Should the CEO be Involved in Hiring?

Joe Weinlick
Posted by in Career Advice

If improving the talent pool is a top priority for executives, why aren't CEOs more involved in recruitment? Managing resources is a constant concern, so most CEOs spring into action to close deals or assess expenses and sales issues. Yet, it's common for executives to set hiring goals without performing a top-down evaluation of the company's talent needs. Working alongside talent leaders is crucial if CEOs want to build stronger organizations and overcome talent shortages.

CEOs have to play an active role in the company's recruitment strategy to reel in top talent, says Aman Brar, CEO of text-based interviewing platform Canvas. Executives toss around ideas for how to find and engage top talent, but they often focus on external sources as the problem and the solution. Company leaders look to third parties, such as colleges, recruitment sites and agencies, to navigate their broken hiring methods while simultaneously blaming these institutions for failing to produce a strong talent pool.

CEOs rarely take time to look closely at the candidate experience and see what's going wrong in the recruitment process, Brar points out. To add to the problem, HR professionals aren't empowered to make the changes a company truly needs to transform recruiting. CEOs who want to attract a quality talent pool should be willing to rethink key aspects of their recruitment strategy, including:

1. Employer Brand

Employers tend to blame candidates for a poor talent pool, instead of looking for red flags in the company's reputation. Job candidates can easily find information about company leadership and culture, and they steer clear of employers who don't value workers.

Smart CEOs should take a lead role in building an attractive employer brand. Responding to online reviews, creating recruitment portals and streamlining the interview process are a few ways employers can make companies more appealing to top candidates. Aim to improve the recruitment stages where candidates are most likely to lose interest. For example, innovations such as text-based interviewing can help employers stay in touch with candidates and perform more personalized screening.

2. Employment Criteria

Employers are increasingly demanding four-year degrees for jobs that don't require them. A Harvard Business School study found that degree inflation is largely linked to two factors. Modern employers believe that paying higher salaries for "job-ready" graduates is more cost-effective than training employees. The problem is employers mistakenly equate college education with a candidate's proficiency in hard and soft skills.

True job-readiness is a myth. Whether new or experienced, employees need time, support and training to reach their full potential in a new job and environment. Ask yourself whether your company is stressing the wrong criteria in job postings. Talk to current employees to find out what skills are most important for incoming candidates now and in the future. That way, HR teams can develop an effective onboarding process and nurture a talent pool that fits the company's realistic needs.

While CEOs already have a demanding job, playing a bigger role in hiring is the best way to strengthen revenue and resource management in the long run. A waning talent pool is a sign that company leaders are out of touch with the recruitment process. Keep talent leaders involved at the executive level and beyond, and make sure they have the insight and authority to drive change in recruiting.

Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at


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