The Career Refresh with Jill Griffin

Mastering the Maze of Executive Search: Insider Tips with Kristian Schwartz

October 24, 2023 Jill Griffin, Kristian Schwartz Season 5 Episode 140
The Career Refresh with Jill Griffin
Mastering the Maze of Executive Search: Insider Tips with Kristian Schwartz
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Kristian Schwartz spearheads The Montgomery Group, a boutique search firm he established, specializing in senior-level marketing and media placements. Kristian is a seasoned strategic leader renowned for elevating premier brands through a blend of strategic hiring and consulting expertise. He has extensive experience working on various facets of the industry, and his professional journey includes tenure at renowned companies such as Wired Magazine, Razorfish, and Sapient, where he collaborated with influential Fortune 500 brands like Visa, Verizon, Clorox, Unilever, and Hewlett-Packard. In this episode, we discuss: 

  • Best Practices for Effective Collaboration with Executive Search Partners
  • The Importance of Nurturing Relationships
  • How to find Recruiters
  • Key Elements Sought by Recruiters in Resumes
  • The Crucial Role of Career Strategy
  • Adapting Resume Requirements for Recruiters versus Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Mentioned on the show  Forbes List of America’s Top Recruiting Firms
Get a copy of Kristian Schwartz's Win a Day
HERE

Show guest:
Kristian Schwartz is a seasoned leader with over two decades of experience driving digital transformation and marketing initiatives. Recognizing his knack for spotting transformative talent, Kristian transitioned into executive search at Korn Ferry, rising to Senior Partner in the Integrated and Digital Marketing practice. Presently, he leads The Montgomery Group, a boutique search firm he founded, which specializes in senior-level marketing and media placements. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Microeconomics from the University of Oregon, Kristian, a dedicated father to twin daughters, enjoys activities such as cycling, cooking, and fly fishing.

Follow Kristian Schwartz on LinkedIn

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Jill Griffin is committed to making workplaces more successful for everyone through leadership training and development, team dynamics workshops, and employee well-being programs. Her executive coaching, workshop facilitation, and innovative thinking have driven multi-million-dollar revenues for top agencies, startups, and renowned brands. Collaborating with individuals, teams, and organizations, Jill fosters high-performance and inclusive cultures while facilitating organizational growth.

Visit JillGriffinCoaching.com for more details on:

  • Book a 1:1 Career Strategy and Executive Coaching HERE
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  • Keynote Speaking
  • Grab a personal Resume Refresh with Jill Griffin HERE

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Speaker 1:

Hey friends, this is the Career Refresh and I am your host, Jill Griffin. Today I am introducing you to Christian Schwartz. Christian spearheads the Montgomery Group, which is a boutique search firm he established, specializing in senior-level marketing and media placements. He is a seasoned strategic leader renowned for elevating premier brands through a strategic hiring and consulting practice and expertise. Christian is really unique in that he has sat on all sides of the table, from agency to media publisher, to digital transformation and now executive search. His professional journey includes tenure at renowned companies such as Wired Magazine, razorfish, sapient, and he's also collaborated with influential Fortune 500 brands like Visa, verizon, clorox, unilever and Hewlett Packard.

Speaker 1:

In this episode, we discuss a couple of things, and you're also fine that. There's a one point in the episode where we have a difference of opinion, and I think that's wonderful because there's no one right way to do it. He talks about executive search and the best practices for collaborating with executive search partners, and we also talk about how to identify some of those red flags out there. We tap into the importance of nurturing professional relationships. How to locate recruiters, definitely effective strategies for outreach and getting their attention. The key elements that are sought after in your resume. The crucial role of career strategy and how to adopt your resume based on. Are you doing it through the ATS or you're working with a recruiter? Listen into this episode, as always. If you have questions, email them to hello at jillgriffincoachingcom and we will answer those questions on a future episode. So dig in, have a great week and I'll see you next time. Christian, we're finally doing this. I'm so glad that you are here with me today.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, jill, it's good to be here.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I ask everyone the same question and I want to know from you what did you think you were going to do with your career as you were growing up? What did you want to be?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. When I was very young, I didn't think I was going to have a helicopter for some reason and I would go to work in a helicopter. I really don't know where that came from, but when I graduated this is a little bit of a funny story I wanted something consulting, advertising or marketing. You can drive a bus through that, so yes. So I landed in San Francisco with my resume in my hand and was running literally from agency to agency. I think I had three days of money to tide me over. And I went to an agency and asked for an internship. They said we don't have paid internships and I said I will empty garbage cans for free, I'll do whatever it takes. They took pity on me and the rest is history. And I knew PowerPoint and ironically, that PowerPoint skill allowed me to go from emptying garbage cans, which I never did, but to sitting with the managing director working on new business pitches. So that little known skill paid off.

