Techniques to Find The Right Candidate, And How The Techniques Are Changing

The hiring landscape is changing.  The tools and techniques to recruit successful candidates need close and frequent examination.  With the unemployment rate at 4.0% in May 2018, employers need to be more competitive in their processes and procedures to recruit and maintain great hires. 

As software and social media provide an increasing amount of tools to use in the recruiting process, the disconnect between employers and potential candidates also increases.  Internet-based tools can narrow down search results based on actuarial methods, but those tools cannot assess cultural fit, which is critical for a new hires long-term tenure.

Transparency, trust and disclosure are vital to counterbalance the impersonal nature of internet-based search and communications.  

The 2018 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Survey, conducted between August 14 and September 9 of 2017, includes responses from nearly 6,000 human resource professionals and states that “84% of respondents have found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume and/or job application – that’s up dramatically since 2012, when 66% reported finding fabrications.”  

Many companies use an applicant tracking system to sort incoming resumes.  With the average executive job posting getting several hundred applicants, the tracking system is programmed to select the resumes that best match their specific requirements.  Many candidates are now keen to this search process and exaggerate their qualifications.

While employers cannot control how candidates represent themselves, they can control how they invest in their executive recruitment process.  Data shows planned investment in improving the candidate experience increased from 35% in 2017 to 37% in 2018, showing a positive shift in how employers assess the importance of this process.

“The work required to effectively craft and execute a company strategy is extraordinarily difficult. It’s no surprise that many try to oversimplify it, or dilute it to match whatever level of competence they have. But if organizations actually invested in preparing executives for the real requirements of these roles, we would see failure rates decline and companies more consistently adapt and thrive.”   – Ron Carucci, Harvard Business Review

There are many ways to prepare executives for the real requirements of their role, including the interview process, assessing cultural fit and the onboarding process detailed below.  

The Interview Process

Trust, disclosure and transparency are key. Objectives for the role should be well-defined and realistic, based on historical corporate performance.

A systematic interview process will reduce personal bias and any attempts to control the outcome on the employer’s part.  

Cultural Fit

Data indicates that employees with a positive cultural fit have superior job performance, show greater job satisfaction, and as a result are more likely to remain with the organization.

Cultural fit is often misunderstood as a procedural element that can lead to discrimination against candidates and a lack of diversity.  The values and attributes that make up an organizational culture and its staff can and should be reflected in a collaborative and diverse team.  


Research suggests that new executive hires need about 120 days to adjust to social and performance aspects of their position. Cultivating role clarity, social integration, knowledge and fit with a new executive will help them confidently navigate the culture and their place within it.  Defining the culture in the interview and facilitating it in the onboarding process leads to higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment and performance levels coupled with lower turnover, and stress.

Responsibility of the Employer

Employers often want to find a candidate that can excel in too many areas.  Better planning and expanded communication can help everyone involved focus on core competencies and goals.

Technology has aided in shifting expectations and attitudes towards faster results and a lower investment of time and finances.  However, the opposite is needed to measure a candidate’s fit to the organization’s culture, values and goals

The quality of the candidate found by an executive recruitment firm will reflect the quality of the recruitment process.  At Executives Unlimited, Inc. we have been committed to responsibility, integrity and leadership in helping our clients with their strategic executive workforce planning.  For information about our services, call us at (866) 957-4466 or contact us online today.




  1. Bureau of Labour Statistics – California
  2. HireRight – 2018 Employment Screening Benchmark Report  (download report here)
  3. Harvard Business Review – Executives Fail to Execute Strategy Because They’re Too Internally Focused
  4. Zappos Case Study – Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2010). Organizational Behavior. Nyack, NY: Flat World Knowledge