How Has C-Suite Recruiting Changed as a Result of the Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic facilitated a sea change in the way C-suite executives operated. Often being forced to work remotely and rely on technology more than ever, the C-suite had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.
Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be receding the recruitment and hiring of new C-suite executives is likely to pick up steam. In this new world though, the hiring process is likely to look different than it did just a few years ago. Here’s what you need to know:
C-Suite Recruiting in a Post-Pandemic World
The C-suite recruitment process changed during the pandemic. Some of those changes are likely to stick around permanently. The hybrid model of recruiting came about as a result of travel restrictions imposed for safety reasons. Before the pandemic, most job interviews were conducted in person.
During the worst of the pandemic, however, interviews migrated to a remote format out of necessity. Instead of traveling, interviews were conducted over the internet using software such as Zoom. In fact, in many cases the entire hiring process was conducted remotely. That will not be the new normal, but certain insights were gained including the money that could be saved on travel and hotel costs.
Flying in candidates to company headquarters to conduct round after round of interviews may well become a thing of the past. Now, companies are more likely to conduct their first round of interviews remotely. This means that early cuts can be made in the hiring process and less candidates need to travel for in person interviews in the second round and beyond.
Exactly what firms are looking for in C-suite candidates has changed, too. Increasingly, companies are not looking for a generalist who can perform many tasks well. Instead, they are looking for specialists that perform specific functions at a very high level. Certain specialties are in demand right now. A problem that was increasing even before the pandemic, cybersecurity, became a huge issue over the last couple of years.
Unfortunately, hackers who were quarantining themselves used the extra time to hone their skills. Cybersecurity breaches caused trouble for firms during the pandemic, and many businesses found themselves unprepared for the deluge of attacks. Cybersecurity is now a priority for companies looking to protect themselves in the future, and this is being looked at as an issue that needs C-suite level attention.
New Emphasis on Skills Both Old and New
Among other skills most sought after right now are the ability to lead smaller teams effectively — and remotely, if necessary. The pandemic forced many larger firms to split their workforce into small teams. In the hybrid workplace now developing, with a combination of in office and work from home situations, leadership on the small team level has taken on greater importance.
Building and maintaining a company culture is now seen as a major positive for C-suite executives. Studies have consistently shown that younger workers place significant value on a company’s culture. Often, it ranks higher than pay and benefits. Executives that specialize in culture development and maintenance are now highly valued.
Another important skill is the ability to adapt quickly under stressful situations. This last skill was vital during the worst of the pandemic, so companies will be looking at candidates’ pandemic performance very closely. Those who were able to effectively navigate the continually difficult times of the last couple of years will be highly sought after to lead in the future.
One of the most important skills of any leader is effective communication. The pandemic revealed the need for written communication skills specifically. Emails and notices became more abundant than before. As a result, the ability to clearly and concisely convey important points rose to prominence. Expressing the proper tone and making everyone feel included through the written word will continue to be crucial to an executive’s success in the new hybrid workplace.
Data and analytics are becoming prevalent in the corporate world. Using data to make decisions, rather than relying on instincts, is seen as a plus right now. Executives who are proficient using data analysis to create contingency plans for a variety of possible scenarios will be in more demand than ever before.
Related to this area is technological expertise. The pandemic showed how our society has become so reliant on technology in everyday life. This is true in the business world, as well. A strong working knowledge of technology and emerging trends in that field is going to be highly sought after by firms looking to hire C-suite officers. The future of the C-suite looks more and more to be intertwined with technology and analytics.