Your retail company needs an effective executive team to be successful. It is important to have senior leaders, so they can implement your brand’s vision. Without leadership, your employees will lack guidance, morale, and motivation. If you have not filled your C-suite yet, don’t stress. I am going to help you navigate the recruiting process for your C-suite.
What exactly is the C-suite? The C-suite, also known as C-level, refers to the highest-ranking executives in an organization. Typically these job titles begin with a “C”. There are many types of C-level positions that fashion businesses look to fill. For example, some roles include the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).
The hiring process for top executive positions is not the same as recruiting for lower level roles. Candidates for junior roles will be actively looking for new jobs and you can easily find them on job boards, which is not always the case when you are searching for your C-suite. In addition, you will want to find the best fit for your brand, since senior-level executives will have a lot of power in your organization. Therefore, you have to maximize your candidate pool.
In this article, I will share with you 8 strategies for hiring C-suite executives for your retail company:
- Identify Your Ideal Candidate
- Research the Market
- Find Ways to Involve Everyone
- Look Internally
- Leverage Your Professional Network
- Partner with a Recruiting Firm
- Check References and Referrals
- Prepare for the Transition
1. Identify Your Ideal Candidate
Before starting your search, identify your ideal candidate. Create expectations for your C-level positions and determine how you will measure success in these roles. You will want a person who has the experience and leadership skills to accomplish your fashion company’s goals and plan for the future.
You need to remember that C-suite executives come with increased costs. They may expect shares of your brand and a separate office. As a result, think about what value a candidate can add to your business. For example, they might raise revenue and implement new ideas or more efficient systems.
2. Research the Market
The next strategy is to research the market. Consider your retail brand’s size and scale when looking for C-level leaders. You should use fashion industry terms to collect data and keep track of the latest recruiting trends. Join professional groups and associations, so that you can gain a full understanding of the market and have access to experts who you may want to hire. Then you will need to form a list of potential candidates to contact.
If you want to post about your open senior-level positions on job boards, make sure to write an accurate description. It is better to be honest with possible applicants about the role and clearly communicate the values of your business. I also recommend not using a generic template for your job advertisement.
There is a great deal of competition for top talent. The highest-ranking executives have a lot of options for where they would like to work and can be very selective. As a result, your fashion company has to stand out. Offering better benefits or unique perks might be an effective way to attract potential hires. Your company culture is pivotal to them too. Possible candidates will want to see that your employees enjoy their tasks and working with each other at your retail business.
3. Find Ways to Involve Everyone
Now you must find ways to involve everyone in the hiring process. If you have too many people on the recruiting team, it can take longer to choose a candidate and become confusing when there are a lot of different opinions. Not every employee will get a direct say in selecting a candidate, but they will still feel included if you listen to their thoughts. It is important to have a collaborative recruiting process where you update everyone regularly.
You should collect feedback from your employees about what your retail company is doing well, the challenges facing your brand, and what is needed from a C-level executive to fulfill essential business goals. Ask for their input about responsibilities for your C-suite. Their opinions will not only help you choose the best candidate, but also strengthen your company culture.
4. Look Internally
Another strategy to use when hiring your C-suite is to look internally and consider promoting your existing workforce. If a few of your employees have been performing outstandingly and you believe they would be successful in C-level roles, you should offer them your open positions. Your fashion brand will save a lot of time and resources by filling top executive roles internally, instead of searching for external applicants.
Furthermore, recruiting internally for higher-level positions improves loyalty. Your employees will be motivated to do their best if they know there is opportunity for growth at your retail business. Plus these individuals will already understand your company’s policies and vision, so less training is needed. Therefore, they will be able to take action more quickly and improve your business.
5. Leverage Your Professional Network
When you are searching for C-suite executives to hire, leverage your professional network. Reaching out to peers you personally know in the fashion industry is a great way to find prospects for your brand’s C-level roles. You should also utilize social media platforms to look for potential candidates. For instance, LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool that allows you to connect with retail experts all over the world.
