A quick guide to hiring senior managers

Hiring senior staff can be an expensive and disruptive process for your business. We give you the top tips on how to make it as smooth as possible...

Hiring senior staff can be an expensive and disruptive process and will have you questioning your own skills, assessing your strengths and weaknesses.

You want to hire people who can complement your skills, not duplicate them. Your senior staff team needs to have people management skills, an understanding of how the business’ finance works and excellent time management and organisation.

Where to start

If you handle senior staff recruitment in-house and already have people in mind for your senior management team it’s essential to check out their track records and consider how well they will contribute to your business’ long-term objectives. Consult with your advisers and peers. Look within your organisation – are there any promising employees you can groom for your senior staff team? Many growing businesses are now turning to executive search agencies, known more commonly as headhunters, when it comes to hiring senior management. They will often network and use their own internal database to find suitable candidates. If you go down this route, ensure the agency takes the time to visit your business and has experience and knowledge of your sector.

Next steps

Prepare a job specification before commencing your recruitment. If this is a replacement post don’t just use the old job description. Critically review it first – your priorities usually change over time and as your business grows. Consider whether an interim manager would best fit your requirements – this means appointing a senior-level professional to work for a limited period of time, often on specific projects.

The costs

Recruitment agencies typically charge a commission of between 20% to 30% of a manager’s starting salary. You may also find you have to pay an initial fee to cover preparation of the brief and advertising services, which can be up to £1,500.

It goes without saying that salary is a major attraction for senior staff posts, but there are other benefits you can offer. Consider share options, which will be a good incentive for performance. Shares will also help tie senior management into your business for longer.

Top tips

Consider hiring your senior management part-time – you may not be able to afford to pay them full-time, but chances are you will need people to fill the post part-time. This will also give you the opportunity to see how they fit in with, and contribute to your business. Always check references and backgrounds before making a decision


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