December 12, 2016 BestCompaniesAZ

Applying Social Media Strategies to Land Executive-Level Passive Candidates

When you hear the words “executive-level professional”, several things come to mind: career-driven, motivated, intelligent, strategic thinker. These are all characteristics of a model employee in upper management and, as well, these are all definitive of someone you want working for your organization. Hard-working employees such as these aren’t necessarily looking for other positions and, therefore, are passive candidates. Similarly, when in a position of such stature, it’s probable they wouldn’t want anyone to know they are looking.

As you think about these descriptors of an executive-level professional, ask yourself what behaviors this type of person will logically exhibit during a new career search. Will they entertain referrals from colleagues? Sure. Will they talk to similar-level executives at other organizations? Probably. Will they reach out to executive placement firms? Maybe. Will they troll traditional job boards? Probably not.

Not only is it unlikely they will search job boards for open positions, it’s doubtful they would have time to check their Facebook page on a daily basis or update their Myspace profile. Simple social media recruiting efforts like those explained in the previous post, Utilizing Social Media to Source Passive Candidates, aren’t going to be as successful with the exec-level crowd. Taking all of that into consideration, when you have an opening to fill, how do you identify and connect with upper echelon executive talent?

The key to utilizing social media for connections at this level lies in identifying the proper networking sites.  Let’s walk through a few websites with reputations for executive level and business networking (as opposed media sites for the masses such as Facebook).

Monster showcases eight such sites:

1.Admin Secret: not for executives exactly, but for executive level administrative assistants – this site is part of Monster (wonder how it made this list?)
1.Perfect Business: for entrepreneurs
1.Plaxo: address book and contacts resource for businesses of all shapes and sizes
1.Ryze: general business networking
1.GoBigNetwork: for startups
1.Biznik: for entrepreneurs
1.Cofoundr: for entrepreneurs
1.Ecademy: for small business owners and entrepreneurs

A simple Google search can bring up executive-level networking sites by industry or field.  Examples such as FENG – Financial Executives Network Group, TENG – Technical Executives Network Group (recognize a theme here?), and yes, MENG – Marketing Executives Network Group all tout themselves as resources for high-level networking and collaboration (I love that last one – collaboration.  They have to find any way they can to make the description of their services stand out more – brilliant!).  Also try doing a search, whether general executive-level or within a specific industry, for the state you are in.  Many states have online networking resources expressly for those residing in certain locations.  For instance, Pennsylvania has the Business Executives Networking Group, or BENG.  If you have difficulty identifying a relevant networking site, apparently all you need to do is take the first letter of your field and add “ENG”.  Whether .org, .net or .com, you’re bound to stumble upon something.

Outside of social media efforts, finding the right places to post your position is highly important. Infamous executive and high level job boards include 6 Figure Jobs and The Ladders. Instead of utilizing banner ads or marketing techniques on generic sites like Twitter or Facebook, look to the websites of professional associations ideal executives in your industry would belong to. Seek out associations outside of the industry that executives would likely sit on the board for. Use their websites, seminars, etc. to your advantage, posting openings wherever you are able, on their careers or even home pages.

In the end, it all depends on the exact position and type of candidate you are looking for. Whatever your efforts may be, keep in mind that a diversified recruiting campaign will net a more diversified applicant pool while a specialized campaign, utilizing the suggestions listed above will result in a specialized, more specifically qualified set of talent. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you may want to try generalized tactics. However, executives like to feel elite. If you narrow your search fields, they will know you aren’t willing to entertain just any candidate off the street – and that will definitely spark their interest in working for you.