Best Job Hunting Strategies for Executives UK

Exec jobs are difficult to find at the best of times, though there are certain behaviours, attitudes and methods for ensuring efforts succeed overall. We consider Top Tips for Finding Exec Jobs by outlining main areas to focus on that could make a difference in the forthcoming year. Very often, simple adjustments, broadening the scope of job hunting activities and remaining proactive can help achieve successful outcomes. With this in mind, we have developed a checklist below to help in finding exec jobs.

Help Finding Exec Jobs

SWOT Analysis: Evaluating the current situation often forms the basis of a successful job hunting strategy. It is important to assess existing strategies, address problems and find ways of improving effectiveness. A personal SWOT analysis can be used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to the individual and how they interact with the wider employment market. It is also massively important to identify key success factors, main drivers and core competencies that could make a difference and benefit prospective employers.

Planning Ahead: Strategic planning is a critical element for the long-term success of organisations, though often executives forget to apply this principle for themselves as job hunting strategies are sometimes flawed, lack direction or completely unstructured. The idea is to provide a useful framework for achieving long-term goals, which involves identifying ideal target roles, defining objectives and setting priorities. Having a clear plan, strategic direction and a long-term career vision can help focus the mind, improve motivation and target efforts more effectively for finding exec jobs.

Broadening Scope: Our experience shows that executives often lack a balanced approach for securing exec jobs by narrowing down alternatives too much. Most effective ways of finding exec jobs often involve several techniques, including applying directly to advertised vacancies, networking existing contacts, extending networks, using LinkedIn, job boards, attending events, email alerts and building relationships with executive headhunters. Broadening activities can often increase chances of being selected for interview. There are some useful executive search resources and external executive job boards which advertise opportunities out there, though choose carefully as they can vary enormously.

Preparation and Research: Effective preparation can help executives to differentiate themselves from other candidates when targeting exec jobs. Company chief executives are now required to produce an effective CV showcasing expertise, experience and track records, whereas previously this was overlooked as many jobs were secured through networking. It is also important to research vacancies, match job requirements, take time to prepare for interviews, research company information, refine interview techniques, define an effective executive salary negotiation strategy and have a set of relevant questions to ask at interview.

Executive Interview Skills: CVs should create talking points for interviewers to engage and ask questions about. It is expected that executives would have prepared examples and evidence of suitability to back-up achievements, strategic decisions and areas of expertise. Also, with the high profile nature of many appointments, expect some tough interview questions investigating motivations, decision-making rationale and influences on the wider organisation. Be wary of competency-based questions (Behavioural Interview Questions) and expect an extended interview process. Prepare good questions to ask and initial selection processes could involve a telephone interview.

Strong Competition: Expect intense competition for jobs at the very highest level, especially if roles are being advertised nationally or executive headhunters have been enlisted to find best candidates for exec jobs. Candidates must offer something different such as in terms of proven track record, industry knowledge, specialist knowledge or specific skills, so defining unique selling points and demonstrating value added elements can help influence recruitment decisions. Also, with many jobs not being advertised, it is crucial to target the hidden job market by networking extensively, using existing contacts and building relationships with executive headhunters.

Remaining Proactive: Any successful job hunting strategy relies on effective preparation, execution and staying proactive. Finding exec jobs requires resilience and following through on leads. Executive headhunters may assist in developing opportunities for candidates, but it is massively important to build a relationship by meeting the headhunter to understand requirements, expectations, target companies and the types of roles being considered against. Executive headhunters tend to work (push) harder for candidates if having met, plus they will remember candidates when discussing potential vacancies within their own recruitment networks.

Continuous Improvement: Gaining feedback and evaluating performance is critical for adjusting any job hunting strategy. Slight adjustments can make all the difference, especially when shortlisted for opportunities. Common sense applies to most situations, so adjustments are likely to be small such as controlling body language, refining examples used at interview or tweaking initial sales pitch. Also, experience of adapting to different situations will help candidates achieve successful outcomes.

Finding Exec Jobs: Conclusion

Maximising chances of Finding Exec Jobs relies on an integrated approach, effective planning, preparation and execution. Expectations have risen, so attention to detail, communication, immaculate presentation, professionalism and people engagement skills are critical success factors, especially for high profile roles. Employers need to be sure they have the right person for each role, so it is important to go the extra mile to impress and to demonstrate clear credentials to succeed. Finding exec jobs will also require persistence, resilience and patience, especially as it is an extremely tough jobs market at the moment.