Speaker 1:

That's actually a really important takeaway for everyone of having a needed skill that you're excellent at. I mean people kind of sometimes poo poo having mastery of Microsoft Office or, if you're on a Mac, of the Apple suite of tools, but having mastery and being able to put together a PowerPoint or a slide deck, know how to do conditional formatting in a pivot table, in an Excel or a Sheets really really important skills.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I would say now, it's probably what AI right to become an absolute master of AI, and if you can walk in and be a junior person which it's really not about age or tenure, it's about knowledge you'll be the master. So it's an exciting time, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So what's also interesting is you and I met more recently, and it's so funny because our careers crossed at so many places. Like you were at Wired Magazine, I was the bi, you were the sell side, right, we should have met at that point when I was an agency. And then, of course, you and I both worked in the same agency network between Razorfish, sapient, which of course is part of the Publisys Group family, also DDB, which is part of the Omnicom family, which I also worked at. So it's funny that you and I only met later, because I'm like don't we already know each other, because we've known each other forever?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there are people on LinkedIn that I see their picture enough to that I feel that I have a relationship with them. It's a LinkedIn relationship, right, when we may never have spoken, but I feel like I may know you and I always like to clarify in the first call. It's like just to confirm we've never spoken before, but I feel like I do so. Yes, but we've crossed paths many times, Many times.

Speaker 1:

All right. So today's topic is about executive search, and this is a cut topic. That I would say is probably the number one question I get either from current clients, who are looking to either move to another job or another role that they see posted or trying to figure out what's next, or if someone reaches out to me, whether they're a client, or reaches out to me for LinkedIn because they're unemployed and they're trying to figure out how do they crack the executive search, that executive search recruiter type person, how they crack it, and this is your expertise. So I want to start with first, let's ground in how does executive search work if you're the employee, and then also, as we talk today, let's talk about what employers need to know and why working with an outside executive search recruiter is so beneficial. But let's start with the employee first, yeah, that's perfect.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a little bit of a mystery. I don't think it needs to be a mystery, quite frankly. I'm not sure people it's a mystery on purpose, but it's pretty simple and it's the most basic form. My clients so an employer will come to me with a brief and with a specific scope for me to search for specific talent for them, and it could be building a team, it could be for an individual, and so I am paid by the client to find them talent, and there are different ways to get paid. We'll spare the making of the sausage, but on very rare occasion I will have someone say do I pay you? And it's like no, no, no, you never pay someone like me. And what's especially interesting is this has come up a few times this year is that incredibly senior, well-respected people that I know have had companies approach them and say, for example, jill, I have an incredible network. I've noticed that you're looking. If you pay me, can help you find your next role. I fell out of my chair when I heard that.

Speaker 1:

I mean, is it guaranteed? Are you on deck until you find it? Jill, it was crazy that would be the equivalent of me guaranteeing an employee or client a job. I will guarantee that you will change your life and you will change your approach to your career, your strategy, your networking, your interviewing process. But I am not in the room with you. I cannot guarantee you're getting a job.

Speaker 2:

There you go, and these are SVP C-level people that were approached and I fell out of my chair. And what's even crazier is I went and took a look at the companies that were promising this and I think we had two connections in common. So it's fair to say there's a lot of snake oil, but in the most simplistic form, clients pay me, I go out and I find talent for them and essentially what I do is I spend my day speaking with pretty much anybody and everybody in the advertising and marketing business. So this way, when my clients call me, then I have an active role of decks of people that I can reach out to.

Speaker 1:

And you also then know the marketplace conditions, because you're talking to lots of people. You know what's going on in the marketplace. Your ear is to the ground, figuratively.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and I think the key thing here is, by way of the model that I shared, executive search can skew transactional. I'm not a fan of that because when you think about the economics, it's if I'm paid by my client to work on an active search to find a specific person. If somebody else falls outside of that mix, is their economic incentive to speak with that person? Generally, the answer is no. That's not my belief, but a lot of people don't. My belief is and I really believe this is that my clients pay the bills. Right. My clients are the ones that fuel my business but, quite honestly, it's the network which is the net worth. That is my asset and I try to, I really try to speak with anybody and everybody, and it may sound crazy, but I go back and I track my searches at the end of the year and I look at the source. I look at the beginning of the conversation Could be new, where new clients came from. But I reflect back and I have to say it's amazing how many conversations could have just not happened. Right, we're speaking with someone that fell outside of an active search. We had a conversation and, lo and behold, those are generally the people where lightning hits and it's just quite it's amazing when that happens. So it's look, it's all about relationships and it's all about fit, but fits a whole another. We'll talk about that in a minute Fits a whole another topic.

