How to Access the Unadvertised or Hidden Jobs Market

If you are at a senior executive level but you are ready to move on, what are the options? It is less easy to search the jobs market the more senior you become. Confidentiality and time can both be an issue. You may be posted overseas, far from contacts you can approach. It is all very well to be told to network, to get the word out that you are available. For many senior executives, this is impractical.

A number of firms and consultants offer help with a job search, to access the unadvertised or so-called hidden jobs market. But it is wise to check out first how much of the work they will actually do for you and how much is simply advice and guidance. Sure, it is helpful to have hired help encourage and advise you, massage the ego and build your confidence. But the chances are that, at your level, these things are not required as much as some practical help to handle what is a burdensome and difficult task – finding your next role.

How often have you been urged to get in touch with your contacts, friends, anyone who might have friends who might work with someone who knows someone who might have a role where you might be a fit? Get on the radar of headhunters, executive search professionals. Go to networking events. Set up exploratory meetings.

Realistically, do you have the time or opportunity? For reasons of confidentiality, most senior executives are unable to leverage their professional network when it comes to looking for a career change. It makes no sense to jeopardize the current job by looking for the next one.

Time is the other issue. There are probably more calls on your time now than at any other stage in your life. Keeping pace with work, staff, stakeholders, professional development, health and fitness, home and family. Young children. Aging parents.

So there is a powerful argument for engaging someone who will:
a) do the work for you and
b) keep your search confidential.

The team at EA Select has been doing precisely this for over 12 years, representing and working on behalf of senior executives looking for the next step in their career, taking on the task of networking on their behalf, confidentially, at the highest echelons of the corporate world.

We are a small and dedicated team, with offices on both sides of the Atlantic, entirely committed to helping senior executives earning $200k or more look for new opportunities. And with EA Select, a web based version of this service delivers incredible value for the modest membership fee.

(We charge nothing to the recruiter or employer – we want them to find you).

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Are you part of Big Data? Is your online presence helping you?

US spending on Big Data estimated at $31bn in 2013
(Source: ABI Research – Sept, 2013).

Talent acquisition managers now have tools available to learn more about an individual than could have been imagined even two or three years ago. Managing your online presence should be a vital consideration for senior executives conducting an executive job search.

Big Data is one of today’s key areas of growth and innovation. US spending on Big Data (which includes salaries, hardware and services) is estimated at $31 billion in 2013, and forecast to grow at almost 29.6% CAGR over the next 5 years to reach $114bn in 2018 according to ABI Research in a report published today – . Data scientists are in high demand as firms rush to appoint managers and staff with the required competence in advanced analytics. An Accenture survey in February 2013 found that two thirds of firms had appointed a Chief Data Officer within the previous 18 months and over 70% expected to be hiring in this function area soon.

The implication for executive job seekers is that talent acquisition managers now have tools available to learn more about an individual than could have been imagined even two or three years ago. Data Analytics is on the rise, as Accenture found, ‘and is securely on the C-suite agenda‘. It may be primarily aimed at understanding customer behaviour, but it can equally be applied to profiling one individual.

Managing an online presence is advocated by some as a means to advancing one’s career prospects. Regardless of whether actively projecting your online presence is desirable, it should by now be a natural consideration in a person’s journey through life and career to take sensible steps to manage and protect it – in exactly the same way that protecting one’s private property is a matter of routine. In other words, thinking about one’s online presence has not yet become a habit, but it probably should.



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How do you feel about LinkedIn?