Keep in mind most high-ranking executives are already employed at other organizations. As a result, you will have to recruit passive candidates, since they are not actively searching for a new position. Don’t be afraid to approach senior leaders. Many are open to hearing about career development opportunities. You should let these candidates know why they should be interested in your role and how it specifically benefits them.
6. Partner with a Recruiting Firm
You can hire C-level executives for your retail company by partnering with a recruiting firm as well. You do not have to solely rely on yourself and your team to find the best fit for your role. You have other responsibilities to worry about and recruiting firms can be of significant help to your brand because they will make the search for your ideal candidate their priority. They have years of experience bringing top executives to organizations and know exactly where to look. And, they will save you so much time by providing you with candidates who are already screened and truly qualified.
Some firms might even specialize in the fashion industry. Then they can connect you with executive talent relevant to your business that you probably would not have been able to approach by yourself. Although the fees may be expensive, you should not rule out partnering with a recruiting firm because it can be worth it.
7. Check References and Referrals
Checking references and referrals is a crucial part of the recruiting process. There is a difference between references and referrals. References are the individuals who confirm the claims a candidate has made on their resume and wait for your retail brand to call them. Meanwhile, referrals are the people who go out of their way to reach out to businesses on your behalf for open positions.
Don’t rush into making a decision. There is no need to hire a senior executive right away, so you should take your time and make sure you have no concerns about a possible candidate. You should feel comfortable with who you decide to recruit for your business. You want to trust that your C-suite executives will represent your fashion brand accurately and positively.
If you do not put in the effort to learn everything about your potential candidate, your company may suffer. Some individuals embellish the achievements on their resume. Therefore, you must speak to those who have interacted with your potential candidate in a professional work environment. They will give you a better idea about the experience level, accomplishments, and personality of the candidate.
8. Prepare for the Transition
Finally, after offering candidates your C-suite positions, you need to prepare for the transition. Providing your new C-level executives with mentors is necessary. Either you can act as a mentor or have another senior leader on your team do so. Mentors should be there to offer strategic guidance to your new hires.
In addition, schedule check-ins, so that your C-suite has a chance to ask any questions and you can ensure they are getting settled into their new roles. Give them time to get used to the technology you utilize at your fashion company and their daily responsibilities. You should incorporate learning and development into their onboarding too.
Another way to get ready for the transition of your C-level leaders is to introduce them to all of your employees. You will want these executives to start forming relationships at your retail business. Set up coffee chats or go out to lunch with everyone on your team in order to help your new hires feel more comfortable.
Today we covered how to hire C-suite executives for your retail company. We looked at 8 strategies to build an effective executive team. First, identify your ideal candidate. Determine your expectations for C-level leaders, your measurements of success, and the value these executives can add to your fashion brand. The second strategy is to research the market. You should consider your business operations, analyze data and trends, and join groups for professionals in the retail industry. Remember to be transparent in your job description and figure out ways to stand out from your competition as well.
Third, find ways to involve everyone in the recruiting process. Make sure to listen to all of your employees’ opinions, update them frequently, and collect feedback regarding your fashion company and goals for your C-suite. The fourth strategy is to look internally. Consider promoting remarkable employees, so that you can save time and resources, while improving loyalty and your overall business.
Fifth, leverage your professional network. You should contact your peers in the fashion industry, utilize social media platforms, and approach passive candidates. If you do not have the time to search for C-level executives on your own, the sixth strategy is to partner with a recruiting firm. A recruiting firm, especially one that specializes in the retail industry, has experience filling C-suite positions and will make it their priority to help your brand.
Seventh, check references and referrals. Take your time during the hiring process and speak to business professionals who have worked with your potential candidates. Then you will trust a candidate more and not be as concerned when you are making a decision about who to give power to in your retail company. The eighth and last strategy is to prepare for the transition. Provide your new C-suite executives with mentors, schedule check-ins, give them time to get acclimated, and create opportunities for them to get to know the rest of your team better.