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Key Employer & Candidate Observations: 1st Half 2022

Employer Assessments: Resignations, Levels, Geography, Quality

  • Unexpected resignations continued among the first level of Vice Presidents with higher percentages among the Senior Director and Director positions.

  • Those resigning often leave the industry as well, replanting themselves in adjacent sectors and industries with similar go-to-market and channels environments.

  • Industry sectors experiencing disruption and disintermediation are experiencing the most resignations of C-levels going to other non-competitor industry sectors.

  • C-level resignations often followed by additional resignations - as soon as within the following month - of lower VPs, Senior Directors, or Directors from that same team.

  • Vacant Senior Director and Director positions taking longer to fill or have gone unfilled due to thin local candidate pools being previously over-farmed or assessed as inappropriate, leaving few local talent candidate options.

  • In mid-size metropolitan city geographies, replacing departed mid-level to lower upper-level (VP) executives proving difficult. Local talent is known and exhausted and out-of-area prospects increasingly unwilling to relocate.

  • Applicants via job postings, LinkedIn networking, and employee referrals have decline substantially, with some falling from 200 respondents to 20. Quality of applicants is down, too.

  • In-house employers' recruiters, when faced with looking for talent outside their own industry or geography, are having difficulty understanding other industries and translating that talent pool against, and to attract into, their employer's positions' needs.

Employer Notification, Planning is Up

  • Employers historically retain or alert their executive search consultant only upon the instance a position becomes vacant, be it a surprise resignation, known transfer, or planned termination being concluded. Increasingly, employers are pre-signaling to the search consultant that a change (involuntary termination) is likely to occur within this particular function or business unit within these number of months. Confidentially or blindly, this enables the employer to have a recruiting partner ramping up thinking, research, and networking for fast start upon final notice.


Employer Branding, Candidate Researching

  • Employers' campaigns messaging their organizations as fun, exciting, inclusive, respectful, family-like, and opportunity-plentiful are exploding on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

  • Candidates rely a lot on their own online researching of the prospective team members, which invites inaccurate impressions from nonstandard LinkedIn bio data.

  • CEOs and top executives get noticed "Liking" posts about "this is a good place to work." (While done to encourage current employees and prospects alike, some candidates interpret too much to be a red flag)


Candidates' Assessments

  • Passive job seekers report diminished interest/advantage in applying directly to employers' online openings on LinkedIn and other job posting boards. Increasing connections raises risk of being discovered looking.

  • Candidates who don't have a trusted professional acquaintance at a potential employer are increasingly cautious about entering into direct (no intermediary) discussions.

  • Executives report disappointing, inconclusive, and shallow interactions with the largest executive search firms when approached and/or early-screened by a junior recruiter showing to be barely familiar with their current company, what's involved in being an A-caliber leader, and their client employer's business circumstances. Search partners are subordinating the critical first assessment to the junior-most people in their firms. Candidates get frustrated because they cannot interact as peers and the poor experience reflects poorly on the employer who selected that search consultant or firm's assessment.

  • When prospective candidates don't know an insider with whom they can get due diligence about the hiring manager, team, culture, and business health, they are less motivated to prioritize the company as a career move. These candidates would engage with an unfamiliar employer if able to "de-risk it" via an executive search consultant.

  • Candidates rank a potential new employer less on branding efforts and more on the following, two of which (#2, #3) may require a trusted third party's perspective:

  • 1. reasonable pay

  • 2. a credible, stable, good new superior boss

  • 3. opportunity to grow after joining versus upon entry


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