Want To Land The Corner Office?
Five Questions to Ask Before Embarking on an Executive Job Search
MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 26, 2014 -- To reach the top rungs of the corporate ladder, be prepared to use different strategies than those that brought success earlier in your career. Companies looking for leaders want to make sure they find the right person and, as a result, they will pull out all the stops to ensure the right fit. They also rely more on internal networks when finding strong candidates.
"At the executive level, there are fewer job opportunities and there's more at stake for the companies doing the hiring, which means that contenders for these positions can expect a longer, more involved process," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. "Networking isn't just a supplemental job-hunting tactic at this point -- it's the primary tactic. It's all about reputation and who you know."
Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis, highlights five questions executive candidates should address before beginning their search:
- How visible are you? Establish yourself as an expert. Write articles for trade publications and blogs, take a leadership post with a professional association or nonprofit, and participate in online discussions, webinars and podcasts in your field. All of these options will get you noticed by people who can influence your career success.
- How solid is your network? The strength of your network could make or break your search, since most leadership hires result from referrals and connections, not postings or applications. Make sure you build your circle to include people at all levels across many fields -- not just your industry peers. Add recruiters if they are not already part of your network.
- What are your geographical boundaries? You'll have more options if you are open to relocation. Before you begin your search, determine how willing you are to move and for what type of opportunity.
- What's your leadership and communication style? Firms expect accounting and finance leaders, for example, to be more involved with other functions, like operations and human resources. Firms also rely on executives to be visible with internal and external audiences, making the need for exceptional communication skills paramount. Be prepared to discuss your track record in collaborating with other teams, and show your ability to write, speak and present to various audiences.
- What's your timeline? Leadership roles take longer to fill, so prepare for a longer process. While you may be the right technical fit for many positions, know that organizations place a premium on cultural fit. If you have recently left a full-time role, consider consulting work to maintain your network, skills and income.
In addition to addressing these questions, McDonald noted the importance of having trusted mentors to support you during your search. "Mentors are not just for people new to the workforce -- they are instrumental to senior professionals as they consider their next move. Great advisors can counsel you based on the challenges they faced when navigating their own careers."
About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to hiring managers and consultants at roberthalfmr.com and on its blog at blog.roberthalfmr.com.