More Questions About Working With Executive Recruiters
To complete the recap of my presentation and follow on discussion with the BENG Group earlier this month, it is appropriate to address the remaining questions posed to me. Those three questions are addressed herein below.
1. After all these years, why are educational credentials still an issue?
One would think that after thirty years of experience, one’s educational credentials would not be such an issue. Generally speaking, your education is less important over time because employers hire you for your experience and accomplishments. But, that is not always the case.
Recruiters and their researchers work off scripts. They are given Job Descriptions and Candidate Specifications by the client. In many cases, I help my clients write job descriptions. Education credentials are usually a baseline, not necessarily a deal breaker. For the mature executives with long careers, education becomes less of an issue than for someone beginning their career. For technical fields, where mastery of state of the art is required, academic credentials are more important. For most of these occupations, it is unlikely to have built a career without the proper educational credentials.
In the service sector, a formal education may be overcome by on-the-job training. Where interpersonal skills are more important than technical skills, educational requirements may be less relevant.
Sometimes educational credentials are a cultural imperative, especially if the company is a highly desirable employer. If you have a lot of people who want to work for you, increasing the hiring standards is a natural progression for selection. If there are a lot of candidates interested in the job opening, the hiring manager will be more discriminating. In this case, if not a match with the hiring criteria, one would be well-advised to look elsewhere,
The issue may not be confined to having a College education, but the prestige of the College you attended or the degree you received. Assuming a leadership role is easier if the employee has a more distinguished education, “street cred,” as it were. Window dressing or hiring managers with impeccable educational credentials is usually more significant for the most Senior Executives in Public Companies. However, there are exceptions to this rule as well.
[Tweet “All things being equal, your accomplishments; history of success, trumps all other criteria.”] Overcoming educational deficiencies later in one’s career may not be a productive use of time. However, a wise strategy for any career-minded person is to invest in continued professional development. Continuing education and professional certification may well mitigate a weak educational background.
2. How much information should I include in my LinkedIn profile?
Recruiters use LinkedIn to find viable candidates. If you are looking for a new job, LinkedIn must become a prominent part of your job search strategy. I recommend that you step up to a paid subscription, as the added features will enhance your ability to find a job in less time.
You must leverage the value of LinkedIn. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is a complete representation of your career history. It should include every bit of career information you present in your resume, and more. Use industry-specific terminology and keywords relevant to your functional discipline. Edit your status to indicate that you are between situations and actively looking. Make sure your contact details are available and easy to find. Make periodic updates to keep your network engaged.
Use LinkedIn’s full capabilities. Actively build your network by becoming linked to more people. Be involved in groups and follow target companies. Become a subject matter expert and publish articles relevant to your career. Ask for as many recommendations as you can.
3. How does one find an executive recruiter that specializes in my professional niche?
This was the easiest question to answer. Even so, it was a bit of a surprise. I assumed that this would be common knowledge for these folks. Lesson learned! The obvious places to find Recruiters that specialize in your industry sector include Trade Associations, The National Association of Personnel Services, and by old-fashioned networking. Additionally, you can locate this information by searching LinkedIn.
Kennedy Information Inc. and the Association of Executive Search Consultants publish directories and provide database services for a fee. Before making an investment in these services, check with your local library as they may be a subscriber.
The role and function of the Executive Recruiter are often misunderstood. One does not need to grope around in the dark, however, as there is information available to improve your knowledge base. All that is required is a few commands typed into your search engine. Or better yet, follow my blog for useful tips and insight.
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Jim Weber, President
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
1. COO- Atlanta-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – New
2. Director of Business Dev, Atlanta-based B2B Professional Services Company: Complete
3. Payroll-Benefits Manager, Atlanta-based Retail Company: Complete
4. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. In-Process
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