hiring your next COO, be aware that it doesn’t need to be a one-man/woman job, conducted in the dark. Pull in people that can help, make a plan, stick to a process, and embrace new ways of thinking.
Your perfect hire is out there.