Superstar Executives

An interesting article by John Hollon on ERE inspired my SmartBrief for CFOs poll last week on the quality of the last hire. The results of the poll … once again … triggered more questions on my end since of those polled, only 27% indicated their last hire was a superstar while almost 50% indicated their last hire was either safe or forgettable.

So I wonder, why make a mediocre hire instead of a superstar hire when the cost of recruiting that person is the same either way. The salary of a superstar shouldn’t cost more since he should be able to save or make a company more than the cost of his salary. 

Then I saw this article posted on Newsweek this morning with a subtitle that reads … “Despite record unemployment, recruiters are desperate for top talent.” 

Perhaps that answers at least one of my questions. Ho hum hires are made because the superstars can’t be found.  Which begs the question … “why” can’t they be found?

— Top talent doesn’t exist. 

— The message of superstar executives is not compelling, isn’t resonating with its target audience, or is completely mute.

— Recruiters aren’t looking for “unemployed” executives. It’s a sad reality and I’ve blogged about this many times. The moment you walk out the door on Friday afternoon with a big fat severance package in your pocket, you also wear the black mark of unemployment. Your marketability takes a hit despite the fact that your skill set and contributions remain the same.

Are you a superstar and are recruiters finding you? If so, you’re apparently in the minority and definitely a high-value target.

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4 thoughts on “Superstar Executives”

  1. I think there is the impression that financial executives have more control over the financial health of their company than they deserve credit for. I live and work in metro-Detroit and you can’t say that every CFO let go from a shrinking or disappearing Tier 1 through Tier 4 company would have been able to keep their company afloat if they had better skills. Although just assuming that all financial executives are hidden gems is naive as well.
    What I do see is that effective networking (over your career) and actual posted results often lead to followers/recruiters who are interested in finding you something. You become a good pick regardless of your current employment status.

  2. Great questions! Here are my gut reactions. First, superstars aren’t just hired, they are nurtured. One may be a potential superstar when hired, but if a company doesn’t invest in the employee, they won’t grow. Stagnation begets mediocrity. Although superstars can overcome such hurtles, they will only do so for a short time and begin fostering a career outside the current employer. At the risk of offending those who took the poll, I think there is a major lack of leadership and they are the ones to blame.
    The other issue is timing. Just as many candidates fail to network, so do companies. Companies should always be recruiting. If you’re not, then younger caught with only having two weeks to find a candidate. You gather a dozen resumes, interview a half dozen and select the best of a mediocre pool.

  3. Excellent points, Mike. Recruiting / Searching is a two-way networking street and should be an ongoing process.
    I so agree with your comment … Stagnation begets mediocrity. It certainly does!
    As always, thanks for reading and for commenting.


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