Successful Executive Job Hunting Strategies
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Consider interim executive jobs if unable to secure permanent roles (flexibility is a good option for employers, especially in uncertain economic times).
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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. See related article tips for finding exec jobs for additional advice.