If your organization is looking to hire top senior-level marketing talent, the talent market has changed. As a marketing executive search firm, we have seen the pace of hiring at the senior level accelerate to an unprecedented speed. How fast do you need to move to hire top talent at the executive level? Think weeks, not months.

Unemployment is low AND digital has made marketing more important than ever. Add these two together, and you have demand for top talent outstripping supply. The war for talent is back on.

Our job is to find you the best person possible, which has nothing to do with whether or not the candidate is looking for a job. Most of the time, the best marketers aren’t in the job market before we reach out to them and aren’t focused on any new opportunities. Therefore, they need to create or update a resume to be included in our process. When this happens, they get curious and think, “MarketPro and Client X are interested in me and my background, what other companies might be interesting for me to reach out to?”

Now, a candidate who was not looking when we called is engaged in the market. This is a problem because if we called them, interviewed them and presented them to our client, then by definition, they are top talent.

Nothing is worse than getting to the end of the process after you’ve chosen a candidate to hire, and while you’re figuring out an offer, attempting to get them a letter and figuring out a start date, only to hear they have accepted another job.

An executive search partner should be professional and be talking to the candidate during every conversation to see if they have other opportunities to keep you up-to-date on how fast you need to move. We directly see this still being a problem – in one search, a candidate was not expecting the other company to move so fast, so they unintentionally gave bad data.

When you’re hiring top executive talent, don’t change your process. Secondly, make the time between steps in the process two or three days apart, not two or three weeks.

The competition for top-level marketing executives is incredibly high. Hiring at the executive level is a critical process, and hiring the wrong marketing leader can cause you to lose out on substantial costs and time. However, if the hiring process takes longer than four weeks from the time you’re presented with the candidate you want, the risk of losing out on such talent increases dramatically.

What to Look for in an Executive Search Partner

As experienced marketing executive recruiters, we’ve seen some organizations accelerate the speed of their interview process and as a result, they are winning. Still, too many companies are learning the hard way how a lack of urgency means they are losing out on getting the talent they need.

The other reality of this process is that your actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t matter how convincingly or often you tell a candidate you are interested in them. If your process is fundamentally slower than the other companies they are interviewing with then, in reality, you are less interested in the candidate.

A slow interview process is a sign that your organization isn’t interested in hiring top talent.

marketing executive search marketing executive recruiters

We are in a candidates’ market, where top marketers have more power in leveraging different job opportunities than organizations have in their options for A-level talent. Needless to say, time is incredibly valuable when looking for a marketing leader with the right skills who can drive topline growth and fit in culturally to drive meaningful changes.

To go through an exhaustive search and bring you top talent for your specific needs will take your executive search partner five to six weeks – moving any faster means you’ll have missed candidates and anything slower is unnecessary unless your search has some very unique challenges. From there you have two, maybe three weeks to get to an offer letter.

You should conduct the first round of interviews with the candidates you think are the right fit within a week. The top candidates then need to be brought back for a second round of interviews within another one week. Once you identify the person you want to hire, you must have an offer letter in their hands within a week of that second interview, preferably handing them an offer letter as they walk out of the second interview.

Your internal hiring team should be prepared to move quickly when great candidates are discovered. If you identify a candidate that’s the right fit for the role, don’t prolong starting the interview process or introducing them into your organization.

Simply put, it should take you two to three weeks to identify the candidate you like, interview them twice, and work with your recruitment firm to check references and finalize an offer letter. If you can move through the interview process in two weeks, you increase your chances of landing the candidate you want even further.

A-Level Talent Doesn’t Come Easy

You’re probably not working with marketing executive recruiters to help you find talent that’s easy to identify and attract. The top 10% of marketers have options and are likely happily employed with companies who want to keep them on their teams. The scarcity of A-level talent makes the speed at which you move along your interview process extremely critical.

Our work as a marketing executive search firm lies in helping our clients find the best talent. Now that the once passive candidates are in the job market, you’re competing for them against other great offers, so you must proceed at an urgent pace. If the interview process is taking too long, great candidates are going to start lacking enthusiasm for the job, causing you to miss out on top-tier talent.

Your internal hiring team should be in constant communication with your marketing executive search firm. A successful executive search requires a commitment to urgency and transparent communication and feedback with your recruitment agency. Close collaboration between the two sides will determine the quality of talent you place in the role.

Closing Words

The pace organizations were able to move at during the hiring process at the executive level two or three years ago is not fast enough today. Navigating the process of hiring a marketing executive is demanding, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Working with an experienced marketing executive search firm gives you the support you need in identifying, attracting and hiring A-level marketing candidates like never before.