Executive Job Search & Career Transitions

There are many articles published about the 'cost of a bad hire'. Whether they discuss interviewing and recruitment costs or the subsequent loss of productivity, it is clear there is a lot at stake for the company when hiring for an executive position. In fact, a study by Right Management reveled the cost of a single bad hire could be up to 5 times the salary.

Preventing a bad hire

During the BlueSteps Connect event last year, a distinguished panel of leading search consultants provided an overview of how best to approach and build relationships with executive search firms, what these firms can offer you and how the search process works.

Panel members were:
  • Peter Felix, President of the AESC
  • Patrick Delhougne, Senior Client Partner, Korn/Ferry

During an executive job search, succeeding during executive interviews is the final step in landing that ideal executive position. Not only is it a requisite for demonstrating your skills to others, the process of refining your interview technique will help provide focus to your executive job search and remind you of your key strengths.

1. Importance of Research

Executives, once at that exclusive and illustrious level, no longer have the luxury of applying for a job through the regular means which were available to them during the earlier part of their careers: an ad in the paper, or on an online job board, or just randomly approaching target employers by mailing a CV. At senior and executive levels, individuals seeking a change need to reconsider the usual push strategy and employ a more drawn out, pull strategy and this requires a switch in mindset that they have to get acquainted with.

There are federal employment laws which impact your executive career. When professionals and executives transition in or out of a company, there is a myriad of issues to consider. Compensation, severance, benefits, retirement accounts, non-compete clauses, discrimination, and other legal rights are being negotiated and can dramatically affect your career.

Employment Law

When the job market gets gloomy we ponder about other options to keep ourselves gainfully engaged. To those who have been out-placed (with or without due compensations) one of the thoughts that quickly occur is ‘Why not consult until I find the next right job?’ It is an exciting option provided we are absolutely prepared and clear about what we are getting into. There are always the not-so-obvious points to consider before plunging in. This article will discuss the concept of assignment-based partnering – that is, offering to collaborate and form teams with other consultants or consulting organizations on short and mid term assignments.

1. Know the executive recruitment market – ask search consultants in your network to comment on your industry marketplace and learn from their outlook – which areas are performing well? Can your skills transfer to these areas? All BlueSteps members receive worldwide executive search industry reports from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), with access to search industry expert speeches and panels.

2. Become a Source - Don't forget to offer yourself as a source to AESC search consultants if they call and offer any contacts you think will be useful to complete their search. This is the best way to provide a two-way networking process with search professionals.
Finding a new executive job at the senior level can be a challenge. Making yourself visible to executive search firms and executive recruiters is a positive way to advance your career to the next level.


Learning the tricks of searching for an executive job is not difficult; it just takes some common sense, discipline and a positive upbeat attitude. Most people learn the basic techniques as they begin a search but here are some additional tips that will help make a search successful.

Set Daily Goals – One approach that has served me well was to set goals for myself. I try and make at least 10 connections a day. A connection does not mean that someone has to respond but it is a note, phone call or a face to face meeting with someone. There are days when I exceed it and there are days when I don’t hit my goal, but the goal pushes me to find ways to connect with as many people as I can.