It’s no surprise that looking for a senior executive role can be challenging. The pyramid narrows, and there are unique factors at play that don’t affect executives who are earlier in their careers. Here are five ways that senior executives can anticipate these differences and effectively address them throughout their job search campaigns.
- Executive roles are very visible and are often covered in the press or industry publications. As a result, exit storylines need to be honest and delivered with credibility. For example, an executive might be prepared to say something like this: “I am disappointed that we didn’t get to take the journey together, but new CEOs often want their own people around them, so we agreed to part ways.” In our experience, this is truthful, humanly relatable, and allows both parties to move on to other topics.
- There are fewer “at bats” for C-suite and other executive positions, so the competition is more intense. The art of effective interviewing is essential, which includes stating your value proposition and telling short, results-oriented stories – vignettes – that showcase the Challenge you had, the Action you took, and (this is important!) – the Results you achieved. We work closely with Crenshaw clients to deliver these vignettes in a compelling and succinct manner in under two minutes so that the interviewer can move on or choose to go deeper on the topic.
- The selection process is very deliberate and often comes down to “fit” and chemistry. The final slate of candidates is almost always packed with highly qualified executives who can do the job. So the final elements of selection involve fit – how well the finalists relate to the existing executive team, and how effectively the selection committee believes the finalist candidates will work within the existing culture. During this time, it’s important for candidates to maintain their energy and proper focus, engage in interactive dialogues, and collect multiple data points during interviews to understand cultural dynamics to speak convincingly of their “fit” with the organization. This will also help the finalist make his/her own good decision, and will aid to a smooth OnBoarding.
- The personal stakes are high. It’s important for senior executives to consider how any move plays into their longer-term career plan. A misstep can become a future headwind, directly impacting present and future earnings, job satisfaction, and the family’s well-being. For this reason, Crenshaw ties decision-making criteria to an individual’s stated long-term professional goals, individual motivators and de-motivators, and must haves/knock-out factors.
- Good executive OnBoarding is essential. In 2017 and 2018, McKinsey compiled statistics on failure rates from a number of key studies and found that 27%-46% of executive transitions are regarded as failures or disappointments. Because these roles are so visible – and the expectations are so high – executives need an effective onboarding program that balances expectations for immediate results along with learning the business, fitting into the culture, and building strong relationships – up, down and sideways. This is job #1 for all of Crenshaw’s OnBoarding clients.
Crenshaw’s Transition and OnBoarding services are customized for each executive’s individual needs. Because of the breadth and depth of Crenshaw’s advisors, they bring a level of objectivity, perspective, and insight that is of great value. Working one-on-one with an advisor, mentor, and our array of subject-matter experts, clients build and execute effective job search campaigns that result in exciting new roles and long-term professional success.