Speaker 2:

The other thing too is can I tell this to candidates where you know, for example, I may work on, for example, 25 searches in any given year. I have a network of maybe 10,000 people. So if you do the math, it's nearly impossible to have a role for everybody at any one given time. I would tell people that because if, for example, jill, let's say I don't have a role for you for the next, it could be for the next 18 months it's not for lack of love, but rather because I would love to have a role for you, because that's how I feed my family. But it's really about the right role at the right time and being the right fit.

Speaker 2:

But I think the key thing is there are also a lot of other things that come from the relationship outside of that, which it could be, to your point, of industry information. It could be people. I have people call me on a regular base and say hey, christian, I found a search through another means. I'm actively engaged. I'm in the process of negotiating. Can you help me? I'd love to. I'd love to help somebody out.

Speaker 1:

So it's really yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's a two-way street. It's about feeding that relationship, where I found that this year a lot of people have been caught out, didn't have relationships with people like me and it's hard to start at ground zero, and I think the key thing is to find the executive search we'll call them a partner that's the right fit for you and to feed and to nurture and to grow that relationship.

Speaker 1:

It's very much for the long term, but that's like anything, though right, whether it's going to the gym, maintaining your health, maintaining your mind with a coach, working with a therapist right, you want to have these relationships warm and working so that you're not coming at it in a panic when, all of a sudden, you find yourself in a position either that you there's a change in leadership in your company and you want to leave, or you hear about a job that's being recruited for but you don't know the recruiter, or maybe you're unemployed and you're trying to get re-employed and you're trying to find that.

Speaker 1:

So the importance of making sure that you are building a part of networking and I love what you talked about about the part about it being transactional. When I talk to many of my recruiter friends, it's the same thing it's not transactional. I know it may feel like it's transactional and the ones that are making it transactional are probably not going to succeed in the long run, but that goes for the employee as much as it goes for the recruiter. You keeping that relationship with the recruiter throughout your career is really important, and also, maybe being helpful and introducing them to other people or like so, helping on both sides as much as you want to stay top of mind to them. You want to be also hit where possible, feeding them names or feeding them information to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's funny you mentioned that because it's not every conversation and not every action needs to have, nor should it have a dollar sign attached to it, and it's not uncommon for a live, regular touch basis with my clients outside of searches and we speak about the industry, or it's not uncommon for them to call and say we're speaking with X person.

Speaker 2:

We would love your perspective, I would love to give my perspective. It takes 20 minutes and I'm, quite frankly, I'm honored and I think it's important to do that, because if you predicate everything with a dollar sign to your point of being transactional, then you become that person and it's very much. It's really about consulting and I think it's about fit and a rising tide to lift all boats because and I really believe this it's not the day the person starts that you say, okay, great, that's a win. Yes, that's a win, but it's, you know, for example, I emailed someone last week that I placed, who had been in her role for seven years. That's a win, that's amazing. And she's grown, she's in succession planning, she's been promoted multiple times. It's like, wow, that's really amazing to have a hand in that.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, that's the I love. I love that kind of seeing the person grow in that way and that you help them get there. And now they've been in a longer term relationship with their company for seven years and they're growing accordingly. So people who are listening to us right now are like, okay, you know, jill and Christian, this is all nice and it sounds great, but like I feel tapped out at my company. I don't see any more growth here and I know that I want to start networking and start getting out there, but I don't know how to get the attention of executive crewers. So what's the advice to them? How do I, how do I find the executive recruiters? And then how do I get on their radar?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a good question. I would say I have a two-part answer for that. I think one is when you're tapped out what to do and what not to do, but I think the other is how to find someone like me, and what I always tell people is to find people that you trust and respect in the business that are in similar roles. For example, I don't work on any creative roles, so if you were to have a conversation with the creative recruiter and say who do you trust and respect, my name would never come up because I don't do that.

Speaker 2:

So let's say you are a managing director of an agency in New York or a VP of brand for a client side role Great, my name could come up, and I think it's a matter of just reaching out to that person and saying I would like to have a conversation with you, and on occasion I will receive introduction notes that are three sentences, which I love brevity, and on occasion I will receive some which are three paragraphs, which, quite frankly, makes my head explode, and I think it's just people that are purposeful and mindful with their career. I will always take a conversation with that person. Versus some people, you can tell that it's a cut and paste and it's a spray, and pray to every recruiter if they could find, and it's just, it's very attitudinal so ask people that so are they actually searching executive recruiter in LinkedIn, like how are they even finding that you exist?

