Working at the top level in senior IT roles

Top tips for top-level job hunting

One of my friends has recently enlisted my assistance as a recruitment agent. As an experienced senior director of a company, he has been in his role for a while and has really only changed organisations a couple of times in his career when he has been head-hunted by clients. Now that his circumstances have changed and he is looking specifically for a role closer to home, he has found that sitting around waiting to be headhunted might not be the best option.

Traditional ‘Headhunting’ is less common than it used to be. Yet many people operating at a senior level are suspicious of using recruitment agencies – they might have horrible memories of filling in forms for unprofessional consultants with very little prospect of actually finding a job back in the early days of their career – and that’s no great surprise. Most of us have had our time wasted by poor agencies at some stage. But a carefully selected recruitment agency can really help you to find your next senior appointment – and here’s why.

  • Placing you at a senior level with one of their clients is highly beneficial to them – whether you become the person that hires IT staff or the one that controls the purse strings, if they prove themselves to be reliable and pro-active during the process of finding you a role, they will be keen for the relationship to continue as you begin to recruit staff in your new position. And they won’t want to let you down.
  • Industry knowledge is critical to you finding a new role – as an agency we often work with candidates at a senior level who despite their expertise have not had to attend interviews or even write a CV for many years – and these are increasingly important skills as you climb the ladder. A good agency can help you to tailor your CV and give you feedback on your interview technique.
  • Client knowledge is also important. A good agency will understand their clients’ businesses and will know the kind of people that will fit in well, as well as the kind of people that have been successful there in the past. Getting to know you as well will give them an insight into your management style and consequently the kind of environment that might suit you.
  • And finally, a good agency will have success via repeat business – their clients will use them again and again because they have proved themselves in the past. This might mean that the client has an exclusive recruitment partnership with them – so trusting them with your application might be the best way to get the attention of the decision maker within the business.

The key is to select your agency carefully – do your research first. Look for local agencies that specialise in your area of technical expertise, so you can meet with them to discuss potential opportunities. Speak to a consultant in the first instance. Do they sound convincing? If they think they can be of assistance they will set up a meeting with you as the next step. This is a route that many senior executives are taking now to secure their next role, and it could work for you too.