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As an executive, your job search strategy is uniquely different. Unlike mid-level or entry level professionals, you cannot easily extract an extensive list of job openings from a simple online search.

Your expertise means opportunities are few and far between and executive stakeholders at organizations are seeking a small pool of highly qualified candidates with a top-notch industry reputation to interview for their most critical leadership roles. It is these executive candidates that will execute their business strategy and shape the company’s future.executive job

So, what is the most effective way to conduct your job search? According to Lever, a provider of talent acquisition software, referrals are still the most impactful resource for landing your dream job. In Lever’s article, Inside the Recruiting Funnel, some compelling statistics are provided on how the recruiting outcome varies for applicants, referrals, sourced candidates, and agency referred candidates. The likelihood of a candidate being reviewed and advancing from review, interview, and offer stage differs considerably based on the origin of their candidacy.

Lever’s article aggregates data from approximately 1.5 million candidate considerations, 15,000 hires, and 600 Lever customers, from November 1, 2015 - November 1, 2016. Not surprisingly, out of 1.5 million candidates, only 17% of candidate resumes are screened and only 1.2% of all candidates are hired. Therefore, it is critical that you execute an effective job search. This includes having a compelling resume that showcases your value and incorporating the most impactful job search method.

There are several different types of candidates. Applicants are candidates who apply to an opportunity through a job board or online career page or submit directly to the human resources department. Referred candidates are introduced to the company through current employees, company partners, or other stakeholders. Sourced or passive candidates are those who are approached by someone at the company for an opportunity, and agency candidates are presented via recruiting firms.

In analyzing this pool of candidates, applicants are the least likely to advance past resume submission, with only 13% selected for an initial screen and 0.8% of applicants actually being hired. In comparison, 57% of referrals are screened and from there, half of all screened referrals are invited to an onsite interview and 42% of interviewed referrals receive an offer.

Sourced candidates have about a 60% better yield in making it to the screen stage than applicants who applied via an advertisement, with 21%, compared to 13%, progressing to a screen and 1.6% of sourced candidates being hired.

Finally, employers screen candidates submitted by agencies over half of the time with a high number of agency candidates, 39%, invited to an onsite interview. Of those interviewed, 23% received an offer, but only 3.9% of agency candidates were hired.

Lever’s study confirms one thing, referrals remain the most effective and consistent origin of hire. In fact, referrals represent 2% of the candidate pool and 14% of hires. At leading companies, referrals can represent as much as 40% of hires. Savvy employers know referred candidates reduce hiring expenses and provide a leader who has already been vetted by their peers, fits in with the business culture, and has a record of delivering results.

Remember this as you embark on your executive job search. Let your peers and industry contacts know you are seeking your next opportunity and focus on continually building your network and reputation within your target industry. That’s paramount to landing your next great opportunity that is also a great fit.

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