Speaker 2:

It's a good question. To be completely honest, I don't know. So much of what I do is through referrals. 99% of what I do is through referrals and I would say I have probably far more through referrals than through inbound, and part of it is it's not that I don't want inbound, but it's. There could almost be so much inbound.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you need to be a clearinghouse. You wouldn't be able to sort through that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah that it can be tough, but I would say I think the most important thing is people will call me and say I'm looking and maybe they haven't had a chance to look for a new role because they've been happier, they've been completely slammed for the past five years. What I always told them is the last thing you want to do is take the first role that comes your way, because it's too easy to be in your role. You're upset, you're having a bad month. A new role comes in through inbound and it's new. That's a real big dangerous. It's a recipe for disaster. The real question is what do I want to do next?

Speaker 2:

What I always tell people is reach out to people like me, reach out to other people that you've worked with colleagues. It's very similar to a discovery exercise. Which is what is out there? It's a question of what is out there, but I think the more important question is and it goes to lifestyle design which is what do you want? Where are you at in your life stage? Where are you at in your career stage? It's only when you can have alignment of all of those items that you will truly be able to make an accurate read. I sometimes speak with people before an offer is presented and it's like stop, if it was you, jill, jill, is this the right role? Let's really talk about that. I think that's what sets people up for long-term success.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that. Just to recap, I'll tell anyone again that there's two parts One from finding recruiters. Yes, absolutely you can go into LinkedIn search advanced search if you're paying for LinkedIn. There are abilities to search a little bit deeper. If you're not paying for LinkedIn, you can still do some searches, but searching both on job title and also if you do a search. Forbes has a list of the top 100 executive recruiting firms. Really, those are the I need to be on that.

Speaker 2:

Why am I not on that?

Speaker 1:

Well, that's what I was going to say Okay, I didn't know it existed.

Speaker 1:

Really interesting the things that are going to be on Forbes. You're going to see the coin fairies. You're going to see the large, large organizations that are working with some of the big conglomerates in global roles. However, you're missing the entire side of the market that maybe is in companies that aren't necessarily Fortune 50 or Fortune 100 companies. You're missing, for instance, the advertising industry world or marketing or brand side. They may or may not be using one of those recruiters. They may be using someone much closer to the source, like Christian, who is going to know the talent pool in the major markets in the United States that are people for anything from, as you said, media, marketing, brand, brand strategy, whereas we may call someone else who's going to know. It makes me think of the firm K and Black. Hillary Black has been a friend of mine for years. K and Black specializes in the creative side of the business, that's, your copywriters and your creative directors. Finding that one is both LinkedIn then also going to Forbes.

Speaker 1:

The second thing you said I think is really important about doing the work. This is where my relationship with recruiters has been so strong over the years of me doing this executive coaching and career strategy is because one. I'm working with people to let's really define that career, because the faster they can have a conversation with someone an executive recruiter and be clear, it means that the executive recruiter doesn't have to do that heavy lifting. Because you're not a coach, you're an executive recruiter. You're the other side of things Figuring out what is it that you value, how do you want to work, are there industries or jobs or geographies that you would want to explore? Doing all that work first so that you are primed and ready, so that when you call an executive recruiter going back to brevity, yes, now you are efficient. You are like Christian. This is who I am. This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for. I'm open to other things, but I need a little help from you to help me know what's out there in the market right now.

Speaker 1:

That dance again of one doing the pre-work, doing the career strategy work and then being ready and primed so that the executive recruiter can then take you from there and put you in front of people. Executive recruiters always say to me that they love working with my people because they're ready, their resumes are pristine, they're ready, they have their story is down and they're ready to go, which is really, really important to the process. Again to your point it's supply and demand. If I have to spend a lot of time prepping you as an executive recruiter, I don't know if you're ready yet to meet this client. You've got some work to do. I may not put you in front of a client. That's where the two sides of it come together so beautifully.

Speaker 2:

I love that you mentioned career strategy. That is so important. I think people spend more time on their taxes each year than their career strategy and nobody enjoys doing their taxes. It's just so important where. What's next, what is that? I think that's just so important.

Speaker 1:

Next is an OE's trajectory of we all love to see that hockey stick up and to the right. Next isn't always that. Sometimes next is laddering. Sometimes next is acquiring the skill that you want or need because you know ultimately you want to be on that chart up and to the right. You want to be the CMO, you want to be a CEO, you want to get to the C-suite great. But sometimes we need to take steps in between in order to get those skills and have real proof of concept in the person, so to speak.

Speaker 2:

Look, I agree with that 1,000%. I don't know if this is a good segue, but there are traits I keep a running list of when I speak with people. Couple of times a week. I will end a call and it's like, wow, someone will just blow me away. I try to reflect back. It's like, what is it about that person?

