Standing out from the Crowd – How to be Found in Executive Search

Over the last five years or so, the landscape of Executive Search has changed hugely. Whilst the traditional “black book” still holds a lot of value, the Axon Moore research team now use a variety of online methods to build their long list of candidates for each assignment.

It’s true that the internet and social media have made it easier for Executive Researchers to identify and connect with candidates. It also means, however, that there is a lot more competition out there and if you are open to new career opportunities, you need to work proactively to stand out from the crowd. Looking at LinkedIn alone, just five years ago in 2012, there were 161 million registered users worldwide. This figure now stands above 500 million and rising, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to appear in those all-important first pages of search results.

By raising your profile both on and offline you will maximise your chances of attracting the attention of Executive Search professionals and getting noticed when that ideal career opportunity presents itself.

Here are some easy wins:

Be visible online

If you are hoping to take the next step in your senior finance career, you need to be seen online. Build your online presence and be aware of your personal brand. Self-promote when the opportunity allows.

Use business-oriented networking sites such as LinkedIn to your advantage – provide detail around your career achievements and demonstrate credibility through up-to-date recommendations.  The more detail there is, the more likely you are to hook us in and ensure you are one of the people we reach out to when working on an Executive appointment.

The more information there is on your social media profiles, the more key words you’ll be including and so the greater the chance of being found in our research. In particular, highlight the skills and experience you hope to be utilising in your next job and put yourself in the researcher’s shoes; if we’re searching for a CFO for a PE-backed software business, we’ll start by looking at candidates with those key words in their profiles.

As well as networking sites, you should be represented on your employer’s website – increasing your chances of being found in Google searches and target company mapping research.

Share your expertise

Talk about your field – if you have an opinion, use online groups and forums to voice it. Wherever possible, participate in relevant industry dialogue and get quoted in business articles – make a name for yourself as an expert in your field. If invited to, speak at conferences, panels or awards ceremonies such as the Business Finance Awards, CFO Agenda, and those run by the BVCA and Real Deals. All of this will again boost your online visibility, as well as the likelihood of your name coming up in conversation when we are asking for recommendations for an Executive Finance role.

Join professional organisations

Join finance-specific organisations and industry-sector trade associations. It’s a great networking opportunity and our Executive Researchers regularly look at professional networks and event attendee lists to source Finance leaders for our senior level assignments.

Build relationships and network

Connect with industry peers, keep in touch with talented and connected colleagues and former colleagues, network at social and business events. A lot of people we find are as a result of recommendations from others – build a name for yourself so you will come up in conversations. Make sure you are someone that is likely to be recommended in such exchanges by highlighting your successes.

Be on the radar/ take the call

If we reach out to you with an opportunity, please respond! It may not be the right role or timing, but there could well be a point in the future when it is.

You are much more likely to be on our radar for that perfect career opportunity if we have spoken in the past regarding your career aspirations or you have previously made recommendations about executive talent we should connect with.

Be a client and a candidate

In the world of Executive Search, we often place people we have initially met as clients and work on assignments for clients who we first met as candidates. Building a strong, lasting relationship with your chosen recruitment professionals is crucial and will ensure that over time we will be able to both enhance your career and source great talent for your organisation.