Your company is growing, and you feel like it’s time to invest in hiring for the C-suite. Maybe your revenue has hit the point where you need a CIO to dive in and control the numbers, or maybe you’re looking for an executive experienced in rapid business growth to help take the reins.

But, despite the rush of excitement, this is also a time to be careful. The wrong choice in a C-level executive can cost your business more than just the invested salary and benefits. Proceed cautiously when hiring for the C-Suite.

How is a C-Suite Hire Different?

Hiring for a C-suite role means you’ll be pulling from an entirely distinct pool of candidates in comparison to other roles. First of all, these top-talent employees are probably not unemployed, even if they’re open to new opportunities. This means you won’t be running across their resume on job portals, and you’ll need to partner with an experienced recruiter in order to find and start a conversation with them.

Just posting the job on your website simply won’t get you the candidates you need.

Remember, this is a person who is going to guide your business to the next level, which means you’ll have to hire differently than ever before. When you’ve hired a new customer service representative or even a department head in the past, your business might have slowed down from a mistake they made, but it didn’t die. With C-level employees, the stakes (and the salary) are much higher.

Where to Find C-Level Candidates

Before getting in touch with an experienced recruiter, do some homework on the perfect person for the job. Customize a job posting to fit your company needs, and develop an executive persona of the candidate who would best fit with company culture.

Next, start networking. You can even ask your current department heads if they worked with any executives who know the industry and might be interested in a new opportunity.

Once you have a clear idea of the person you’re looking for, your recruiter can get to work pulling candidates from his or her network of contacts and reaching out to the best matches.

What to Look for When Hiring for the C-Suite

Surprisingly, the resume will not be your top resource for identifying the right executive talent. Almost everyone you’ll meet at this level should have an impressive resume with a litany of accomplishments. When hiring for the C-Suite, just looking good on paper isn’t enough. Ideally, you’ll be choosing someone based on his or her problem-solving skills, team building ability, and personality.


This executive needs to be a trusted advisor as your business grows, so choosing someone with whom you and your team collaborate well is key. Your executives should also be seeking out the hard work in a business in order to take action, instead of slowing down growth when things get difficult.

One of the most important characteristics for any C-Suite position is strategic thinking and foresight. Leaders need to be comfortable with change and “at ease with constant flux” if you’re expecting them to make big changes in your company.


While this step is sometimes overlooked when hiring non-executive positions, the biggest feature to look for in leadership candidates is how they worked with others and their management style. These references can tell that story, so it’s imperative that you reach out to individuals who have worked alongside your top candidates in the past.

Previous experience

When looking for your next C-Suite candidate, don’t get too excited by experience at famous companies. Success at those companies doesn’t always look the same as success at your company. Look for executives that have taken companies like yours and turned them into the company you want to be.

Above all, your next C-Suite hire needs to share your vision for your business and have the experience to accomplish that vision.

Time to Hire

ADAPTURE Talent Managers help you identify the key traits you need in your next executive hire. With the majority of top talent already employed (and typically not looking), you need a way to reach both the active and passive candidates you’re searching for. ADAPTURE Talent Managers connect you with our large talent network to help you find the expertise and leadership your organization needs.