Speaker 2:

And I have found that it's people that are just so authentic and curious and humble where they recognize it's not about this I have to level up, but it's more of what is my curiosity as a North Star. And it's people. If you think of skills as swim lanes right, there's one swim lane that will always be your dominant lane, but I find people that may have taken time to swim in the adjacent swim lanes. The perspective that those people bring is amazing and that just goes to what you were saying with the lateral. I find they just have perspective and they're so much more well-rounded and I think the other two things.

Speaker 2:

And just to go back to what some of these people that just really blow me away they're very comfortable saying no to what they don't want. Right, where some people will hear about a role, and it's a role and they're really interested in the role. But the question is, is it the right role? But I think part of it too is just knowing when to say no and when it's the right fit or the wrong fit, and also just kind of knowing their worth right Of what they're willing to accept and not accept. And I hope this isn't too vague, but I find that sometimes there's this person that just has such a strong sense of authentic self and curiosity that it's just such an incredible magnet versus other drivers that may be in place.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what I'm hearing there again is career strategy. Which I look at is strengths, skills, beliefs and overall values. Right, so values both on what you want professionally, but also how do those values impact your personal life. So that's what I look at as career strategy. Then I look at people's non-negotiables life, work balance, the kind of hours. Are you going to be on the road 20% of the time? Maybe that's doable. Are you going to be on the road 50% of the time? Maybe that's not doable.

Speaker 1:

What's the hybrid of remote work to working in the office?

Speaker 1:

How does that fit within? What are your non-negotiables there? And then really, really looking at the more tactical and tangible bulk he things right, like making sure you're networking, making sure you're nailing your career narrative. If you're taking a laddering role, because it's part of it, well then you better know how to tell your career narrative, which is the work that I do deeply with my clients, so that they are able to say to someone like you, christian, hey, by the way, I did this and I did this, here's why, here's what I created, here's why it fits, versus just being there and sort of playing, like you know, like interview bingo, where you're like trying to hit on keywords and phrases and everyone's like.

Speaker 1:

You said a lot of things. I've actually no idea why you just said right. So it's really making sure that you have your strategy down, you have your non-negotiables that you're clear on, and then, lastly, how you're nailing that career narrative Really important, okay. So we've talked a bit about how to work with this executive search partner. We've talked a bit about why you'd want to work with an executive search partner. So when you are reviewing a resume, what do you look for?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. I have a document which I will share with you, which you can post, and it's how I review a resume. Here's the key thing typical disclaimer 10 people will review resumes 10 different ways and give feedback. At the end of the day, it's you and your brand that wins the day. If you start to take everybody's feedback, then your brand will become something different. What I think is amazing is there's research and I'll be honest, I probably mapped to this People spend seven seconds. I heard that.

Speaker 1:

Six seconds.

Speaker 2:

Look, it's about brevity, first and foremost. It's about brevity and it's about telling an impactful story. I really just want to know the facts and the accomplishments. I want to know your story emphasis on story, because you're an executive level leader. It's about your story and your accomplishments. Period One page, I love. It's really hard. Two pages is probably the most common. Three pages make it two pages.

Speaker 2:

It's really about and I think one of the most important things is and I'll give an example, I'll tell a story is somebody that I've known forever sent his resume and said Christian can give me feedback. I said this is great, but the entrepreneurial motivated marketer technically the intern is that person that you just described and he got bent out of shape. I said stop, you've worked with and I rattled off all of the Fortune probably Fortune 100 brands that he's worked with. I said the intern can't claim that he's like. You're right. That's what you need to lead with, which is really what is going to set the hook to get the person to say I want to read more. It's not an entrepreneurial motivated marketer, but it's a fill-in-the-blank role, working with top tier brands, having made X accomplishments, maybe overseeing X budget Wow, that's impressive. I'm going to read more.

Speaker 1:

I also like to think about it, like I love the way you just put that span of showing the difference. I also like to think about it as why are you the solution for their problem? You don't necessarily know all the details of what the challenges are within the role until you actually talk to the hiring manager. Right, yes, but in general, if you are applying for a marketing role at a major consumer brand package goods, fast-moving consumer goods if you're our international audience, you kind of know what the challenges are going to be. So, being able to tell a story very quickly where someone's skimming right, Because no one reads, they all skim, they're skimming to be able to show why you're the solution to my problem. Now I'm reading deeper.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, did you solve the business problem? Yes, and you know directionally what the problem is and did you solve the problem? And then to provide some results for how you solved said problem, 1000%. I'm also really big on what I call foundation or progression, similar to what we were talking about with the lateral move. Right, where did this person come from? Or maybe they began their career in management consulting Great, what a wonderful foundation. Maybe they pivoted into a brand management program Great. Were they promoted when they were in management consulting, knowing it's up or out, great.

