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News & views

Announcements, editorials, and insights from the global orthopaedic and spine industry

today Published on 06-04-2017

Why senior executives struggle during a job search

Why senior executives struggle during a job search

Today’s economic climate has dramatically reduced the ability of companies to recruit senior level executives.

In turn, this has impacted those who already sit in high level positions.

CEOs, Presidents, Directors and other senior professionals face unique challenges when attempting a career transition at such a high level.

Because of the issues they face, it has become increasingly difficult to encourage senior executives to pursue new opportunities, especially if they are comfortable in their current roles.

Understanding the unique hurdles jobseekers at this level face can significantly decrease the levels of anxiety and frustration for both the jobseeker and the employer.

High-end jobs are harder to find

Frustrations can be much greater when searching for high level opportunities. The higher the level, the more scarce the opportunities become.

The average tenure of a departing CEO is 9.7 years. Top executives tend to stay put in their roles, meaning fewer job openings for those who do wish to move roles.

Often there are only a handful of opportunities in one country at one time.

If you’re considering a career change, reconsider how flexible you’re willing to be. Expanding your scope can open you up to more opportunities; being open to the idea of relocating, for example, significantly widens the job pool.

Senior level jobs are often filled internally

When senior executive roles do become available, they are often filled by internal staff members.

Having been with the company for several years, internal candidates are already in line for the top jobs. They have the experience, they know the company intimately and their abilities are well-known. The opening can also be filled much faster as internal candidates rarely require skill assessments, relevant HR checks and lengthy contract negotiations.

It’s also often considered risky to bring in an outsider for such an important position within the company.

High-level job seekers must ensure that they emphasise the strengths and diversity they bring coming in from outside the company.

There’s much more competition at the top

While there can be multiple senior level positions, there is usually only one high-level role; there can only be one CEO, COO, or President.

High-level job openings often receive national exposure. The more desirable the position, the more attention it receives and the more people apply.

Senior level jobseekers must learn how to rise above the rest; memorably differentiating themselves from their competition.

It’s a lengthy process

Employers are taking nearly twice as long to hire people as they did twenty years ago, particularly at senior levels.

Hiring someone at this salary level often requires many “sign-offs”.

With employers trying to avoid costly mistakes, the approval process can take a lot of time and cause a lot of frustration.

Candidates risk not being taken seriously

Senior candidates risk being considered overqualified.

To combat this, it's wise target smaller companies that will better appreciate experience, contacts and credibility.

Having sat at the highest level, there may be also be a perception of the candidate’s expectations.

There could be a misconception that the candidate is “too expensive” causing the company to dismiss them as an option immediately.

Employers may also have concerns about investing in senior level candidates who have reached the top of their field; if there is nowhere further to grow, they may doubt long-term prospects.

It’s important to convey long-term intentions and a commitment to stay at the company.

Talented leaders are pivotal to future business success. Easing the transition for leaders who wish to make a change, and for companies looking for new talent, is a key part of Orthoexecutive’s service.

By understanding the frustrations on both sides of the senior level hiring process we’re able to tailor every search specifically to each customer, to deliver quality placements and look after the long-term interests of both parties.

Orthoexecutive specialise in senior executive search and have a number of vacancies for tenured business leaders.

If you’re interested in a career change, view our most recent opportunities.

Or, if you are an organisation looking to partner with an executive search firm for your next strategic hire, get in touch with Matt Woods (07500) 555508 or Fiona Walters (07585) 003433 to find out more about how we can help your business find the senior talent you need.