Executive Searches Are Easier With Tight Control

For businesses of all industries and sizes, there are few needs as challenging as finding and hiring executives. Even during economic downturns, well-qualified C-suite and VP-level candidates are hard to recruit, and the competition can be cutthroat. For HackerRank co-founder and CEO Vivek Ravisankar, his decade leading the skills assessment startup has provided invaluable insight into the practice of recruiting executives. He is familiar with what he calls the “six months of hell”: the process of tracking down, interviewing, and closing deals with top-class executive talent.

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But with his experience, Ravisankar has learned that the key to the process is heavy control. His reliable framework includes assessing a company’s risks and the skills needed to properly navigate them — “must-have” abilities. He recommends that leaders differentiate between these and merely acceptable skills, especially in a tight talent market.

Although he retains ultimate control, he also uses highly specialized recruiters, even as he balks at their high rates. Expert recruiters from specific fields tend to attract more candidates than Ravisankar himself, he says. The CEO recommends giving prospects a VIP experience, while also providing them with real problems to consider to ensure they can solve practical issues under real-world pressure.