Note from Anna: I know we have a lot of ambitious professional women reading my blog so I thought it was time to start thinking about how to make it to that executive level, specifically today how to get recruited for an executive position. If being an executive is your long term goal, take notes!
Once upon a time, someone on an executive track could be relatively confident that by putting in the time and gaining the experience, they would gradually rise to upper management. The recent recession and prolonged recovery have changed that, making the professional future of an executive or executive-in-training less predictable.
As a result, many people who already have management positions are staying with companies longer than they would in a different economic climate, while businesses that have been forced to restructure often decide to bring in outside executive candidates rather than promote internally.
So how do you avoid getting stuck on the executive career ladder? One way that many executives find the right company and advance their career is by working with an executive recruiting firm as a candidate for an open top-tier position.
Companies often hire executive recruiting firms to help them fill top-level positions, such as CEO, CFO, and CMO. This means that the firm’s first priority is to meet the hiring company’s goals—not your own personal career goals. However, the firm will be looking for the best fit candidate for the job, and if you can present yourself as that ideal person, you’ll have a leg up on other candidates.
Here are a few ways you can connect with recruiters in your industry in order to advance your career and land that executive position.
Find Recruiters in Your Professional Network
Executive search firms won’t necessarily post high-level job openings on popular job boards like Indeed or CareerBuilder. Often, they’ll start their search by tapping into a network of professionals they’ve already developed, which means that as an executive, it pays to be on the firm’s radar.
In order to increase your likelihood of being contacted by an executive recruiter, start by working with the people in your own network. Your current company may have actually worked with an executive search firm before, or you may know other people in your industry who have worked with recruiters. Use your current contacts to connect with recruiters through networks like LinkedIn.
Be An Asset to Recruiters
Don’t just think about what an executive search firm can do for you—think about what you can do for them. For instance, if you know a firm is currently trying to fill a position that isn’t a good fit for you, but you know a candidate who would be great for the job, recommend them.
If you provide an executive search firm with strong recommendations, they’re more likely to remember you the next time a hiring company presents them with a job opening that you are qualified for.
Find Recruiters Online
Start by searching for directories of recruiters in your industry. Some will be free to use, while others require you to pay a fee (the ones that require a fee are often more thorough and up-to-date, so it may be worth it for you to subscribe).
You can also search for recruiters simply by doing a keyword search on LinkedIn or by using your current LinkedIn connections to find recruiters and get referrals.
Pay Attention When Large Companies Fill a Top-Tier Position
Keep up with your industry’s business press so that you know when companies that you’re interested in hire a new executive. The report on this new hire may include the name of the executive search firm used, making it easy for you to look up the firm online and find their contact information.