As an executive search specialist, we often work with clients to fulfil senior level roles which the business has tried and failed to recruit in-house. The reason these roles are difficult to fulfil without the help of an executive search firm is that they often require a level of confidentiality which prevents businesses approaching their competitor’s employees or other potential candidates. They also require a more considered approach to other lower level roles which can take time.
These complexities often leave businesses feeling like they can’t openly advertise or proactively target potential candidates. By working with an executive search firm, who will write the job spec around agreed objectives and requirements, and approach a target list of candidates on your behalf, you soon have a three pronged attack to your search.
If you do decide to go it alone, the job ad should be easy-to-understand. Even though you’re hiring for an executive level role, keep it simple. Avoid jargon and technical terminology. As well as attracting suitable candidates, you need to avoid attracting applications from unsuitable candidates, so keep your target market in mind as you write. The clearer the job description is, the less likely you are to attract chancers and time-wasters.
Your ad should include the following at the very least:
- Job title
- Context of role and how it will move your company forward
- Salary or salary range
- Main day-to-day duties
- Overall responsibilities
- Who the role will report to
For businesses who are looking for their next management or board level hire, here are some other important do’s and don’ts for writing a senior level job ad, using a role that we are currently recruiting as an example.
Group Logistics Operations Director - Make sure the job title includes the keywords likely to be searched on and is simple and appealing to attract views from the right people. Advertising a job with an obscure or misleading title will result in less applications.
Salary to attract the best - Often at senior level, salaries are undisclosed, but be sure to mention remuneration somewhere and in an appealing way.
Cambridge - Make the location the nearest large urban area to ensure it appears in more searches
Are you a Supply Chain Operations & Logistics leader seeking a challenging and exciting role, in a dynamic and successful global business? - Open the ad with a line to grab the job seekers attention
Our client is an exceptional business; founded over 30 years ago they have grown to become a global leader in their field. They design, engineer and manufacture innovative technology products for industrial use and are recognised for leading their market in product design, quality, reliability and service. - Include short, easy to digest sentences and paragraphs. At this level, you also need to include something about the company that sets them apart from others.
As part of the senior leadership of the customer operations team, you will be responsible for leading the development of the group logistics strategy across a global manufacturing network. Previous experience of leading outsourced logistics providers and inventory deployment will be essential to enable the development and implementation of a strategy to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the logistics services, whilst supporting the development of customer acquisition, adoption and retention. - Include some key tasks for the role but without going into too much detail. The detail can be covered at interview, remember your objective is to get as many people as possible to click ‘apply’.
A dynamic, results focussed and proactive business leader, accomplished in change and stakeholder management and a positive team player, you can point to a minimum of 10 years’ in a senior level supply chain / logistics management leadership role. It is likely you are working in a multi-national engineering and technology company fulfilling a similar role and are qualified to Masters/MBA level or equivalent by experience. - Include key must have experience only. At senior level, experience is usually more important and should definitely receive a bigger weighting in your ad.
In return you will have the opportunity to work in an excellent privately run business where you will be challenged. - Speak directly to the applicant to help them visualise themselves in the role. By using an executive search firm, it is easier to make the job ad more about the candidate and their aspirations, than the company. Also remember to use aspirational language that creates excitement.
Finally, give your ad some personality. More and more people are choosing to work for businesses with a focus on philanthropy and other ethical values, plus of course, wackier perks. If you allow employees a day off each month to pursue charitable causes, say so. If you have a monthly team brainstorm at a glamorous location or a company ping pong league, make sure to mention it.
And don’t forget to include your company profile at the end. This is a great opportunity for increased brand awareness, and if your product or service is targeted at a similar persona to those likely to be reading your ad, you could even manage to upsell your products or services.
If you’re struggling to find leadership talent when you need it most, download our FREE executive recruitment toolkit. Our toolkit distils years’ worth of executive recruitment experience and client feedback, as well as pro-tips and hiring hacks that make the process simpler, less expensive and faster.