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The Joy of Executive Search

Posted on: March 30th, 2010 by Jolene Timmons

I typically write about proactive steps to make the search process more efficient, communicative or easier.  But January is a time to reflect.  In fact, January is named after the Roman mythological figure Janus who was the god of time, reflection, endings and beginnings.  He has one face toward the future and one toward the past.  I’ve recently been reflecting on the beyond the resume quality that makes a candidate such a joy to place and makes an executive a passionate, productive force.

Big Dreams, Big Jobs

“This is my dream job,” shared the animation executive.  “I love coming to work.”  The eclectic group stopped to learn more…

Several years ago I attended a kickoff luncheon for the Warner Bros. Global Trainee Program.  It took place at a soundstage on the lot.  My talented colleagues had worked tirelessly to launch the program and ensure that the inaugural trainee group had executive sponsorship and support.

During the event, mentoring executives were asked to share information about their roles, departments, business groups, etc.  Most stood up and gave accounts including the size of their teams, the international goals and revenue figures.  All shared solid statistics to inform the trainees and colleagues.  One executive stood out to me that day, and I am certain, is still recalled by other attendees.  “This is my dream job,” shared the animation executive.  “I love coming to work.”  The eclectic group stopped, almost stunned, to learn more.  The animation executive’s passion was clear.  No BS.  He loved his job.  He was doing exactly what he always dreamed he would do.  He passionately gave details of his typical day and how all the efforts of many people combined to create a rich product.

How Do We Dust off the Passion?
Interviewing candidates is generally a great process.  Many times hiring managers are looking for candidates who are a match on paper.  What we do helps to uncover the soft skills, attitudes and accomplishments that will fulfill the hiring manager’s needs beyond the paper.  We want to make everyone happy while ensuring that the right candidate gets hired, and to be honest, we want to do as quickly as possible.  Is recruiting still a joy or has it become a job?

  1. Define Purpose:  Why do we love recruiting?  Is it something we fell into as we were exploring the specialist roles within HR?  How does it support our individual goals?  Are we hoping to lead the search function within a large organization or is this a way to support other goals?  Even if your ultimate career goal is not in recruiting, there is some reason you are doing it instead of managing benefits or employee programs.  Find your purpose and write it down.
  2. Set Concrete Goals:  Productive and successful people set concrete goals.  How will you know when you have met your goals this year?  What will help bring personal accomplishment to every minute in your job?  What will make you EXCITED about waking up on Monday morning?  How will you know when you have specifically met a goal?  Set specific and measurable goals, write them down and measure them daily. 
  3. Enjoy the Outcome:   Celebrate when you hit a milestone.  Accomplishment is addictive.  Be happy when you achieve a measured objective and it will fuel the next accomplishment.  It will reaffirm your commitment to your purpose and goals.  It will lead to bigger and brighter goals.
  4. Learn from Mistakes:  Make mistakes.  Make many mistakes this year.  Go on, take chances, get out of the box and try something new.  Either in your career or in your personal life.  If you fall, get up, think about it, dust off and keep trying. 
  5. Do It Now:  Don’t wait to find your purpose.  Don’t watch from the sidelines or spend one more day just going to work to earn a paycheck.  Do what you love or love what you are doing. 

The Joy
I love recruiting.  I love people.  I love setting up a smooth process and adjusting when there are unexpected changes.  It is never boring.  It is a sometime frustrating, never routine and always a unique process.  It enables me to learn more about people, their passions and what makes them successful.  I love making the match.  It is never better than when the right executive gets the right position for the right reason.  It is a joy to see them succeed.  It is a joy to be part of the process.  There are indeed days in which I love my job and have a defined purpose.

Happy recruiting!!  Happy New Year!

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You Asked We Answered

Question: I've been out of work for a while. Do I take a job offer if the pay is awful?

Answer: Yes, taking a job, sometimes any job particularly if you have not worked in a while is good not only for your paycheck but for your mental health as you search for the job you really want. There is no shame in accepting work for honest pay. You are in transition and you need to remind yourself of that and not feel bad if the job you have now or are considering isn't willing to pay you what you are worth. There will be a job out there that will and you need to use all of your resources available including interim work to realize your goals. Taking a low paying job in the meantime may bruise your ego but it won't kill your pride or your wallet.