BlueSteps recently released a guide on retained executive search to all our members, featuring advice on how to best work with search consultants and how to develop your network to include relevant executive recruiters. Read on for our expert advice, and a selection of our top tips:

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.
I have seen many discussions and articles published recently that debate whether organizations prefer to hire internal or external executive job candidates. From my reading, I have found that many senior executives believe there is an overwhelming preference for the external candidate. Although the question of preference varies across geographical, organizational and individual circumstances - to offer a generalized answer would avoid the complexity involved in every hire - I would like to offer some hope to any senior executive who feels they cannot progress internally.

Internal Hiring Happens All the Time

Whether we are talking about going back to school or a looking for a new executive job, the question is, “should you always go for the highest ranking university or the most prestigious corporation?” Back in my parents’ day in China, all high school students took countrywide exams, the results of which determined university admissions. The higher one’s score, the more prestigious the school one attended. The ranking of each university as well as the scores of every student were known and matched so that the best performers went to the best schools.

I recently came across a great interview by Computer Weekly with Cathy Holley, a partner at AESC member retained executive search firm, Boyden. In this video interview, Holley outlines what clients are looking for when recruiting top senior executives for CIO positions.
Although the economy is still in the early stage of recovery, the return to improved levels of employment is at a snail's pace. Unemployment is more than 10% in the US and rising in nations around the world. Many of these executives in transition could use a helping hand from those luckily enough to not have been effected by the recession. This phenomena or moral obligation is what I call "Pay it Back" and "Pay it Forward."

In the last 30 years, developments in technology have progressed at an astonishing rate. This phenomenon can be explained in relation to Moore’s Law, where technological developments double in very short lifecycles (originally applied to computer chips). As Dan Schulman, President of Pre-Paid Group, Sprint, recently discussed at the Association of Executive Search Consultant’s 2010 Annual Conference, the increased speed of technological advancement is the most important business factor to consider when staying ahead of competition in the marketplace. So how will this affect C-Suite positions in future?

Professional Accent Reduction for Senior Executives - How and Why?

"I have a very strong accent and often feel that this hinders me when communicating with colleagues and when making professional presentations. Are there any steps that I can take to reduce my accent?"

Senior Executive presentation

Executive Search And Your Career

 The following are some ideas to get noticed by an Executive Search Firm:
  1. Ask friends of yours who are top level executives what search firms they use, who their contact person is and if you could use their name as a referral.
  2. Use professional networking sites. Locate recruiters within your specialty area and contact to see if they are working on searches where you might be of help.
Can you recession-proof your career? The ubiquitous advice always boils down to doing whatever it takes to keep your job. You are admonished to work harder, curry the boss’s favor, or take a class to build skills. With a focus on survival rather than success, recession-proofing doesn’t apply at the executive level.