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What 25 Years of Executive Recruiting Has Taught Us

Our 25th anniversary celebrations continue!  As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, we have created a list of 25 bullet points representing some of the lessons we have learned and observations we have made over the years.

Last month, we shared the first 10 in our list. Here is the next instalment of “What 25 years of executive recruiting has taught us.” [See also our September post:]

We hope you enjoy the list and find it helpful.

11.  Take the time to look at the results of your talent acquisition sources and processes. Not all methods are equal. Knowing your best methods will help the entire organization.

12.  Interview questions should be designed to collect evidence of ability to perform.

13.  Benefits to working with a boutique search firm include that they generally limit commitments in order to devote substantial time to each search. This investment in the search itself makes a difference.

14.  Hot topic: flexibility. The topic of flexibility will be with us for a while. Many employees are seeking an individual path toward work/life integration.

15.  For some clients, working remotely is acceptable and part of the work culture. For others, this is not able to be the case and not negotiable. Start the conversation early with your candidates on this critical issue.  This is now the number one candidate question. 

16.  If a candidate will need to relocate for a position, make sure that the candidate has discussed relocation with anyone/everyone that will be impacted by the decision (spouse/partner, children, etc.). It’s best that they do this earlier rather than later in the recruiting process.

17.  Employee engagement and retention: The current active job market means employers will likely need to refocus efforts in this area once again, as well as reassess their strategies. Tactics may take on different forms, but the goal of each needs to be the facilitation of dialogue—ongoing dialogue. Keep talking, keep asking, keep letting people know that they are valued and appreciated.

18.  Studies show that micromanaging good people is one of the leading causes of turnover.

19.  Strive every day to make the List. [The List is the (local) Business Journals’ “Best Places to Work.”] Common attributes of the “Best Places to Work”: good communication; recognize good work; company perks; positive culture; professional development opportunities; community service opportunities.

20.  Make all first impressions count!  Each candidate and each hiring organization has the opportunity to make multiple first impressions.  For the candidate, it can be an e-mail, LinkedIn message or phone call (likely leaving a voicemail). For the organization, it can be how they respond (an auto-reply versus a personalized message), a voicemail left for the candidate, the ease of scheduling a meeting if that is the desired outcome, and how the candidate is treated during interviews.

For Job Seekers and Candidates

21.  We promise our candidates that we will do everything possible to keep their names private.  We work closely with our clients to help assure names are kept confidential and that there is no ‘off the record’ reference checking.

22.  Executives in transition (as well as those not in transition): Be visible in your profession and industry (so we can find you).

23.  Our clients want to know what a candidate has accomplished, not what they were responsible for.  The difference can be monumental.

24.  We keep our candidates informed, deliver specifications and answer questions to help them prepare well.  We respect our candidates’ time: The interviews we engage in are specific to the competencies and critical success factors for each opportunity we present.

25.  Considerations for job seekers and candidates:  

  • Professional Development: What have you done recently to stay up-to-date in your field?
  • Cross Functional Knowledge: How do you demonstrate that you, as a functional leader in your organization, truly understand your business at the enterprise level?
  • Strategy and Tactics: Functional leaders or people in the C-Suite need to think strategically; they also need to be comfortable getting into the tactical level when needed (and it is often needed in small to medium businesses/organizations).