How to find the right people for high-level positions

Stephan Breitfeld
Stephan Breitfeld

High-level recruiting can be quite challenging, to say the least, and is therefore a very important part of a company’s development. The people you’re searching for there will not only play a very important role in your company, they also need to be a lasting fit for their position. And since you’re fishing in a very exclusive pond in high-level recruiting, candidates are often either constantly approached or at least quite picky with their career opportunities. So you need the right strategy to attract their attention.

What (really) matters to you?

Of course you need to know what you’re looking for and most of the times you do. But besides putting it into a clear job description and pattern of expectation, you need to know within your company, within HR and between you and an external recruiter what really matters to you. Get various perspectives in before you make up your mind. Often one of the pain points is experience vs. potential. That’s not something you really put into a job description. It’s one of the things you need to know for yourself (-selves). Who are the people behind your job description? Would you favor someone who maybe doesn’t fulfill all requirements in terms of experience but seems to be a high-potential that you can train these aspects with? How can you assess the things that really matter? You need to have these questions mapped out.

Understand your recruitment level

Be sure to know exactly, and that also means realistically, what level the person you’re looking for is on. Don’t shoot too high if you don’t need to, that gives you more freedom and opportunities in terms of budget and investment. But if you can offer something in particular, like a unusual amount of independence and room for vision and change, or a extraordinary flexibility and corporate culture, you might even get someone who might step down a bit. People in executive positions don’t look for jobs like other people. It’s quite likely they aren’t really looking for a job at all. You very likely have to get deep into the passive job market and find the people in other, not job-search-related environments. Do you have your hands in there? Do you know how to target and network your way there? Do you know the right “headhunters” that can help you get there? Will the right individuals be approached in a way that you can rely on and that will leverage the potential to make them seriously consider a move? And what does your offer look like from the outside?

Don’t underestimate the process!

Last but definitely not least you have to get the organizational part in order. When do you plan to close the application? When and how do you want to interview? What’s your interview and evaluation process and how long does that take? (Don’t forget how lengthy discussions around compensation and benefits can become!) What’s your budget and who’s taking care of the communication process? Do you want to use external recruiting and if so, who’s at the top of their game in your industry? Define the role of your external recruiter and get informed about how you will be working together. All these factors need to be assessed and roughly scheduled as well as budgeted BEFORE you can find your high-level match.


By Stephan Breitfeld, Partner Life Sciences – ingeniam
Tel.:+49 (0) 69 / 959091989
Mobil: +49 (0) 172 / 6685350

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