Why searching for a Senior Executive requires a different approach

Finding a group treasurer requires different expertise, actions and mindset than finding a junior treasury analyst. When I started with Treasurer Search in 2009 I decided to offer a “cradle-to-grave approach”. Since then we found hundreds of candidates. I just presented a 72-year-old, the youngest we presented I can think of was 22. In the geographical markets for permanent employment we work in, this translated in base salary levels from €35K at the lower end up to over €300K at the higher end.

Treasurer Search specializing in Treasury Positions

With a team of five consultants, we have the expertise to specialize in various subsets of the labor market, including executive positions in treasury. We understand that at the senior level, expertise is given and the emphasis shifts to seeing beyond treasury, having a vision, implementing a strategy, and having a real impact Based upon my track record I raised my finger for the executive positions in treasury. That does not mean I will stop covering other assignments but I have taken the responsibility for maintaining our expertise in this part of the market. So what is different and what is required to be successful? Being comprehensive will be hard, I can describe what is most noticeable. Generalisation is of course unavoidable.

When we, based upon seniority, segment the market in three: junior, medior and senior, we see different expectations from employers. In the junior segment, our clients expect theoretical knowledge and ambition to learn. In the medior segment, clients want applicable expertise & skills, and ownership for treasury content-driven processes and projects. At senior level, expertise is considered a given and the emphasis shifts to seeing beyond treasury, having a vision, implement a strategy and have a real impact.

Translating this input into treasury recruitment has implications for several, tasks. The intake meeting needs to be broader in order to cover everything that is relevant. The specifications of the ideal candidate will be more extensive. So when screening the hard facts in the background of a candidate, more diverse aspects should be measured. The one who screens should know about these.


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Challenges in Senior-Level Recruitment

When entering the market with a new opportunity, my experience is that when applying the communication tools commonly used at junior and medior level, like online advertising, social media and newsletters, the response is fine from a quantitative perspective. However, in the senior segment of the market, many potential candidates will not see this communication and respond. So more active direct search is necessary. Applying this recruitment tool has, by the way, become more common in the medior and junior market segment in recent years.

As requirements are different in senior assignments, aspects in the interview are often different. Especially learning how strongly connected the candidate is with the business and also, for example, how he/she copes with company politics and increased pressure, deserves attention. Other screening instruments like (onlinee) assessments, reference checks and presenting business cases are essentially the same but in detail executed differently.

My experience is that the whole process, on average, takes longer. Schedules are not as easily freed up, more screening sessions are planned and labour contracts cover more remuneration components. As an example, most candidates leave a big job behind so claim a golden parachute that is not accepted directly by the future employee. Our role in negotiations, as a consequence, is often bigger than in the recruitment of juniors.

For me and my colleagues, all assignments are equally important. When you are a client and trust us to do a proper search, we should do so. Regardless the seniority of the searched candidate. And for you, treasury job seeker, after house and relation decisions, the ones about work are one of the most important life decisions there are. So give us a call when the time is right and me specifically when you are active in the senior part of the treasury labour market. We will be there.

Pieter de Kiewit

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