According to a  2013 Management Research Group survey, when executives were asked to select the leadership behaviors that were most critical to their organization’s future success, 97% of the time they chose being strategic. It’s easy to understand why. Leaders and those in executive positions have to be able to strategize in order to maximize their organization’s success. A an ideal executive plays the board with the next five moves already mapped out. Unfortunately, ones’ ability to strategize is a bit harder to test than just a general aptitude evaluation.

Let’s take a look at some time-tested methods to make sure you are picking the best possible candidate for an executive position.

Screening Strategies

The Resume

Looking at resumes is one of the oldest methods of determining if someone is the right fit for a position. They aren’t the most effective ways of gauging skill, but there is still useful information that can be gleaned from candidate CVs.

Length – Ideally, the CV should be 1-2 pages long, with the most relevant information about the candidate. If the resume is any longer than that, it indicates a candidate may be indecisive or unable to be concise. A good candidate for an executive position knows, strategically, what to include and what to cut out.

Organization – If the resume is a mess, what hope is there for the candidate to be organized anywhere else?

Language – Resumes are meant to be brief and to the point. Make sure you choose a candidate who can succinctly convey the necessary information to you  

Passive Candidate Recruitment

In today’s market, the best candidates won’t be coming to you, it’ll be your job to come to them. Given how competitive the field is, chances are that much of the top talent already have executive positions with other companies. To combat this, many recruiters are tapping into passive candidates to fill future vacancies. The philosophy behind this technique is to actively communicate with qualified potential candidates in your industry who may be interested in switching companies down the road. While a drawback of this is that you aren’t likely to see a quick turnaround, a benefit is that you are tapping talent with a proven track record of success in an executive position.

There is an inherent risk to this approach, but a high reward. Luckily, platforms like an ATS can help you keep track of these passive candidates so you can strike when the time is right.

Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are essential for any serious recruitment strategy plan in the modern workforce. An ATS gives recruiters access to a broad array of candidate information that can be utilized at every stage of the recruitment process.

Your ATS should act should sit at the center of your recruitment strategy and talent management methods. By funneling all applicant data through an ATS, recruiters are able to not only quickly push candidates through the funnel, but also pull insights from previous recruitment campaigns to guide future ones.

Data-driven recruitment

As companies increasingly adopt different Applicant Tracking Systems to help the efficiency of their hiring pipelines, data-driven recruitment will help eliminate human bias and error as well as create new strategies for finding and screening candidates. These platforms allow recruiters to manage candidate data securely, ad platforms, screening practices, onboarding and talent management all at once.

One such data-driven platform is Loxo. Loxo is an ATS that utilizes advanced machine learning to not only compile data on potential candidates but analyze and filter it as well. With Loxo you will be able to track candidates both passive and active through the recruiting process, and consistently choose the best candidates for the job with less hassle than ever before.

Dynamic Interviewing

Beyond the compiling and analysis of data, one of the most effective ways to screen a potential candidate for an executive position is in the interview. The interview is, presumably, your first formal face-to-face with a candidate, and is an opportunity for you to gauge what he or she will be like in a leadership position. Ask a candidate to list their capabilities from most to least important, and you can get an understanding of how important they think strategic capabilities are as well as other qualities you believe to be essential to an executive role. Ask them to list a few ideal or dream projects they’d like to work on in the future. Present them with an open-ended problem scenario, give them a few minutes to consider it, and then see how they’d respond. Feel free to break away from the standard interview script. The more you can engage a candidate’s critical thinking, the better you’ll be able to gauge their qualifications.

Final Thoughts: Strategies for Screening Executive Candidates

Executive positions can make or break a company, and so it is important that you are getting the best possible candidates for the job. By adding in these techniques and platforms to your recruitment process, you can ensure your best odds in finding the right person for the job.