This excellent article  (Ask the headhunter..) voices a range of concerns about the whole topic of automation and use of social media in recruiting and job seeking. Thoroughly researched and brutally analytical, author Nick Cordodilos brings into question the quality and effectiveness of LinkedIn, the major job boards, their business models and motivations. It shines the spotlight on their ethics, notably with regard to their ‘Double Dipping’ (charging both the job seeker and the recruiter – with ranking priority given to those who pay more) that rakes in revenues and panders to a profit motive driven by Wall Street. A relentless dumbing down of the networking concept, led by omnipresent LinkedIn and its derisory gimmicks, seems to suggest the writing is on the wall for this behemoth in its present form. However, beyond the silliness of endorsements and icons, and the cosiness of being just 2 or 3 connections away from 225 million LinkedIn users, the more serious contention is that employer organizations across the board – corporate or public sector – are relying on automation to the utter detriment of their hiring quality, and ultimately of the nation’s economic health. Well written, entertaining and with plenty of food for thought – recommended for Recruiter and Job Seeker alike! (Please note, we do not ‘double dip’ nor do we give special favors to any of our members).



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How is your personal data used?

So the Internet has come of age. Just recently, I saw reference to ‘an old internet saying’:
If it’s free, you are the product…..

I wonder how many other ‘old sayings’ are formulating right now, as the web-wise and the cynical reflect on the craft used by those whose business is to mine the bonanza of personal data we freely provide – many of us daily or even hourly. The web is an open book. The more we write in it, the more there is to find. Human or non-human, there will be ready takers waiting to help themselves to our personal data, for good or ill. We should be aware of how our personal data is used. It may not harm to provide it – and indeed it can be collected anonymously for benign purposes – but there is more visibility on everyone nowadays, thanks to open communication and a lot of clever programmers.

Someone is out there, fishing


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Personal Branding: why it matters

The world of work has suddenly changed. Thanks to the meteoric rise of the Internet, traditional methods of communication and career development are evaporating… the Internet itself is … a tool that allows any user to command his or her future

How to protect and promote your personal brand is the central theme of a book by Dan Schwabel, a recognized ‘personal branding guru’ as described by the New York Times. When asked at interview how he defines personal branding, the author has a concise and ready response:

‘Personal branding is the process by which you unearth your unique value and then communicate it to the appropriate audience.’

Senior executives today mostly started out before the concept of personal branding crystallized and became a significant component in the management of their career.

There are alternative definitions of personal branding. For example, it is also described as the process of defining yourself in the context of your relationship with others (or how you want to be seen by others) and building upon it as a means to reach whatever is your goal – such as leadership. This is a definition which leans more toward the personal disciplines and methodologies of organization and executive development. Another, simpler description of personal branding is ‘what others say about you when you are not in the room.’

I believe the wider environment of the internet is where personal brands are more visibly developed – or diminished. So I prefer the Schwabel approach, which encapsulates the importance of communication – and appropriateness of the audience.

Personal branding as a concept was first articulated 14 years ago and in more recent times it entered the lexicon of common parlance. Today a whole new industry is on hand to service it. Personal branding consultants, books, technical manuals, personal branding maintenance, reputational damage limitation services, etc , are legion. There are personal brand consultants to be found all over the planet. The appetite for PR has migrated from the corporate to the individual.

Let us be clear: personal branding matters. Before the internet, there was Reputation. A personal value, to be earned and lost through one’s own actions. Now, for the Internet generation, there is Personal Branding. It is different – slightly. The Internet provides everyone with the chance to shape it more precisely, build it more aggressively, have others develop or protect it for you – or, conversely, to see it tarnished or even destroyed.

The risks are not hard to spot, yet it is easy to stumble blind and unthinking into pitfalls. We leave a trail of data, which no-one clears up. Once released, information travels, takes a path of its own. Job sites pass on your CV – is that the version which omits your current great role? or the homespun version that lists your grandchildren as an interest? or the one that speaks to your specialist skills and understates your real general management experience? If communicated with a subtle difference in emphasis, would the facts tell a rather different story? For Wikipedia, it is about ‘self-packaging’. Fair comment.

It is now routine for any recruiter or prospective business contact to check you out online prior to a first meeting. A sobering thought; information published on the Internet is forever ‘out there’ to be found. That information may or may not reflect the person you are now, the person you would like to present.

Like the clothes that one wears, the company one keeps, etc, information about oneself shapes the first impression that people form about you. This is why personal branding matters. The internet is a powerful tool – and like a powerful tool it can do great good, but it can also do great harm.

