How to Prepare for an Executive Job Search

Written by EO Executives on Nov 22, 2018


How to Prepare for an Executive Job Search

With more businesses competing for top talent to solve their biggest organisational challenges, and with unemployment at an all-time low of 4% (Office for National Statistics), there has never been a better time for C-Suite Executives to search for a new role.

However, though the demand for Executives is strong, businesses are being more selective with the individuals they choose to on-board. With new movements such has Artificial Intelligence, GDPR and the challenges of Brexit, boardroom agendas are focused on finding experts who can help drive businesses forward by provide specialist skill sets at both a commercial and analytical level. 

Additionally, with new business challenges emerging daily, experts need to be both risk-adverse and forward thinking to drive innovation and success.

So, if you are a Senior Executive looking for a new challenge, what can you do to prepare yourself for your new job search?

  1. Reach Out to a Trusted Adviser

Whether you are looking for a permanent Executive or Interim position, one of the core stages of a search should be to get in touch with other senior executives and a headhunter. The aim of this should be to understand the current job market and any new trends which are emerging within your industry. Speaking to peers or a specialist head-hunter will also provide you with the opportunity to gain new knowledge on exactly what it is businesses are demanding from experts.

Having several conversations with other industry experts such as; Managing Directors, Chief Executive Officers and other decision makers will also challenge you to think about what you can bring to the table. What skills, knowledge and key competencies do you have that businesses could benefit from- and what is it that makes you an ‘expert’? Ask your network to challenge you on this and provide feedback, as these are all factors you will need to demonstrate to differentiate yourself from the competition.

  1. Know Yourself

When presenting yourself to Hiring Managers you will need to demonstrate confidence, trust and expertise in what you do. You will need to demonstrate that you know yourself, along with the values that drive and guide your discussions about what you want to achieve in your next role.

At EO Executives our process ensures that candidates are matched to an organisation based on key behaviours and cultural fit as well as CV. This is crucial for ensuring you are working with an organisation that you truly align with; for the organisation it is about having employees that understand their goals. 

So, be clear on who you are, why you do things and why this conversation (interview) fits into your agenda. Be conscious that during the interview process clients will want to gain insights about your expertise and your behavioural profile. So, in a world of continuous improvement, although the interview remains critical, businesses are leveraging on multi-media platforms to gain insights into candidates. Therefore, you should be prepared to go through psychometric profiling, skills testing and video interviewing.

Our advice is to ensure you dedicate time to demonstrating your expertise, whilst providing a true reflection of yourself.

  1. Consider External Factors Before Choosing Your Next Opportunity

Your career forms a massive part of your life and therefore it is important to consider any factor that could have an impact on the success of both your professional and personal life. You need to really consider these external factors and where the line is on what you are willing to compromise on, especially for a role that involves a relocation or even a longer commute (meaning more time way from home and an extra travel expense). Try to have these conversations early on to ensure your executive job search is an easy process to navigate.

  1. Ensure Your Profile is in Order

There are several key materials you need to ensure are in order before you go to market. First you need to ensure your CV is fully optimised and demonstrates your personal brand, key competencies and proven track record of success (click here for more tips on writing a stand out Senior Executive CV).  

Most, if not all businesses and head-hunters will check out potential candidates on LinkedIn before they are even considered for the hiring process. Like your CV, you need to ensure your LinkedIn profile is optimised with relevant content and keywords that will ensure you can be found in search engines. 

Remember your CV and LinkedIn profile are a key representation of your personal brand. So, be sure to dedicate time into getting them up-to-date. After all, you should want these documents to be truly representative of both yourself as an expert and the value you can provide to your industry.

More details on establishing an Executive LinkedIn profile can be found here

  1. Be Proactive

When you are ready to go-to-market you need to be proactive in your job search and not just rely on head-hunters or businesses to contact you. 

Do your research into the key players in your industry and what the job market is currently like. You may initially think to contact the big players, but there are also some great SME’s and Mid-Size organisations that you could gain great value from in your next role.

You should also do your research around the people and culture of these businesses. Before you apply directly for roles ensure you complete due-diligence. At EO Executives we advise our candidates to “choose the right leader” and in many cases choosing the right leader can be more important than choosing the right business.

  1. Exit with Integrity

Exiting is one of the most important stages of your executive job search, and how you decide to do so could have a huge impact later down the line.

Even if you are leaving your current business due to a misalignment between your employer, always ensure you exit with integrity and professionalism. If possible, try to ensure you have a succession plan in place, providing a good handover for your team to use once you depart. And if you wanted to safeguard your relationship with your current employer, why not provide some added value before you leave? You could go the extra mile and introduce someone in your network who has the potential to be your next successor.

What next?

By now you should have some key takeaways on how to go-to market for your next role.

  1. Leverage on your network for advice.
  2. Know yourself, goals and values.
  3. Consider external factors and know what you are willing to compromising for your next role.
  4. Ensure all marketing documents are representative of your expertise and personal brand.
  5. Be proactive in your search.
  6. Exit with integrity and well maintained professional relationships.

What would your advice be when searching for a key role? Or what would you find beneficial to know when next going to market? Let us know be leaving a comment below. In the meantime, if you are looking for your next executive role, please click here for our latest C-Suite job briefs.

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