Random Thoughts

One of the problems in writing a blog is that on periodic occasions, you actually have to write one. After several entries, I’ve found—at least over the short-term—that I’ve run out of insights that merit 500 words or more on a regular basis. I’ve also come to the conclusion that those who are able to consistently churn out content are either a lot smarter than me or are hopelessly deluded narcissists. Given my own narcissistic tendencies, I choose to believe they are more delusional than brilliant.

 

Regardless, I am still faced with the task of either writing this entry or facing the wrath of the Senior Partner in the firm. So, rather than bore you with a well-thought-out analysis of a critical business challenge, I’ll settle for a more flow-of-consciousness series of info bytes on issues that have come up recently in our business. This approach also has the added bonus of one of these nuggets being picked up more broadly in the 140-character world in which we live.

 

So, what’s going on in the world of executive employment?

 

Relocation is becoming more challenging as the market heats up.
In virtually every national search I’ve conducted in the past year, we’ve had to overcome some obstacle around relocation. It simply is the nature of the real estate market that mortgages are underwater and companies refuse to significantly alter their existing relo policies. For candidates, this means understanding the fact that very, very few companies are going to buy your house. For employers, go into a search with a firm idea of what you are willing to do for a candidate who is facing a significant loss on sale. If the answer is “not much,” be prepared to let a few talented candidates go through the course of the search.

 

Anecdotal evidence suggests there has been a recent decline in openings for senior financial positions.
While the market for senior financial executives held up relatively well through the downturn, it has not rebounded at the pace of hiring in other functional areas. In talking with in-transition CFO types, they tell me they’ve seen a dearth of new opportunities over the past several months. Ironically, the cause of this slowdown might be related to the fact that the function was relatively recession-proof; thus, the pent-up demand for senior sales and marketing, general management and human resources executives we’ve seen over the past year doesn’t translate to the finance function.

 

Apple is ruling / ruining my life.
I cannot stop checking my iPhone and iPad! It’s become an obsession. Whenever the things buzz, ring or vibrate, I have to check them. It has gotten so bad that I routinely save email drafts for morning distribution to avoid having the recipient look at the timestamp and wonder why I felt the need to send an email at 1:32 am—or why I was even awake to do so. On a related note, I was out to lunch recently with a client who checked his Blackberry about five times during the meal. If I have done the same to any of you at some point, I apologize profusely.

 

Our clients, by and large, continue to feel good about further strengthening of the economy.
Our clients consistently tell us they are making investments in growth due to continually improving business conditions. And, finally, this improvement appears to be impacting growth in rank and file hiring. Evidence in support comes from the Vice President of Recruitment for one of our global clients who indicated a 500% growth in open job orders at his firm within the past six months. While I feel his pain as a talent acquisition professional, this type of news is great for our economy.

 

So that’s it:  a few random thoughts from the executive recruiting world. Any suggestions for meatier topics for my next entry are greatly appreciated!

John Touey
John is a Principal and member of the SSG management team. He has over 20 years of experience providing executive search, human resources and management consulting services to a broad range of organizations and industries including healthcare, financial services, utilities, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. You can follow John Touey at @JohnTouey on Twitter.

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