How an executive recruiter changes your career trajectory

How an executive recruiter changes your career trajectory

Overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 6 percent through 2031, with about 318,100 openings each year on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s quite a sea of talent to sift through and it can be overwhelming, even for the most high-powered CEO or founder. A high-performing executive recruiter can efficiently narrow down the field.

Daniel Cheetham is the founder of Captains Club, a boutique recruiting firm that specializes in building high-functioning executive teams from scoping to scouting to selection. Over the last six years in this niche, Cheetham is sought out by companies who didn’t find success with a larger more reputable search firm and need results now.

With more personal attention, smaller boutique agencies like his come through.

“We jump in and save the day,” says Cheetham, a 12-year recruiting veteran. “We work nights and weekends to make sure you have the open communication, right conversations and level of service that is needed. We care deeply about the outcome.”

There are several reasons companies seek the expertise of a high-performing executive recruiter. Here are some of them.

Connecting the points
A company’s founder may have an idea of what they need on their team, such as a director or CFO, but doesn’t have a defined job description. That’s when a high-performing executive recruiter hammers out the specifics so they can hone in on exactly who they need. “I help them get from point A to point B,” Cheetham says.

Executive team building
A high-performing executive recruiter works nearly exclusively in the C-suite space. So when companies seek help with building an executive team, this is in the recruiter’s wheelhouse. “Let’s figure out what’s working and see where there’s a gap,” Cheetham says of the job.

Out-of-the-box plans
A high-performing executive recruiter, especially one from a boutique firm, will take the time to get to know the company’s founder, goals and other factors to craft the interview plan for candidates. “We work together finding innovative talent that might be out of the box,” Cheetham says.

Filling gaps
Declaring the need to hire someone is easy. However, fulfilling that request appropriately is not. A thorough evaluation of a company’s day-to-day operations and culture may determine that filling two or three positions are needed to get the job done. “They say they want a president to run the company. But actually, it sounds like they need a head of field operations and then someone who will be more like the president they are envisioning,” Cheetham says. “There are a lot of gaps that can get overlooked.”

Sometimes, executives and founders aren’t truly prepared to make the transition when hiring VP’s or C-suite level personnel. They may think they are, but an executive recruiter sees when the pieces don’t match up. “They know their business really well, but when it comes to building executive teams, that’s a lot harder. It’s about having open, honest and clear conversations to help them see what success looks like given the situation,” Cheetham says. “We are paid to be truth tellers. The hardest conversation is telling them, ‘I don’t think you’re ready yet.’”

Succession paths
In current market conditions, there’s a rising trend of baby boomer owner-operators who are at the end of their career or burned out. Cheetham sees an influx of leads for CEO and succession searches where they are not outright selling, but looking for someone to run the company. This is an area that gives him a lot of energy as he helps companies transition and find ground in a wide open space. “What does a succession path look like? What do we go to the market for? And, how do we onboard them?” he says.

Finding a high-performance executive recruiter answers those pressing questions.

Georgann Yara is a journalist based in Phoenix. Find her on Twitter @georgannyara.

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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