Finding executive jobs can be difficult, yet there are many approaches and executive job hunting strategies that can be used. Our observations reveal that executives often narrow down options by concentrating on one or two techniques rather than broadening scope to maximise opportunities in complex job markets. Best executive job hunting strategies include a balance of approaches, whilst remaining proactive and following through on potential leads.

Adopting an integrated approach should increase chances as this ensures no stone is left unturned, though it is still important to plan ahead by setting objectives, specifying target roles and identifying target companies to focus executive job hunting strategies within a preferred industry sector(s). It is all about striking a balance and being fully aware of the alternatives. We have included advice on defining executive job hunting strategies.

Good Executive Job Hunting Strategies

  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis to assess the current situation to form the basis of any effective strategy by evaluating core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – the idea is to identify key drivers and core competencies for targeting specific roles.
    Develop an integrated strategy by planning ahead, defining objectives, setting priorities and using different job hunting techniques. Targeted approaches often yield better results, so it is best to establish a plan rather than having an unstructured, ad hoc and ‘scatter-gun’ approach.
  2. Effective research, preparation and planning all help provide an important framework. It is recommended the CV is worked upon, is up-to-date and well-presented. Preparing for interviews is a necessity, particularly on how to structure answers and respond to some challenging interview questions. Also, define a salary negotiation strategy and benchmark similar roles. It is all about making an impression, whilst building momentum in job search activities.
  3. Resilience and Focus: Executives tend to be resilient in character, though it can sometimes by can very disheartening at times. Always remain focused, continue to be proactive and stay calm. Being distracted by other things can undermine effectiveness and any momentum gained.
  4. Consider interim executive jobs if unable to secure permanent roles (flexibility is a good option for employers, especially in uncertain economic times).
  5. Continually refine interview skills by reviewing likely questions, practising skills, preparing good answers and asking relevant questions. Also, be prepared for initial screening interviews (telephone interviews) and an extended candidate selection process involving interviews and different assessment methods, especially if going for high profile roles.
  6. Think Tactically: Executive job hunting strategies have traditionally focused on networking contacts and using the hidden job market. It is still true that up to 70% of vacancies are never advertised, so make sure contacts are networked and check out the ‘executive grapevine’.
  7. Network, network and network – overall, this technique can be very productive and it is an obvious expectation for operating at the very highest level. LinkedIn is quite a proactive tool if used effectively to extend networks and establish a worthwhile online presence.
  8. Making simple adjustments can help enormously by continually reviewing performance and evaluating any constructive feedback. Choosing good executive headhunters often provides a wealth of opportunities and essential feedback, though this often relies on building a strong relationship and the candidate being highly marketable (i.e. headhunters will focus attention on those candidates with potential to earn them a commission).
  9. Differentiation Strategy: Executives often have a long track record of achievement, specialist knowledge and expert skills that are demanded by employers, so there are opportunities to differentiate oneself from the competition. Making themselves stand out and offering something different to employers is key, so think about what can make the difference at the very highest level.
  10. Think like a sales person in terms of developing potential leads, researching companies, clarifying leads and making contact. It is important to follow-up on leads, track progress, maintain contacts, network openly and target key decision-makers within organisations (avoid going through HR departments by targeting board members or senior directors).

Executive Job Hunting Strategies: Conclusion

We have identified what we believe to be important advice for Executive Job Hunting Strategies. Every executive is likely to receive different advice, listen to other executives and try various approaches, though there are some fundamental activities. For instance, much more is being done via LinkedIn by creating a good online presence (it is now an expectation), extending networks and following special interest groups. LinkedIn can put people in contact with some influential contacts.

It is also reasonably expected that executives are ‘highly networked’ with other key decision-makers in organisations, so it can be easier to influence someone operating at the same level and benefit from extended networks. Executive headhunters may also play a major role for some, whilst using traditional routes of applying directly to advertised vacancies can be the most competitive route so it is important to consider the alternatives and target the hidden job market. There are lots of things to consider for executive job hunting strategies and it is a combined approach using different job seeking methods that is likely to pay dividends.

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