The Executive Job Search Challenge

I was honored to join two of my fellow Career Thought LeadersWendy Enelow and Jan Melnik, on a blog radio show hosted by Deborah Shane last week. My area of specialty … reputation management. Of the many interesting questions Deborah asked me, here’s one that I consider very important. 

What common liabilities are you seeing in executive job seekers that is making it harder for them?

Since I play in the senior finance executive space, my response was from that perspective …

— Many of my clients, at least initially, express an unwillingness or reticence to embrace technology and make it work for them. For better or worse, this is the new normal. It’s a new game with new rules, and executives have to play to win.

— Finance executives tend to be numbers people rather than people people. Networking doesn’t come easily to most of them. And, Web 2.0 technology is about “social networking.” The time investment for networking can also be a huge detriment to the average CFO who is so busy working in his job that he doesn’t have time to invest in his career.

— Because they put long hours in on their job to the exclusion of working on their careers, they may not realize that financial acumen aside … the moment they leave with a big severance package in their pocket, their marketability takes a hit because they now have the black mark of unemployment on their record. Some recruiters would say these candidates are tainted. That’s a cold, harsh assessment that makes finding employment that much more difficult once an executive is UNemployed.

— And of course, competition is stiff for fewer opportunities. A clear and compelling value proposition has never been more important. Sadly, many executives can get tripped up and trapped in the responsibility conversation. Differentiation happens when they turn the conversation to what they have that a company is willing to pay to get … which is all about the candidate’s ability to solve a company’s pain/need/challenge/issue.

If you’re interested in listening to the entire show, you’ll find it here

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5 thoughts on “The Executive Job Search Challenge”

  1. Yes to all of this. Excellent post, Cindy.
    It’s definitely important to speak to what you can solve. Candidates must not forget to cover what they can prevent. Sounds like a no brainer, but I’ve noticed in my own conversations this economy has pushed some into perpetual reactionary mode. Companies are focused on solving their current problems. That is indeed where a candidate’s immediate value lies. Nudge them into thinking further into the future as well. Showing you can benefit them now and down the road is key. Give them a taste of vision they may have lost over the past few years.

  2. As usual, great points, Lisa.
    These are words of wisdom for networking conversations as well. Too many people in job search mode are in a hurry to find a job, which leads to asking for a job, which most people can’t deliver, which destroys a network … rather than focusing on uncovering a company’s needs and having an intelligent conversation about “them” and “their” issues. It’s a strategic re-positioning to subtly market yourself rather than aggressively sell yourself.

  3. Most executives like a good challenge, and I am no exception, but the executive job search process has certainly tested my resolve.Hiring an executive search firm to fill an IT executive position can fetch you a continuum of benefits.


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