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6 Key Considerations For Your Executive Job Search

Chris Chandler

30 October 2017

by Chris Chandler

( Words)

La Fosse Associates was delighted to host ‘Mind-Flip,' a boutique event which brought C-suite executives together with one of the UK's leading career experts, Zena Everett, alongside the Heads of the La Fosse Search and Interim Practices and senior consultancy teams.

The event was designed to provide guidance on the complexities of job-seeking as a c-suite executive. The atmosphere was highly interactive, with participants encouraged to ask questions and introduce topics of discussion. In addition to Zena's presentation on the current job market, several valuable insights were also provided by the Heads of the Technology and Search Practices respectively; Henry Draper and Chris Chandler.

Zena's philosophy of 'Mind-Flipping' was the focal point of the evening. She explained that in order to succeed in today's rapidly evolving job-market, you have to flip your focus away from yourself and instead look outwards – on to the value you add and the problems you, uniquely, can solve for other people.

So whether you're actively looking for your next role, or just want to brush up on a key skill for the future, here are 6 key takeaways from the night:

1. Stop looking for jobs, and look for problems.

Hiring teams don't want a 'dynamic team player' – they want someone who will solve a problem for them. However, organisations don't want to express weakness by advertising that they have problems. Build a picture of an organisation by researching all the available information and, if you can, speak to an ex-employee. Work out what unique skill you have which will cut costs, improve efficiency or otherwise provide value.

Be ready to provide case studies to illustrate your capabilities, the value you will add and your relevance. People think in terms of pictures rather than words; if you can provide a proof in the form of a narrative, it will stick in people's minds.

2. Don't get derailed by vagueness; base your CV on proof and metrics.

Make sure you are direct in asking for the job you want and maintain a consistent brand across your CV and LinkedIn profile; Henry Draper highlighted that many recruiters will interview against a LinkedIn profile rather than a CV.
Use hard evidence, not hyperbole; prove that you are capable of solving the problem with statistics, comparisons, achievements against target, testimonials, customer feedback and reference quotes.

Bear in mind that when recruiters examine a CV, their key focus will not be on the personal statement section, instead they look at the last role you occupied.

3. Make sure your last role appears relevant to the one you are applying for.

This is particularly important if you are looking to change sector. Find something about your last role which is relevant to the new one – whether this is the matrix of management in which you were operating, a skill you utilized, or a client or customer base you came into contact with.

Chris Chandler observed that, when recruiting for tech roles, he values candidates who have displayed a problem-solving capability, though this may be in a different sector from the role being placed.
If moving from a SME, where your role may have encompassed many titles, to a larger organisation, ensure that you emphasise the relevant responsibilities. If making the opposite move, express that you have the skillset to be more 'entrepreneurial' in your new role.

4. Have your career trajectory clearly explained.

Explain why you want the job and why you're interested in it. Dropping down a level or accepting a lower salary without explanation has the potential to make employers nervous, as you might leave the role as soon as you're offered something higher. Articulate your interest in the role and provide a clear explanation and employers will understand.

You can turn a change of roles on your CV into a source of strength if it is clearly accounted for - Chris Chandler suggested that when candidates have made a significant internal move, it indicates an adaptive skillset and can signify the individual being primed as a successor.

5. Be the someone that someone knows.

The executive job-market is largely underground: it has been suggested that up to 50% of executive roles are confidential and therefore not able to be advertised. Nurture your network; identify old mentors or individuals who have a vested interest in your job-search. Look at the LinkedIn accounts of your friends, and ask for introductions to their relevant connections.

People generally describe others in a single sentence; articulate a clear message about yourself which can be passed through people. Recruiters respect connections, and someone who is known to an existing employee is more likely to be hired even if they don't have the perfect skillset, as they are perceived to be of lower risk for culture fit.

6. Invest time in meeting recruiters face to face.

Give them a reason to put you forward: they have access to the 'underground job-market'. A social meeting registers you as an easy culture fit, the importance of which shouldn't be underestimated.

Always avoid speaking negatively about previous roles, and invest time in speaking to Researchers as well as Senior Consultants; they will have access to the whole spectrum of roles and will be eager to build their own network.

Treating people well is a founding principle at La Fosse Associates. Not only do we think it’s fundamentally the right thing to do, our success depends on our candidates. So we aim to do all we can in helping you find your next role, whether through us – or not. We do a number of things, from providing feedback on every application we receive, to bespoke events throughout the year to help you with your wider job search.

In the meantime, register your profile on our website to be kept up-to-date with all our latest roles, or speak with the relevant member of our team to learn how we can help in your search.

If you are interested in learning more about how Zena could add value to your job search, visit her website, contact her directly, or call her on +44 (203) 3287 9505.

Finally, you can buy Zena's book, Mind Flip, using code LAFOSSE15 at checkout for 15% off.

Where to next?

Learn more about our executive capabilities.

If you found these tips insightful, you might also want to read:

Navigating the Job Market Post-Redundancy: Tips and Advice, from CEO to Entry-Level Positions

Maintaining Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing During Your Job Search

La Fosse Strengthens Executive Search Practice with Two Key Senior Hires