For Executives Only: Applying Business Techniques To Your Job Search

Authors of: 'For Executives Only: Applying Business Techniques To Your Job Search'

1.Briefly, how does an executive's job search process differ from those of others searching for a job?

The 'process' should not be different. Everyone should be following the basics including: assessing your strengths and weaknesses, determining both a long term and a short term job strategy, developing a list of target opportunities (we recommend having at least 200), developing your networking list of contacts (at least 200).One key area that is different for executives is contacting as many retained executive search firms as possible. These firms typically focus on senior level managers and executives who make over k.

2. Can you give an example of a business process that could be used in an executive's search?

One is having the executive think about how she or he prepared for the last major company presentation they did. Typically they left 'no stone unturned.' They knew their material cold, they knew everyone who was going to be at the presentation and their 'hot buttons.' They brought tons of back-up data, etc. When we are coaching executives we tell them to think about that last presentation and apply the same thoroughness when preparing for an upcoming interview.

3. In your 25 years of experience, what is the biggest change in the job searching experience?

Great question! The biggest change is the internet. It provides the job hunter an incredible wealth of information on whomever they are about to meet, great data on companies, the competition, and the latest industry trends. No excuses today on why you can't be totally on top of your game.

4. What is one speed bump that can short circuit your job search?

Only one? First, is thinking because you are an expert in your field you don't have to thoroughly prepare for interviews. Second and probably the most common is thinking that head hunters and on line job postings are the primary source of top jobs. Actually they account for less than 5% of executive placements. It is still primarily through networking that all job searches, regardless of level, find jobs. Conservatively, that number is over 60% and we have seen some surveys that show it as high as 90%.

5. If an executive is coming from a company that wasn't doing well, how does he/she overcome that issue?

There is a big difference between a company not doing well and the executive not doing well. The key is that the executive is able to talk about their impact in quantifiable terms. For example: Reduced direct costs in the last 6 months by M. In our experience this situation has seldom been an issue unless the company was involved in a major scandal like ENRON. If an executive is coming from that type of situation again they have to do everything they can to separate themselves from those issues and focus on their contributions.

6. How do you define 'team' as it applies to the 'right team' mentioned on the book cover?

We encourage our clients to look at two key 'teams.' First, the people who will be reporting to the executive and second his or her peer group (the leadership of the company). Both will be key to their success.

7. How much networking is involved in an executive job search? Does it play a more important role than other variables?

Networking at the executive level is where the majority of the focus should be. In fact a leading outplacement firm did a survey, a couple of years ago, of what percentage of their clients, who made over k a year, actually found their next job through networking and the result was 90%. So yes it plays a significantly more important role.

8. What is the first credential a prospective employer will look at when reviewing candidates' materials for an executive position?

There is no one credential everyone looks at first however there are several critical ones everyone looks at. Our top three are: the executives quantifiable accomplishments, the quality of the firms they have worked for, and the depth and breadth of their leadership roles.

9. Dress standards have changed considerably. What is the proper attire for a job interview?

We have a very practical answer. First, find out how the hiring manager dresses (and this is irrespective of the company's official dress code). They can just as often be sharper or sloppier so don't make any assumptions. Then always dress what we call, one notch above.So if they wear khaki?s or a casual blouse then you wear dress slacks/pants and a dress shirt/blouse. If you are more conservative then you can't go wrong by wearing a suit. If you find your self way over dressed take off the jacket and/or tie after you arrive. Having said that there is no reason for not asking someone what the dress code is.

10. You talk about using a traffic light technique. Without giving away all of your secrets, tell us a little about how it works.

Yes, please buy our book for the details! In a few words it is a great metaphor that Helene came up with in terms of evaluating how your career is currently working out. So if you are in 'green light' mode things are going well versus 'red light' mode where you have just been given a lousy review.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to add about the executive job search process?

Seriously consider hiring a job coach even if not one of us. Think about it. If we are able to reduce the time by just one week over what it would have taken you without us you probably more than paid for our services. In addition we also coach you through the salary negotiation process and for many of our clients this step alone has covered our cost.

Tip: Organize your Job Search.