Some of the information on the internet may be beyond the control of the individual, but a great deal of it is either entirely or partially within their control. Information about oneself can and should be managed.

To come back to Schwabel. How to protect and how to promote your personal brand. What is your unique value? How do you communicate it? How are you ‘packaged’? And of course, who and where is the appropriate audience?

It was precisely to help senior executives leverage the power of the internet without risking any loss of control over their confidential information that EA Select was established by the founders of Executive Advisors.


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A Database of Senior Executive Talent

EA Select is a database of high level executive talent. Uniquely, recruiters can find and contact senior executives directly via their online profile. Access for recruiters is subject to registration and verification, but there is no cost.

Executive Members enjoy an unparalleled level of privacy through this platform – which is why the site attracts candidates who may have no other online profile.

Our searchable database of executives at the $200k+ compensation level is available free of charge to executive search professionals and others seeking top talent. Download profiles.  Contact the individual directly. There is NO LIMIT and NO COST.

You can even advertise or post general messages for this exclusive audience.

Use of the site is FREE and UNLIMITED to recruiters, employers and the private equity community, maintaining the philosophy of EA Select’s founders – who have represented and advised senior executives, from all sectors, for over 12 years.


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Lost in the Crowd – can’t get noticed on job sites?

There are tens of millions of resumes on the Internet, on social networking sites, and on job sites. Posting your information on a social networking site seems to be an appropriate course of action. After all, 200 million others have done so. But how do you stand out and get noticed?

Upload too much information and it may appear that you are putting up a ‘for sale’ sign. It can also lead to trouble with current or former employers, particularly if you show company confidential information. But with too little information, what is the chance that your next employer can find you in the midst of all of that competition?

Which job site should you join? You might feel it necessary to join as many $100K+ job sites as possible, to make sure that you have covered all the bases and are not missing the one site that your future employer or their recruiter might subscribe to.  The problem then is that your resume is dispersed across the web – a great way to diminish your personal brand.

As to the jobs displayed, are they still open? With many sites scraping jobs and consolidating from around the net, many have been filled or are invalid, because while the original job site might have been notified of this fact, the consolidators may not have been alerted and so don’t update their site. Another consideration is that while it’s handy that some job sites will alert you by email to a new job posting, how many thousand other executives are getting the same email? Perhaps this is in part why recent surveys have shown that even mid-level jobs are routinely attracting over 1,000 applicants. You may be assured that it is not the decision makers that review these applications.

The simple fact is that there are too many people vying to get noticed in the same places. If you owned diamonds and wanted people to see and admire them, would you scatter them on a beach of pebbles? No, of course not, you would separate them and put them into a showcase where they could be polished and presented in the best possible light.

EA Select is a website for corporate diamonds – come shine with us!



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Are you Dynamic? Results-driven?… don’t get carried away writing your resume

…Bottom-line focused? High Energy? Visionary?….Yes? Great! ………Now, let’s not put those adjectives, or anything close to them when writing your resume or your cover letter.  Why? These are what we refer to as “read-through” words. Why “read-through”? Because we pay no attention to them; because so many people use them they are devalued and meaningless.

So, don’t use the valuable real estate that we call a resume to introduce words that have no meaning and influence no one. It’s all about achievements.  You increased sales significantly? Blah. You increased sales by 30%? Wow!

Let’s go for Wow! Even better, you increased sales by 30% and EBITDA by 40%. This shows that you are in charge of the numbers, you have a finger on the pulse, you know what is going on – you are in control. That said, don’t try and blind side a recruiter by leaving out the base numbers. Increasing sales by 400% is great, but not if the base sales level was $10. Common sense rules.

Unquantified statements take up too much space, convince no one, and are not compelling.

You are a General Counsel, a Marketing VP, a CIO – you don’t have numbers to quote? Think again. We all need to demonstrate, as far as we can, that we are not an overhead to be borne by the company but someone that actively contributes to the P&L or shareholder value of the company.

