Seeking out the Science on Search Firms, Part II

Last month, we introduced two types of search firms and discussed what they look for in candidates. In this month’s blog, we explore how you can best identify and network with a search firm. Element 1: There are so many firms out there. How do I know which firms to target? As an executive, the search firm’s experience in your industry and/or job function becomes paramount. The firms you work with should have a background in placing positions like the one you want. By searching websites like BlueSteps and ExecuNet, you can target a firm and search consultant who cover industries and roles that are a fit for you. You can also ask your executive-level peers for suggestions of firms to work with, as they will most likely have many contacts of their own. Before you engage too deeply with a firm, be sure to check the executive search firm’s references, and even look at their performance metrics – i.e., how many days does it take them to fill a position. Also, as you’ll work with … [Read more...]

Seeking out the Science on Search Firms

What forms the basis of any science, such as astronomy or chemistry? A body of knowledge, of course. As there is a lot to learn about recruiters and executive search firms, they also happen to be a science in themselves, with many “elements.” If you’re an executive looking for a new opportunity, read on to learn about the different types of search firms and what they do, plus what they look for and expect from C-level candidates. Element 1: What do search firms do, anyway? Recruiters and search firms find a successful candidate for a chosen role, and there’s a lot that goes into that. The firm may draft the job description; develop a short list of candidates for the firm; assess the candidates for a cultural fit with the hiring organization; and share the final candidates for the job with their client. Element 2: Are all search firms the same? In a word, no! Search firms fall into one of two categories – contingency and retained search.  And choosing one isn’t all that … [Read more...]

Winning the Bias Game after a Personal Leave

In the game of basketball, fans typically have preconceived notions about short players, despite the fact that 5’9” Isaiah Thomas of the Denver Nuggets delivers the goods game after game.  Although Thomas is proof that short players perform at a high level, the bias against players of small stature persists. In the working world, biases exist too.  People who take a leave from work — whether due to having a baby, caring for an ill or elderly relative, sick child, or another reason — face several preconceived notions, and an uphill battle for respect, prize projects, and promotions once they return to work. If you’ve taken a leave, it’s important to be aware of these misconceptions and work actively to counteract them to raise your personal brand at work. Let’s look at five impressions that employers have of those who take a personal leave, and what you can do during and after your leave to counteract them. 1. Impression: You won’t be as interested in the job or organization. … [Read more...]

Journal Your Way Up the Career Ladder

Think back to when you were a young teen, complete with braces and pimples. Negotiating the tough school hallways and interactions with peers, you needed a safe place to process all of the social challenges coming your way and share your hopes for the future. So you started a diary, furtively writing daily and keeping it hidden away from your family and friends. And over time, in writing down your thoughts and reading over what you wrote, your teenage world became just a little bit clearer and less scary. Well, now you’re all grown up (and hopefully the braces and pimples are long behind you!)  You can still use a diary — now called a journal —for your career, and reap the career benefits as you once did the same for your adolescent social scene. How can journaling help your career? It enables you to leverage your musings over time to gain perspective and spark new ideas. Read on to learn about when, how, and why to journal. When You Should Journal During a Job Search. … [Read more...]

Get Prepared to Network: Meet, Greet, Repeat

1 - Prepare to listen: It starts with being fully present. Tune everything and everyone else OUT — pay attention only to the person right in front of you. Periodically ask questions — don’t be a bobble head just nodding. Good conversation is two-way. 2 - Handshake: In our country, the acceptable greeting starts with a firm handshake. Women – show your confidence and presence by initiating the handshake. Here’s how: Move toward a person, arm outstretched, smile on your face and say “I’m happy to meet you. I’m Valerie Sokolosky. And you?” You’re off and running. 3 - Conversation: After the initial name exchange, move to a question. Here’s one suggestion — ask a question about their name. “Eric…there are lots of ways you can spell it…how do you spell yours? “Oh, that’s an unusual name. Were you named for someone? “What else do they call you?” “Kathryn…do you prefer Kathryn or Kathy?” Names give you an easy way to get into a conversation! 4 - Remembering … [Read more...]