What are the differences in hiring practices when shifting focus from entry-level to senior-level marketing professionals?

While it’s easier to build an entry-level pool of candidates through ad­vertising, job postings and external referrals, it becomes more difficult to find qualified candidates at the senior level using those tools. What you want to seek out is the passive candidate — the star performers who work for your competition and are not actively in the job market. Attracting such a candi­date is done through networks and relationships.

While employee referral programs help, it’s who you know and how well your employees maintain key relationships that ramp up the opportunity to snag a superstar. And don’t forget, the passive candidate will take longer to hire than a non-passive one. Enticing a candidate to take that leap of faith and join your com­pany requires a savvy approach. Stakes are higher for the candidate to transition in at a senior-level position. They need to build new internal networks, quickly demonstrate successes and so on.

The final difference is in the integration process. Entry-level candidates usu­ally come in with well-defined expectations and quickly learn the basic company norms. It is the senior level candidate’s integration that determines how fast they gain credibility, establish leadership and understand how to successfully navigate the social systems for influence. It’s important that you establish opportunities for them to build relationships, both internal and external, and share with them what success looks and feels like.

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