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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Managing A Confidential Executive Search

15 Feb 2010 9:17 PM | Anonymous

By John O'Connor

When you have decided to make a career move at the executive level, issues impacting your search may be different than other job seekers, especially if you are still currently in an executive position. You must know the special issues that surround this kind of search. Here are three tips that should not be ignored in an executive confidential search:

1. Watch Yourself - Know Who You Can Trust: Not all contacts, recruiters or friends may have your best interests in mind. Be very careful who you tell that you are interested in making a transition. An example comes to mind--a senior executive talked to some neighbors and acquaintances at a party in his home about several area companies. Weeks later a friend said "I heard you were looking - what's up?" That shocked my executive contact. He said to me: "I didn't think I had to watch myself." You do.

2. No Sloppy Posts or Fishing Expeditions: Many executives and more than you might believe throw out some bait on websites, blogs and search engines. One example I have found through the years is that executives in transition try to disguise their resumes and put them into online sites. Most recruiters can tell by reading your content where you work. Good work. Your company can find out. Other executives create new patterns and really dust up digital footprints that can be tracked and people who don't need to know but may want to know.

3. Watch Big Changes in Your Schedule (Others Are): Nothing tips off people more than clear or radical schedule or behavioral changes. One executive I coached wanted to immediately reduce time at work and start networking in groups he hadn't been active in for years. He said: "If I am ready I am ready." We had to invest a couple of hours in convincing him to ease into his new networking schedule so as not to alert others who, for now, didn't need to know.

If you are an executive looking for your next move, don't incur unnecessary suspicion. As an executive career coach and outplacement partner to many executives, I advise a carefully thought-out, intentional process, so that you can remain confidential in your pursuit of your next meaningful work.

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