SE­NIOR JOB­SEEK­ERS CHAL­LENGES AND SO­LU­TIONS

BAYT.COM TALKS ABOUT THE DIF­FI­CUL­TIES FACED BY CAN­DI­DATES AP­PLY­ING FOR A SE­NIOR POST, AND OF­FERS AD­VICE ON HOW TO OVER­COME THEM.

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If you look into the near fu­ture and find your­self search­ing for a new job, how do you see your­self go­ing about it? How do you pre­pare for a fast­paced job mar­ket that is con­stantly chang­ing? And how do you make sure you're on top of your game, espe­cially if you're seek­ing a se­nior position?

Se­nior em­ploy­ees can find them­selves in need of new po­si­tions ei­ther be­cause they're look­ing for a change, been laid off, or for other rea­sons that are out of their con­trol. As se­nior em­ploy­ees might be do­ing the hir­ing and fir­ing at their com­pa­nies, they might very well know what they want from an em­ployee. But are they pre­pared for the ta­bles to be turned? Are they ready to be job seek­ers again?

Be­ing a man­ager, it is of­ten hard to find a suit­able new position that is close to the one you al­ready have or had. There are a lot of el­e­ments that go into be­ing a man­ager, whether it's your team, se­nior man­age­ment, hir­ing and fir­ing dis­cre­tion, bud­get­ing, etc. An at­trac­tive job de­scrip­tion, a cool ti­tle, and a gen­er­ous com­pen­sa­tion pack­age are not al­ways suf­fi­cient for se­nior em­ploy­ees.

Through its ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion field, Bayt.com has com­piled some of the chal­lenges that most se­nior em­ploy­ees face when chang­ing jobs, as well as the ex­perts' ad­vice on how to over­come them.

Your ego and other peo­ple’s per­cep­tion

Chal­lenges: You might feel like you've lost your self-es­teem and iden­tity. You may also think that your sit­u­a­tion is an em­bar­rass­ment and that your im­age is now tar­nished. It is hard to go from tak­ing big de­ci­sions and hav­ing ma­jor con­trol to be­com­ing a job­seeker try­ing to im­press and please.

How to over­come them: Keep your ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties go­ing – fam­ily life, fit­ness, hob­bies, etc. It is im­por­tant to recog­nise your worth out­side your job. Now, it is also vi­tal to be open to learn­ing new things and tak­ing small risks and, most im­por­tantly, learn the power of tak­ing baby steps by do­ing things right over and over again. Don't for­get to ask for sup­port when you need it.

Your age and ex­pe­ri­ence

Chal­lenges: You may feel that em­ploy­ers per­ceive you as be­ing too old or “washedup”. You may fear that you won't get hired or won't last for a long time be­cause the com­pany is not will­ing to in­vest in you by us­ing ter­mi­nol­ogy that you're fa­mil­iar with, e.g., “you're overqual­i­fied”. You've been an em­ployer be­fore and you know that a

cul­tural mis­match can be dis­as­trous, so you worry that you're now the one not fit­ting in.

How to over­come them: Draw the at­ten­tion of your em­ployer to­wards your ex­cep­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions, proven re­sults, in­dus­try contacts and ex­pe­ri­ence – not age. In ad­di­tion, know the cul­ture of the com­pany (if no one there is over 35, don't try to get hired at 64). Main­tain and demon­strate your health, vi­tal­ity, en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm, and avoid the “R” word (re­tire­ment) in con­ver­sa­tions. Last but not least, be tech-savvy, up to date, and well in­formed about your in­dus­try and dig­i­tal tools that em­ploy­ers and com­pa­nies use.

More com­pe­ti­tion at the top

Chal­lenge: High-level job open­ings of­ten get a lot of ex­po­sure within your in­dus­try. The more de­sir­able the position, the more peo­ple are fight­ing for it.

How to over­come it: Re­search a com­pany's cul­ture and weak­nesses, un­der­stand both, and sell your­self as the per­son who will turn weak­nesses into strengths. When meet­ing with the de­ci­sion mak­ers, you must demon­strate your abil­ity to pro­duce tan­gi­ble busi­ness re­sults by shar­ing your suc­cess sto­ries.

Se­nior po­si­tions are filled in­ter­nally

Chal­lenges: Staff mem­bers have been work­ing day and night for years at the com­pany and have “paid their dues”. They are al­ready in line to get the top jobs, espe­cially if a big com­pany has clear suc­ces­sion plan­ning. Some com­pa­nies might not want to take the risk of bring­ing an outsider into such an im­por­tant position, so they may favour in­ter­nal can­di­dates.

How to over­come them: Ex­plain how be­ing from out­side can be a strength; you can di­ver­sify the cul­ture and bring a new per­spec­tive. But you must fo­cus your search on com­pa­nies that have a good track record of suc­cess­fully bring­ing in out­side man­age­ment per­son­nel. An­other way to tar­get your search is by ap­proach­ing troubled com­pa­nies that might need your fresh ideas.

Find­ing the right contacts

Chal­lenges: When it comes to hir­ing se­niors, hu­man re­sources is of lit­tle to no help in this re­gard, so the bar­rier of en­try might be much higher. There­fore it is only ap­pro­pri­ate to speak and reach out to C-level ex­ec­u­tives (CEO, COO. CFO, CMO, CTO…etc.), who may feel threat­ened or look at you as their com­pe­ti­tion.

How to over­come them: When you man­age get­ting in touch with se­nior man­agers, talk to them about ways you can help them reach their busi­ness goals. If there isn't a va­cancy at this level, new ones can be cre­ated for top tal­ent by peo­ple at that level. It is also pru­dent to join and en­gage with ex­ec­u­tive net­work­ing pro­grammes, boards of di­rec­tors, and ven­ture cap­i­tal groups. These re­la­tion­ships can be your lever­age with search firms and other pro­fes­sional contacts. Most im­por­tantly, fo­cus on the so­lu­tions you will be bring­ing and the added value you of­fer.

Main­tain­ing a high salary

Chal­lenges: In an un­sta­ble econ­omy, you may find it dif­fi­cult to ask for a huge salary. Some­times, com­pa­nies look at the big num­ber position and get dis­tracted by it so much that they might see no value in hir­ing you. In ad­di­tion, hir­ing some­one at a high level with a high salary of­ten re­quires lots of ap­provals from the board of di­rec­tors, so the process can take a while and is not al­ways suc­cess­ful.

How to over­come them: Be sure you talk to the right peo­ple since the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion mak­ers are your go-to peo­ple. And when you do talk to them, fo­cus on tan­gi­ble re­sults that can be mea­sured in fi­nan­cial terms. That way you can demon­strate why you are worth your high salary. When a con­ver­sa­tion de­vel­ops into a salary ne­go­ti­a­tion, be fa­mil­iar with the mar­ket av­er­age and ob­tain in­for­ma­tion on salaries paid for peo­ple in the position you're seek­ing to fill. More­over, try to ne­go­ti­ate other fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments such as an eq­uity part­ner­ship, rev­enue-based bonus, or a con­tract with terms that can com­pen­sate for lower pay. You can al­ways find a so­lu­tion that sat­is­fies both par­ties. If you fail to do so, then that job is not for you.

Bonus tip:

Some­times, one's life­style can be in­tim­i­dat­ing, so down­play your de­signer clothes and watch, and try to show hir­ing man­agers that money doesn't de­fine you

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