Recruiters tell us that although the extensive restructurings, downsizings, and consolidations during the 90’s lessened the bias against the unemployed senior executive, still remains. In fact, they continue to advise confidentially that in any given slate of proposed candidates, less than 1 in 5 are unemployed. Further recruiter’s say they agree to meet with less than 1 in 10.
Corporations have the same bias against the unemployed executive as well. Why? Because being unemployed raises many questions about the employability of the senior executive who is out of work. Why are you unemployed? Didn’t get along with your boss? Had trouble fitting in with the corporate culture? Under performed? History of job-hopping? These questions do not come up when recruiters first consider the credentials of employed executives. So what should you do to find the executive jobs?
Find part-time consulting employment
Position yourself to the job market as a consultant who can partner with a target hiring authority to solve specific business problems that you have successfully addressed and fixed during your career.
An assignment as an interim manager is preferable to consulting, interim VP of Marketing for example, because you are normally given a title, empowered to implement your strategies, and allowed greater breadth of interaction within the company. The strong impression to the job market is that you were deeply involved with a significant company project, which gave you the opportunity and added experience to not only develop alternative solutions to a problem or problems, but also had to gain buy-in to coordinate and implement them.
Secondly, you can market yourself as a consultant. As consultants do not usually get to implement their ideas, this experience usually carries less weight among hiring authorities and recruiters than more formalized interim assignments. However, pure consulting is still a substantive activity that validates your market value.
The advantages of interim management and consulting:
- Provides needed income.
- Strengthens self-esteem. Confirms that someone is willing to hire you, recognizing your considerable business skills and experience.
- Management and consulting assignments can lead to full time job offers up to 40% of the time.
- Establishes substantive work experience during the job transition period, which helps avoid the bias questions cited earlier.
- Demonstrates that you have current ongoing relevant value in your sector.
- Allows you to get to know the organization well enough to decide if you want to join them on a full time basis if a job is offered.