As an executive pharmaceutical leader, it’s critical to understand how recruitment for you differs from that for your non-management colleagues. There are a number of key differences in the way recruiters approach an executive search, and these factors must influence how you prepare to be head-hunted as well.
The first thing you can expect when you’re pinpointed as a potential candidate for an executive role is that you’ll be contacted by a third-party search firm, as opposed to the company that’s looking to retain you. A search firm is typically utilized because companies don’t want to be perceived as poaching from their competitors, and they expect recruiters to devote their full time and energy to the search – a luxury the company doesn’t have.
Perhaps the most important element of an executive search is confidentiality. Corporations aiming to recruit their next executive leader place high value on discreetness due to the fact that an executive opening usually indicates a significant change in the business. Top companies don’t want their competitors to be privy to these transitions until the appropriate time. This means you should enter a relationship with a recruiter expecting that you won’t get all the information you want about the company up front.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for executives, in particular, because networking is a key aspect of executive recruiting. A well-developed professional network, especially on LinkedIn, will yield ample opportunities for executive placement. As an executive, you may be legally restricted from initiating contact with recruiting firms, but a robust LinkedIn profile and expansive network provides a space for search firms to find you.
Be sure to build out your profile, as well as your resume, with strong examples of strategies you’ve spearheaded or processes you’ve implemented, as skill in specific workflows and methodologies is more significant than industry ties when you reach the executive level. Companies often specify a desire for candidates who have experience in particular activities, such as opening a new plant or implementing a software system. Showcase your expertise in areas that are transferrable to industries outside of your own if you’re open to such opportunities.
When it comes to recruiting at the executive level, understand that open positions are few and far between. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a recruiter who specializes in your industry to express your openness should the right opportunity arise in the future.