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Whether you are an aspiring executive candidate looking to gain the attention of a recruiter, or an executive currently in the midst of working with a search consultant, the executive search process can be a difficult one to navigate.

As executive search consultants are ultimately employed by and working in the best interests of the hiring party, it can be common for executives to develop feelings of frustration and helplessness as they wait to hear news of their candidacy.

However, this need not be the case as there are many steps that executives can take to proactively manage their career, increase the likelihood of becoming an executive candidate, and bolster their chances of being successfully hired.

  1. Become A More Attractive Candidate

    During the initial stages of the search process, the executive search consultant will be charged with launching meetings with their client (the hiring organization) to develop their search criteria following a plethora of in-depth research to hone in on the company’s needs and market requirements. By conducting your own research, or by working with a career coach, you can conduct your own investigation into in-demand skills and make sure that they are highlighted within your personal branding materials. In the event that a recruiter contacts you, they will ask you to provide them with your resume and possibly your bio, in addition to reviewing your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, it is vital that these documents are of exceptional quality prior to engaging in your active job search.

  2. Increase Your Visibility And Create A Networking Strategy

    At the next stage of the executive search process, having researched and created their shortlist, recruiters will begin reaching out to their target candidates. In order to make it onto a recruiter’s shortlist, executives should set aside time in their schedule to consistently build and maintain relationships with executive search consultants. Creating a strong professional network of peers is also advantageous as colleagues and connections might refer recruiters to you should you be suitable for a particular search. Aside from networking, executives should also consider using social media and other communication platforms to establish themselves as industry thought leaders to further increase their visibility to the search community.

  3. Perfect Your Interview Technique

    After the search firm presents the client (the hiring organization) with a short list of the top candidates, the client will conduct a series of in-person interviews. In addition to an in-depth review of the candidate’s resume/CV, candidates will be expected to answer questions relating to their personal strengths, motivations, and other key topics. For candidates facing an executive interview, it is advisable to arrive early, dress professionally, bring all your personal branding materials, and do your research on the company in question. Your research should include gaining insights into their strengths, weaknesses, competitors, market, and company culture. This information can then be incorporated into your executive interview strategy.

  4. Understand Your Worth

    Following your interview with the client, should you progress to the final stages, you may be asked to discuss your compensation expectations. The search consultant often acts as a mediator in this stage to ensure that the needs of both the client and the candidate are met fairly. However, it is intrinsic that, as a candidate, you do your research and fully understand your worth. Candidates are advised to start by finding out the salary range for the role, then also remembering that they are able to negotiate other important elements such as start date, support/budgets, bonus arrangements, flexible hours and childcare.

  5. Once this stage has been completed and an offer accepted, the search firm will often assist with the onboarding process and the integration of the candidate into the workplace. Given the process outlined above, the executive search process can be lengthy and requires patience and a considerable investment of time from all parties. However, with the proven success of retained search hires and the dramatic impact they have on their clients’ companies, dedicating time to understand the executive search process can be invaluable to those seeking to improve their career trajectory and add value to their new organizations.

    If you would like to learn more about personal branding, gaining visibility amongst the search community, or the executive search process in general, register today for the upcoming complimentary BlueSteps webinar, What to Expect in the Executive Search Process. During this webinar, a panel of senior-level executive search consultants will be sharing their expert advice and answering audience questions during a live Q&A. Register here >

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