Speaker 2:

That helps to provide some context. Were they promoted in their peer group when they were within CPG and then brand management program? Wow, I'm impressed. Right, and you can see the progression of that person and it's the building of those skills in the tool set where, for example, let's say, it's a role that's heavily focused on transformation. If that person spent the foundational years in management consulting, honing in their skills, that will serve them so incredibly well. So I think it's that and this is where it's a little bit of an art versus a science. What is that mix of skills in relation to the role?

Speaker 2:

I also look at history of I mentioned history of promotions. I also look at 10 year, 10 years, great 10 years of mixed bag, where I know some people that have had phenomenally long 10 year and it's funny because some companies will almost look down upon that. Where are they a lifer, which is not always the case, ironically, some people have had incredibly short 10 year, no fault of theirs, and I try to dig into that as much as possible and I always give the person the benefit of the doubt, because great people have been in situations beyond their control and by no means should that be held against them. I just think the key thing is to, if you've had short 10 year, just own it.

Speaker 2:

Just own it. It's going to happen and to own it versus if it turns into a spin in a long discussion. Then there's something there, and I also look at, obviously, accomplishments. What was this person able to do in the role and were they able to have significant and long standing results under his or her leadership?

Speaker 1:

And the impact they created. So there's the results. And then what happened as a result of the results? Tell me what the impact is. Tell me that because you, you know, we're on the team that helped make that product or service super successful. What then happened next? We expanded the product, we were able to hire more staff, we were able to grow the business. What happened next? And follow through with the story.

Speaker 2:

And one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says my team. I want to rip my eyeballs out when I say that, because it's the team.

Speaker 1:

It's not your team, it's unless you're the CEO and it's a privately held company.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, and I'm also not a fan of some people put the text brick with all of their skills and I see that quite a bit and I'm not a fan of that, because if the skill is not applied, it's a list, and a list is just that, where I want to see the skills that are applied.

Speaker 1:

So I love this because I want to challenge and have a conversation about that. If I'm working with an executive recruiter partner, I don't need that. If I'm hacking through the ATS, if I don't have a list of skills, even if I hand you my resume because you're not a recruiter, right? If I hand you a resume and say, hey, christian, can you get this over to your boss, that resume is still going into the ATS and then I'm going to be cataloged, cataloged, cataloged. Excuse me, in the database you don't have a list of skills or keywords and phrases. I don't have an advocate that's my only advocate to get through. I think if you're working with a recruiter, sure you could probably delete that. If you're not, I don't know what are your thoughts.

Speaker 2:

One, okay, 1,000%.

Speaker 1:

Now the whole We've aligned everyone.

Speaker 2:

Yes, 1,000%. However, the whole ATS is a black box mystery to me and, I think, to the world, quite frankly. And there was one experience that I do want to share, and this was a couple of years ago. Technology may have improved, but a CEO of a company which I will not mention reached out, and so we and this is a very well-known company in the ATS world and so we would like for you to try our technology so you can use it to review candidates. Great, I don't think ATS will ever, I would say, be better than my artistic ability, but the moment I believe that, then that's when I become replaceable.

Speaker 2:

So I took the last 10 searches that I worked on and I uploaded the job specs and I uploaded the 10 candidates that were placed into those roles to essentially get a quote percentage fit number for each person. No score came back. I had to pull the exact number it was low, 30%. Oh geez, and essentially saying none of these people are fit, yeah, and so I responded back to the CEO and I said, kind of, you know, hey, with all due respect, I think there may be a problem with your software, and I think this actually could be a disservice to job seekers, because it's called the bias.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and who is writing the algorithm? And you know, let's just say I received a very kind of non-friendly response, but it's a real problem.

Speaker 1:

It is a problem.

Speaker 2:

It's Go ahead, go ahead.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna say it's a problem and it's the reality of the world we're working in right now, where I wish I could tell everyone listening to ignore it. You can't ignore it. So you're going to continue to have to stay, like mastering how to use AI right, spending time in there. You're also gonna have to spend time in the ATS. There are quite a few services out there that will read your resume for free and give you tips. You may wanna consider those. You may also not wanna consider those. You're going to have to work through the ATS. Obviously, if you can get yourself on the radar of an executive recruiter partner, that would be an amazing way to go, because they can tell you that.

