A Startup Guide To Hiring C-Suite Executives
Estrella S. Jackson

Startup companies typically begin with the chief executive officer or the CEO. During the early stages, the CEO will be taking on most of the roles to oversee finances, production, operations, technical, and other aspects of the business. However, as the company grows and expands its operations, it’ll need senior leadership team members to help drive them forward. Hence, the CEO and other startup team members are left with the task of filling critical roles in the company they created.

These roles are called C-Suite, or high-ranking executive titles within an organization. C stands for 'chief,' and these leaders hold some of the most influential and powerful roles in an enterprise. C-suite executives generally design the company's success strategy and define its mission, vision, and future goals.

As these executives make significant decisions and determine the company's course, it's crucial to select the best talents who'll also be a perfect match for the organization and the path it wants to pursue moving forward.

How should startups hire C-suite executives to meet their organizational objectives and requirements? Continue reading this article to find out.

1. Identify The First Positions To Fill

The first step you need to take in your executive hiring process is to determine the key positions that you'd like to fill first. Having these critical roles filled should allow the CEO and the team to delegate significant responsibilities and make basic movements for the improvement of the organization.
Here are some examples of C-level executive roles startups hire for:

-Chief Operations Officer (COO)
-Chief Information Officer (CIO)
-Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
-Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
-Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

In traditional business setups, the first C-suite executive hired is commonly the Chief Financial Officer or CFO. Companies in the past hire CFOs first to have someone take the reins on the company finances and manage budgets. And recent transformations in global industries made it possible for new companies to acquire CFO services for startups.

For instance, the CFO role can now be outsourced, which can help companies save time, effort, and money. If outsourcing some key management positions is possible for your organization, it can be your chance to redirect your resources to other aspects of your business, such as research and development or marketing.

2. Design An Effective Recruitment Process

Many startups typically work with a blank slate when it comes to the recruitment process. And as with any other aspect of a business, an effective recruitment process requires time, expertise, and experience to develop.

However, it’d be good to note that your recruitment process is critical in getting suitable C-suite candidates for the positions you want to be filled. This means that you'll need to create a structure for picking the right talents while, at the same time, making the hiring process less tedious for applicants.
You can start by selecting the people you want to be involved in the selection process. You can gather valuable insight from team members who'll work with you in recruiting candidates, and they can also share their expectations from the new hire.

By forming a team who can help you screen and interview candidates, you also get to create a united front that candidates can perceive, which can help make a good impression on your group.

3. Write A Stellar Job Description

Hiring C-suite executives can help put your company in a competitive position. This makes it more important for you to recruit top-notch talent to be part of your team. This is where having a promising description comes in.

A job description that has an engaging lead is a great way to attract good talents. To start, focus on writing about the role and how it affects the organization. Doing so can set the candidate's expectations before their first interview. And as a startup, you may also need to describe where the organization is in its growth journey and what the ideal candidate should be able to contribute to its development to add value and lasting impact on its function.

In addition to having a clear, direct, and detailed job description, you’ll also need a well-defined mission, positive company culture, and an excellent reputation to attract the right people. This is essential, especially since candidates now have an easier time looking into and comparing organizations across online platforms and job forums. And so, you’d want to have your best foot forward to have a higher chance of having the best talents onboard.


You'll likely come across many exciting talents throughout your recruitment process, so you must be sure of what you're looking for in a C-suite executive. A good hire will be able to demonstrate their best qualities as a professional while having a personality, character, and attitude that can inspire other team members. Finally, the best talent you can find is one that would best match the culture and values of your organization.

Estrella S. Jackson

Estrella S. Jackson is a human resource manager with over a decade of experience in executive recruitment. She conducts webinars and writes blogs, sharing here expertise with human resource practitioners and students. Estrella loves jazz dancing, pottery, and baking during her free time.