Answer: Here is my recommendation for an alternate approach to the “normal” search. The fundamental difference is the executive in charge is the one who has the most to gain (or lose) if the search is successful (or not.)
That executive is the CCO or the CMO. (Future references will be to use CCO.) What improvements can CCOs implement?
The CCO is in the best position to decide when the hire is critical to the department and the company. Most likely the job is a direct report to the CCO. HR executes the search and reports results based on an agreed upon plan.
The hiring manager will be responsible for all strategic decision-making and will set expectations for the support needed from HR. A well-orchestrated search has the best potential to hit a “home run” in finding the strongest candidates. An excellent hire can lead to increases in productivity, creativity, new strategic thinking and, overall, add value to the company.
It is necessary to have the project management aspects of a search executed by a senior comms Director who understands the nuances of the communications field. S/he is sufficiently experienced, and by his/her involvement, candidates understand that the company takes the search seriously.
At the executive levels, it is never appropriate to expect a junior level recruiter in HR to contact potential candidates. It signals to the candidate that the hiring organization does not understand what appropriate behavior is, and that the comms role is not held in high regard.
Establishing at the get go that this approach will be implemented and clarifying the role of HR will eliminate confusion. It also can lead to metrics and a timetable to evaluate the effectiveness of the search process.