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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What is a C-Level job?

C-Level jobs are the highest positions in a company. A C-Level executive will usually have a high level of experience in setting up, running, and maintaining a business. Their decisions will usually impact their whole department and, in most cases, the whole business.

C-Level definition

C-Level executives are the highest level of authority in a company, with the C standing for “chief”. 

As with most senior and mid-senior positions, the amount of experience needed to take a C-Level position depends on the role and the company. 

The most important factors of a C-Level executive are that they have a deep, intricate understanding of general business and the industry the business is functioning in, and informed decision-making skills. Therefore, usually, over ten years of experience is needed.

C-Level vs senior-level

The difference between C-Level executives and senior-level employees is that seniors tend to have a closer relationship with the company's day-to-day activities and will actively manage their team.

A C-Level’s job, however, will involve more decision-making for the business in general. This includes long-term strategies for a range of different high-level topics such as which markets the business will operate in, when expansions will be made, and what the company's policies are.

Along with this, C-Level employees will often be less involved in smaller decisions, such as hiring entry-level employees, creating new web pages, and planning team activities. While in smaller businesses, they may be more involved and give feedback, the final decision is not usually theirs.

Moving an employee into a C-Level position

As C-Level jobs within a business are limited, choosing the right person for these positions is important. Hiring internally for these roles guarantees you will have an employee in this position who truly understands your business. 

To move an employee into a C-Level position, you can start with the following steps.

  • Have them lead the department in a senior position: This is a form of “stretch” assignment, which will test both their leadership skills and the reaction of existing employees to this move.

  • Allow them control of the department’s budget: This tests their ability to make good financial decisions for their department and the company’s long-term plans.

  • Provide mentorship from other C-Level executives: This gives the potential C-Level employee an idea of the challenges of the position, as well as an idea of how to make important decisions at this level. 

Examples of C-Level positions

Aside from a select few roles, most departments within a business can have a C-Level role to lead them. This role is, therefore, best suited to someone with a lot of experience in the department.

Examples of C-Level roles include:

 

  • Chief Executive Officer

  • Chief Operating Officer

  • Chief Information Officer

  • Chief Marketing Officer

  • Chief Financial Officer

  • Chief Security Officer

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