Speaker 1:

But you know, it's one of the things that I'm just gonna keep banging on the drum about, where there is such an inherent bias, inherent racism, ageism, ableism in the ATS. Come at me, bro, if you wanna argue with me. I'm gonna say, yeah, you know what I mean. I'm gonna say hundreds of people I've worked with that weren't quote suitable, come on, but it is right. So what we need is we need people to listen to this. We need leaders who work at their company to say it can't be the only thing. I understand it does some of the heavy lifting for the people who are the in-house, you know, hr department, benefits department and recruiters. I understand it does some lifting. It can't be the only thing, because they are incredibly biased, incredibly biased.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's tough. I don't envy job seekers In those cases. What I've found is a lot of senior roles are being posted this year. Companies are trying to reduce their executive search budgets because there is an abundance of talent. I understand kind of the one side of that.

Speaker 2:

I think that's not without its flaws, but I do think the challenge is how do you get in front of the hiring manager? And I think it always comes back to your network at the end of the day, where after that, if I know someone, there's a line off the door to get into the party. And if you know somebody and you can get in at the front of the velvet rope, great, and it's someone you know. And I'll be honest, I love referrals. Referrals are always the best. People aren't gonna refer anyone. That's not strong, but it's just and it goes back to and I think the key thing is feeding your network where it's. Some people are very shy to network and I think part of it is it doesn't need to be sleazy and it shouldn't be sleazy, but it's very much about a two-way street and it's very much, for example, jill, how can I help you? How? And it's about helping and it's not even helping. I think it's just support when it's not caring.

Speaker 1:

It has to be reciprocity and going back to where we started. It's not about a transaction. No, you know, recently, on a podcast that just dropped, I had another executive recruiter talk about how an employee ultimately went with a different job and it was an in-house recruiter and they posted on LinkedIn that they got a new job and they never circled back to that recruiter. We all know that there are definitely a lot of ghosting situations, but that was such a lost opportunity for that young individual to go back to that the other company and say listen, I just wanna let you know I'm taking another job. Thank you so much for this experience. I'd love to stay in touch, but instead they only read about it on LinkedIn and they never replied. So there's just such a lost opportunity. And everyone if you could see Christian right now, he's like he's like mushing together his eyebrows and rubbing his brow because he's so stressed by hearing Like it's such a lost opportunity.

Speaker 2:

Well, and I think the biggest thing is is it what is the right role for that person in their career? And if that new role is the right role, by all means good for you. Right, that is what wins the day. But I think to your point of it's the relationship. I mean, that's where we, as humans, fall down. We get busy.

Speaker 2:

I try to follow it with everybody, I and on rare occasion, when it falls through the cracks and it's going to happen, I will profusely apologize because I think it has become so acceptable to ghost and it's just not acceptable. And I also think that we need to provide more feedback. The feedback is so incredibly important and I understand there's the reluctance to provide feedback, but if someone's not a fit for a role, I have no problem saying, for example, jill, and I'll say it just like this, and it's true, you could do the role, but is it the right role for you? Or is it truly the right fit for my client, given their challenge right? And my client is looking for the? I say perfect, with air quotes and I think, versus giving up a kind of squishy, I'll get back to you.

Speaker 1:

And.

Speaker 2:

I've never had someone be upset when I phrase it that way, and they may push back, yeah, but I think legal departments everywhere are going wait, you can't say that.

Speaker 1:

So here's the thing for anyone who's in that position. One you need to talk to your HR and legal department and make sure that you're within whatever your company guidelines are right. That's a no brainer. That's the obvious. Two is it is never about the chemistry or the non-measurable attributes about the person. If it is, guess what, that's your bias, what?

Speaker 1:

it has to be about is you know what, christian, we loved your resume, but we really need someone who has XYZ capability or skills, and we found someone who was really really able to deliver on those things right. So it's skill-based, capabilities-based. It's not something that's soft and squishy and not really measurable, because, again, that's your bias, folks.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the other thing and again, if I'm going on a complete segue with this, please call me out, but I think part of it is I will have a very honest conversation with my client when we kick off a search, which is a lot of searches that I work on are complex, they're transformational. There's an incredibly long list of requirements. It would be unfair for me to say I'm gonna be able to capture all of this in one single person. For you. That's not possible. And I'm very clear with my clients where we may find three quarters of what we're looking for, we may not find that remaining 25%. However, the candidate that is hyper curious and motivated will close that gap.

