Have you ever thought about the fact that an executive search firm is actually an extension of your own business brand? Yes, that’s correct! The reputation of your search professional does indeed reflect on your corporate brand. How we do our job, our approach and our professionalism all serves to reinforce your brand image whenever candidates are approached and presented with your opportunity.
Legacy Bowes Group Articles
Technology is a wonderful tool. For instance, today, almost every person has some sort of technology gimmick in their right hand while organizations, businesses and/or not for profits have their own websites and landing pages. They also often have a Facebook page where news and events are regularly posted in order to keep clients and/or customers up to date.
Are you frustrated with your recruitment results? Have you had a rash of unqualified applicants and/or a candidate turn down your salary? When was the last time you conducted in-depth reference checking inclusive of educational credentials, personal credit, and/or driver’s convictions? And what about your interview team….are they using best practice interview strategies that are legally compliance with provincial legislation? Do you even know what legislation protects your potential candidates? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it is time to conduct an in-depth audit of your recruitment and selection process.
Have you ever experienced a time when your selection committee had difficulty getting past a certain bias they were experiencing in their decision making? It certainly makes for interesting discussion. Part of the challenge is that we are all graduates of our personal experience which we then internalize and establish emotional views of how life should unfold. These so called “assumptions” are very difficult to remove and so we are challenged to move forward.
It has often been said that in today’s world, the only job security you have is your skill-set. While I agree with that statement, I also tell my executive candidates that job security also means keeping their professional network alive and well. That’s because the network is an information pipeline, it’s how people build relationships outside of work. It keeps you in touch with what is going on in a variety of industry sectors. It’s a clear route to competitive intelligence where you can learn about new opportunities.
One high profile incident regarding candidate recruitment and selection has popped up on our radar lately. More specifically, an internet technology specialist and newly nominated election candidate was forced to bow out of the campaign because of his less-than-desirable profile on the internet. Although several years old, his words continue to suggest a hatred for women and they have definitely come back to haunt him. Like lightning, he was struck down instantly. His future political job opportunity is now gone forever.
One of the key success factors that I pay attention to when conducting an executive search is that of corporate culture. Why? Because without cultural fit, your new candidate will ultimately fail. In fact, studies show that a senior executive who does not fit well with the organization culture will typically leave on their own and/or be transitioned out within eighteen months. As you can expect, this departure will come with a cost, anywhere between three and five time’s salary.
It is now well known that executive search consultants aren’t the only ones using the internet to do their searching and online assessment strategies. Job search candidates are using the internet too.
As an executive search professional, one of the key high profile concerns in the current US Presidential election is the issue of personal character. While I lament the unfortunate focus on distributing disparaging remarks about each candidates’ character, I have to admit that character is indeed an essential component of a successful leader. What do I mean by character?
As an executive search professional, I am always looking to meet young up-and-coming professionals who are seeking that top job. Many only see the fame and fortune they think will accompany the promotion rather than the hard work that goes with it.
Senior executive jobs are much more stressful. For instance, you will now have a governance board of some kind which means you are now like a symphony conductor facilitating a wide variety of ideas and shaping them into a collaborative goal. You will need to be very strategic with a focus on both short and long term planning because now your drive for results must include the entire company.
A senior executive must have excellent communication skills so that their communication is always timely as well as clear. They need to be good listeners, encouraging staff input and being open to hearing new ideas. They need to be good face to face communicators as well as having strengths in the written word.
Communication is a relationship building tool and good executives use this skill to develop extensive industry specific networks. They take external leadership roles in professional associations and they volunteer in community activities, all to become a known entity, market their organization and to be fully aware of everything that is going on around them.
Senior executives need to have a strong sense of political acuity in order to evaluate, understand and collaborate with the different political agendas that will be at play as decisions are being made. Political acuity is all about judgment; understanding and effectively dealing with both internal organizational issues as well as external trends. It’s about the know-how as well as one’s timing in approaching and dealing with issues.
Financial management at the most senior level is complex and a senior executive must be highly tuned to the financial levels within their organization and how to continually balance these to ensure profitability. This means ensuring the highest level of financial analysis capabilities to identify trends and monitor productivity. It also means hiring the most capable people and being able to translate financial issues into understandable terms for general staff and board representatives.
Good senior executives also inspire and motivate people, they build relationships throughout the organization. They are able to mobilize everyone behind a common goal and thrive in a participative and collaborative leadership style. That old fashioned, “do as you are told”, just doesn’t work anymore.
Yet, there is no way around it, balancing the role of a senior executive with professional obligations and family responsibilities is difficult and challenging. They work longer hours and have the pressure of success for the entire organization on their shoulders.
Energetic and ambitious young professionals need to ask themselves if they really want this challenge and lifestyle. They need to recognize that “climbing the ladder” isn’t the only path to success. There are many elements that make up a great work experience and individuals need to find this out before they step on the first rung of the executive career ladder.
Take time to really do a self-assessment not only about your skills and experiences but what kind of lifestyle you want. What type of balance do you want between work and home? Do you want to be your children’s sports coach or will you be happy to attend the occasional game? If there is anything that senior executives say they would do again, is to spend more time with their kids.
If you decide that being at the top of the career ladder isn’t for you, that’s great because there are many projects and new assignments at work that you can take on. Sometimes volunteer leadership will help to fill a gap. Continuing with your education for intellectual stimulation is another good choice.
But whatever choice you make, know that your decision is the right one for you. Once you make the right choice, you will find your pride, self confidence and self-esteem will confirm you are at the right place at the right time and doing the right things.