Article 4: Top 4 executive search mistakes

Managing your search for the right opportunity at executive level isn’t easy, particularly if you haven’t been active in the job market for a while. We look at common mistakes executives make when working with recruiters and seeking a fresh challenge.


1. Focusing on the transaction not the relationship

  • The biggest mistake is to believe that working with an executive recruiter is a discrete transaction that doesn’t require relationship development. Like any other relationship, time invested yields a superior result
  • It might well be that you feel “I don’t need them at that moment” when a recruiter contacts you. However, nearly everyone returns to the job market at some point and those who have taken the time to engage beforehand will find that they can call on greater resources and will benefit accordingly


2. Using search tactics without having a search strategy

  • It’s quite surprising but some C-level candidates think they can rely on LinkedIn to find a new position. This a tactic, not a strategy
  • Like anyone else, executives can be prone to ignore the basics such as: identifying which companies they should target, knowing and clearly being able to express what their unique positioning is, and having a proper approach for creating a positive introduction in the first place
  • Some are tempted to start calling everyone in their address book because they’ve been told they “need to network”. However, what you really need is to first truly understand what you want before reaching out so you can create a strategy that delivers the desired outcome
  • So do ensure you’re prepared before you contact anyone and make sure there’s a seamless ‘story’ that connects your verbal pitch with the accomplishments on your résumé. If there’s a mismatch between the two, you create confusion, which isn’t helpful


3. It’s not about you (yet), it’s about the employer

  • A job-seeker might turn up to the first interview believing they’re there to get their own questions answered, rather than the other way round
  • But an interview is not purely a fact-finding mission. In the early stages, you should approach the process as a seller rather than a buyer. The goal is to get invited back, which will give you the opportunity to drill deeper, once you know the company is intrigued by what you can offer


4. Make full use of your executive consultant’s knowledge

  • While we all like to think we’re special, the reality is that there will be more than a few people who can fill a given role just as successfully
  • The ability to accept coaching or advice – and investing time and effort to communicate differentiation – is sure to be of benefit
  • Executive recruiters see countless résumés. It’s our job to be informed. So we really are in the best position to provide you with a market-based understanding. Take account of our opinions, even if you don’t necessarily opt to follow them


Being aware of these pitfalls is important because it means you can avoid them.

In closing, make it easy for a recruitment expert to help you: build a relationship. And treat search consultants like insurance – if you regularly invest (in developing the relationship) then when you need it, you’ll be sure to get what you’re after.

Contact us now to find out more