Speaker 2:

The key thing, too, is that person is bringing adjacent skills. So, in a sense, a unicorn is made right and it's by. I don't think unicorns are found. They're very much grown and they're very much made, and it requires confidence, because is this person perfect for the role? Nobody will ever know the answer to that, and if they say they know the answer, they're not telling the truth, but I think part of it's. Do we have enough information to give us strong indicators that this person is right? In that case, the answer I think the answer is yes, and I've found some of the best work that I've done for clients. They understand that and it's amazing how we've partnered and just had phenomenal success together.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it's tough. It's tough. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Okay. So two last questions that I wanna ask you. The first is how would you recommend and I know if you have an executive recruiter, they're gonna help you with this, but for anyone's listening now that may not have that how do you answer the question? What is your compensation requirements? What do you, as an expert in this area, recommend?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's funny you say that because the it's a slippery slope and who goes first? Is it a game of poker? And what I always try to do is just to make it very comfortable and almost kind of make it not a joke out of it. But just you know, look, you're in a safe space. It sounds cheesy to say that, but I think it's really what. What's your compensation requirement? And I think the key thing is, for example, jill, if I was having that conversation with you, until we discuss the role, until you meet the client and discuss the role, it's really hard to determine what the compensation could or should be, because sometimes roles Sometimes they are what they are great roles can also size up. So in some sense it's a, it could be a range. But what I'm trying to figure out from that very first conversation is Are you even in the ballpark? And if you're, if you're way above the ballpark, jill, this is the wrong role for you. You got, you got a key. You got to keep looking to find a bigger role.

Speaker 2:

Conversely, on rare occasion I will speak with someone and their compensation is phenomenally low, and in that case I love giving coaching of stop. You need to revise that answer because you are putting yourself far below Market and this is how we need to adjust it. But it's really. I'm transparent with my client and where the range is, and I look for the same with someone on what where they're looking to be, and what I've found through that is I have never found for there to be a gap or for people to not be aligned when push comes to shove and when the offer arrives.

Speaker 2:

Now, what you never want to do is a candidate is to change the goalpost at the 11th hour. That is. That is bad and it happens on very rare occasion. But I think it's about giving approximations and being transparent, because if you're looking for X and you say X plus 100, you're not gonna get X plus 100, so why throw it out there? Yeah, I think I think a lot of it is to do your research, or I have no problem if someone asked me and they say I'm looking for this, what are your thoughts? I would welcome that. A little bit of vulnerability and honesty goes a long way. So I take a very kind of hold hands approach to it, where I think some people are much more kind of Hard-nosed and want a number and I just, I don't think the world works like that.

Speaker 1:

Okay, okay, good, love it. Okay, the last one. So you and I have talked about this before, about sometimes, in the effort to be direct and bold, and employee might say you know what's what's preventing me from being in this role or what's preventing me from your top pick, and like I get the Sentiment but you and I also talked about, oh, it feels assumptive, but also it's like a negative that you're putting a negative out there.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, brilliant way of flipping the switch on that. Tell everyone what you think someone should stay in set.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's a matter of you know, I mentioned that a person's a 75% fit Great, you know where are they at 75% fit? It's the same point for, you know, jill, we could have five of these podcasts and I wouldn't be able to cover my entire career experience. But I think part of it is if you're the candidate, how do you gain control of that? And it's really flipping the question and saying we've had limited time. Based on that limited time in our discussion of the role and your understanding of my experience, is there an experience that's missing that you would like me to speak to? That's required for this role? Because and I think here's the key thing is I used to have clients come back to me and say Christian, I love Jill, but Jill didn't have x experience. Fair, my next question is did you ask the candidate that question? The answer, and I believe, was no, and Ironically, the candidate would often have that experience. So I just think it's a.

Speaker 2:

I think the way I like to see it as my job is to put the candidate in front of the client, for those two To have a very fair and honest conversation and, to the extent that I can begin to remove myself from that process, with those two communicating very directly. That's what it's about, because it's about a relationship and I think if the candidate can ask that question, it may be. You know, jill, I wish you had x experience and you may say I don't have it. Can that be learned? For the most part, yes. You could also say I don't have that experience. How important is that to the role? In which case you find out it's 50% of the role and you may say, whoa, this is not the right role for me. So I think it's very much about the candidate not only determining their fit but, also Is it a fit to their career path.

Speaker 2:

So I think it goes. It goes both ways.

Speaker 1:

Okay, okay, I love it. Christian, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I am going to put your your tips that you mentioned in the show notes that everyone can get a copy of those or know where to get a copy those. They can read it and this was awesome and you know what. What we'll do is, as we always get questions come in, as those questions come in for Christian or myself, we can always bring Christian back and have another conversation and follow up and do like a little FAQ episodes. Everyone, thank you so much for listening again to this week's episode. As always, send us your questions at hello at JillGriffinCoachingcom, and we'll see you next time. Thank you.

Executive Search in Career Development
Finding Executive Recruiters and Networking Strategies
Resume Review and Job Application Strategies
Feedback, Hiring, and Compensation Tips