As an executive works his or her way up the career ladder, recruitment processes change. For a junior employee, jobs are earned as a result of applications and CV submissions. For a senior executive it’s different – leadership positions are scarce and are filled in an entirely different way to the approach taken earlier in the career of an executive.
These leadership roles are not filled by recruitment agencies, nor on job boards, but by headhunters. These headhunters go out and directly approach, engage and then recruit potential candidates. They don’t rely on potential candidates coming to them.
Therefore, for an executive looking to be hired into a leadership role, being on the headhunter radar is key. How is this done? Read on.
The first thing to understand is that search firms work on behalf of the client – the hiring manager at the potential employer. As a result, they will only approach if you if they believe you might be a good fit for a specific role that they have been retained to fill. They are not interested in finding you a job.
For them to approach you, therefore, they need to find out about you. They don’t simply rely on people they already know. Instead, they’ll undertake a structured research process to map out the best talent in the sector of the hiring company.
As the first step in this, the recruiter will speak to people in the industry of the client, with the aim of sourcing recommendations. As a result, an effective way for an executive job seeker to increase her visibility is to network. Attend industry events, obviously, but also write for industry press – or even blog!
The search firm will also look online. They’ll review sites such as Linkedin, Xing (in German countries) and GatedTalent to aim to identify potential candidates with the appropriate skills and qualifications for the role.
As a result, you’ll need to be visible on these platforms. With more than 500 Million profiles on Linkedin (considerably less on other platforms!) how do you do that?
You optimize. You’ll need to build your Linkedin profile to be found for the role you seek – as the old saying goes – “dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got”.
Think about the specific skills you have that will attract hiring managers or professional recruiters. Build your profiles so that these skills are at the forefront of all your online profiles. Always aim to be keyword rich without being spammy.
Do the same on Xing and on GatedTalent.
In addition, engage on these platforms. Post content on Linkedin that is relevant to your industry. Attend GatedTalent webinars. Update your profiles regularly. Join groups. Do everything you can to be spotted.
An executive career change can take a year. For you to be hired, an appropriate opportunity needs to arise. You’ll need to be spotted. The recruiter needs to contact you, and you need to beat the top-quality competition in the interview process to become the successful candidate. As a result, my final piece advice to you is this:
What ever your current work situation, always be visible to executive recruiters, and – if you are contacted by one – always listen to what they have to say. You never know what is around the corner, and it is far easier to take advantage of new career opportunities when you are currently employed.
Good luck with your career search!