Think numbers. Like pictures, they can save a thousand words. And when your resume should not exceed two pages, a thousand words is important (but that’s another blog).

If you need help in this, call us. It’s what we do.


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Who Will Manage Your Career?

Do you manage your career, or do you wait for a phone call from an executive search firm? Do you wait for opportunities to find you, or do you actively look around to find opportunities?

I have met numerous CEOs who would never dream of selling a subsidiary to the first buyer who showed an interest and offered a reasonable price. No. To maximize shareholder value, they would adopt a process whereby numerous potential buyers are approached, and an auction used to determine the best/highest bidder.

Curiously, most of them, when it comes to their own career, completely overlook such an approach to maximizing their own personal value.  “I can’t”, they say, “because it would mean letting numerous companies know I am available – and that is a message I simply cannot put out. It would look desperate and would put at risk my current job.”

And so it would, if they were mass mailing their resume. So, given no alternative, they manage their career by waiting for the phone to ring – with a call from an executive search firm.

At the highest levels, discretion and professionalism are critical. That is why we, at EA Select, manage the process for the top executive, much like a top-level investment bank manages the sale of a subsidiary for a major company; or a sports agent reaches out to sports teams on behalf of their client athletes.

How do we do this without devaluing our client’s personal brand? We do it by approaching companies with an abbreviated career profile which does not identify our client, but which gives just enough information to alert an employer to someone who has a skill set and achievement record that could be of interest to them. We promote the individual without rocking their boat.

Yes, we actively reach out to them. We are the only membership site to do this. We don’t wait for employers to sign up to our website. We go out to them by email – and we know quite a few, having marketed top level executives for over twelve years.  That makes us a ‘one of a kind’ – which is appropriate, because our clients are ‘one of a kind’ too. They are at the top of their profession – and so, we like to think, are we.


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Senior Executive Recruiting – how efficient is this market?

An efficient market is characterized as one in which prices reflect all available information. The faster that information becomes available, the more efficient the market. Information enables buyers and sellers to find each other, and ultimately it determines price. The high end of executive search and recruitment, however, is subject to natural constraints to the flow of information. To what extent do these impair the efficiency of this market?

The information gap at the high end of executive recruiting, and especially where confidentiality is a critical factor, is a particular issue for successful senior executives. In this market, the ‘transactions’ are largely concluded within the vast ‘unadvertised’ sector. If a role is unadvertised, one must question whether the best available candidates will be identified, and hence a fair contest run and the optimal outcome achieved.

Few markets are perfect, but this one is distinctly lopsided. Information does not flow freely between buyers and sellers. The market is largely driven by the efforts of those looking for executive talent rather than those providing it (executive candidates). The former have a range of tools at their disposal to conduct searches. Executive research, networking, referrals and recommendations, and the talent seeker’s own, sometimes extensive, in-house database. But the candidates have few options. For an executive candidate to take the initiative – to reach out, explore the marketplace and search for opportunities – can be extremely risky, if not impossible. The more senior the candidate, the greater the issue.

Whether for reasons of time, confidentiality, location or opportunity, a successful senior executive candidate is unlikely to be at liberty to advertise their availability, to network with recruiters, to reach out to prospective employers or to leverage their professional network to assist them in a career move. There is no obvious channel, no showcase, for their talent which does not either undermine their personal brand, risk a breach of confidentiality or contravene their current employment conditions.

Therefore what is missing in the dynamic of this market is any natural flow of information from the full range of ‘best’ candidates to those who seek talent. The onus is on the talent seeker to find the executive, but if the executive is not ‘found’ an opportunity is lost – to the detriment of employer and executive alike.

We would like to see senior executive recruiting become a more balanced marketplace – one in which valuable candidate information can be found, protected as necessary, and circulated more efficiently to those who need it. A market in which information is exchanged more quickly and flows in two directions. By opening up a new, secure and confidential channel of communication, EA Select aims to facilitate a small, but important step in that direction.


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