I have spent the last several years working in executive recruitment and executive search for placing leading talent for Municipal Governments, Towns, Cities and the Broader Public Sector. As a result, my experiences and expertise within the executive recruitment landscape have taught me a few things that often are missed or overlooked when making an executive level hire for your Municipality. Here are a few things to consider when embarking on an executive level hire for finding transformational leadership.

Embracing Emotional Safety in Executive Recruitment

In the world of executive recruitment, particularly at the leadership level, emotional safety is incredibly important. When a top level executive entertains the idea of making a career change, more than just their career is on the line. It is critical to build a relationship with a candidate centered on trust so they feel safe divulging personal and private details around compensation, feedback, and any current frustrations in their existing role. When a candidate is working directly within a Municipality for the executive search process, a Candidate will often withhold sensitive information from them as they can be seen as a direct competitor in some cases, additionally a Candidate needs to protect their reputation even after a major career shift or change to preserve relationships with other leaders, direct reports, vendors and more. As an external third party executive recruiter and trusted advisor it is much easier for candidates to be open and honest about their experiences, and reservations when they feel they have the emotional safety to do so.

Unlocking Hidden Talent: The Power of Passive Candidates

One of the key challenges when hiring executive level leadership for your Municipality is the ability to unearth passive or hidden talent. This includes senior leaders and executives that may be a great fit for the role, but are not actively seeking new opportunities. These candidates often value discretion and confidentiality and appreciate the role of an executive search firm in safeguarding their privacy in the recruitment process. Passive or hidden talent is incredibly difficult to persuade and get buy-in from, without having a previously established relationship. Most Municipalities will make the mistake of taking on an executive level search on their own and directly approach these senior executives. This results in a candidate sometimes ignoring the opportunity which can start the recruitment process off on the wrong foot. More often than not when working directly with an organization and not an executive recruiter, a candidate may not trust or have some preconceived assumptions about the process that it could be an internal hire. This may limit what they share without the emotional safety and confidentiality built into an existing or established relationship.

Navigating Negotiations with Finesse

In addition to facilitating connections between candidates and organizations, part of the executive search process and serving as a mediator in negotiation processes, a task that both sides find daunting. When navigating sensitive discussions, it’s my responsibility as an executive recruiter to ensure that both parties are satisfied, fostering a foundation of mutual respect and understanding from the outset. This means that the candidate feels they are being compensated fairly for the value they bring to the role and the organization can justify the ROI on this individual leader.

Capturing The Power and Reach of Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for outreach and engagement when recruiting an executive level leader. When we partner with Municipalities and Public Sector organizations, we strategically use social media platforms not only to amplify awareness for an opportunity, but showcase and market the unique attributes of the community itself alongside the role. We have found that using social media in this way resonates well with candidates, generating interest and a wider pipeline of talent. Candidates contact us frequently after seeing our posts on social media.

In conclusion, the benefit an executive recruiter and an executive search firm can offer a Municipality as well as leadership talent in the community is built off of mutual respect and trusted advice. Whether you are a municipality seeking top-tier leadership talent or an individual candidate exploring new career horizons, our role as a trusted advisor is paramount in guiding you through every step of the hiring journey.

Kartik Kumar is a Partner at Legacy Executive Search Partners

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