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The Three Rs of Executive-Level Recruiting

As an experienced business professional, you are aware of the high cost of recruiting and retaining employees—particularly your senior-level employees. Strong leadership can make or break a company, and as your organization grows, the responsibilities can become too heavy for your shoulders alone, leaving you in the market for a senior-level employee to help you successfully run your business. Being able to share responsibilities with an experienced, knowledgeable, executive-level employee could be the key to your company’s growth and expansion, making executive-level recruiting vital to your business.

You want to be strategic and methodical about your executive-level hiring decisions. After all, hiring the wrong person can be an expense your business may not be able to afford. There are not only monetary costs associated with hiring the wrong person, but non-measurable costs such as time spent recruiting and training, and any negative effect the wrong person may have on your staff and customers. Those expenses increase the higher up in an organization the executive is, making executive-level recruiting even more important. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the cost of a bad hire could cost up to five times their annual salary.

A common phrase that you've likely heard is “you have to spend money to make money.” That statement may be true in many business cases, but before you start throwing money at that CEO or CFO candidate that you’re trying to recruit like they’re Lebron James, consider the three R’s of effective key-level employee recruiting.


Recruiting talented leadership in today’s business environment can be a challenge. Before you begin your recruiting venture, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for in the right candidate and have a thorough understanding of your expectations. Knowing what you’re looking for will narrow the search and explaining to the short list of candidates what you expect and require could help further weed out any candidates that don’t feel they are the right fit for the job.

Speaking of right fit, remember to take into account your business’ culture. Even if a candidate has an Ivy League degree and decades of experience, they still could be a bad fit for your company if they can’t adapt to your business’ culture or don’t interact well with the rest of your staff.  Remember, your goal is to hire the right candidate for your business.


In order to compete in the executive-level playing field, you’ll have to reward your recruits with a competitive salary and an attractive benefits package. For leadership positions of this caliber, it is beneficial to craft a dynamic, tactical benefits package. Consider offering non-cash benefits to reward your recruits:

  • Profit Sharing Plans

  • Disability Insurance

  • Deferred-Compensation Plans

  • Competitive Life Insurance Plans

Ultimately, your executive-level benefits package should revolve around your business objectives and goals for the future of your company.


Once you've found the ideal candidate, retaining them is the next and, more importantly, ongoing step in employee-employer bliss. Employee retention is vital to an organization, and as we discussed earlier, replacing a key employee is very expensive.

According to The Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards by WorldatWork, the primary reason for a key employee quitting is an opportunity to earn more pay elsewhere. Salary is obviously a key component in executive-level recruiting, but retention activities such as bonuses, incentives, and profit-sharing rewards, are essential in retaining executive-level employees.    

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out.” The path to recruiting, rewarding, and retaining the best executive for your business can be long and rocky, but when you find the right person, the value they bring to your organization will make it well worth the investment.

Click here to recruit and retain top executive talent

Related Categories

Recruiting & Employee Retention

Dan Balogh

Dan Balogh joined SWBC in 2007 as part of the SWBC Executive Benefits team. He is a chartered life underwriter and an executive benefits expert, who brings more than 30 years of insurance and financial services experience to the company. Dan works with business owners in the areas of deferred compensation, estate planning, and salary continuation. He also works extensively with financial institutions providing non-qualified, deferred compensation benefits and succession planning.

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