It’s widely accepted that one of the most significant placements in Executive Search history was the recruitment of John Sculley from PepsiCo to Apple by Gerry Roche of Heidrick and Struggles.
My colleague Jason Starr had the great pleasure of meeting Gerry when he was gracious enough to speak at a conference that we ran with Bob Benson a couple of years ago. Gerry talked of the significance of this search for both his career and the wider industry. It was a topic he returned to in an interview with Scott Scanlon and Chris Hunt at Hunt Scanlon Media in which he described Steve Jobs’ spec as being “very, very specific…. Someone with a consumer marketing background. He did not want someone from the computer industry but he wanted someone who understood consumer marketing…. It was about the transferability of management talent – taking someone who was selling soda pop to selling computers. At a certain level those skills transfer over seamlessly and, I would argue, it is often imperative to bring in someone from a different industry because that candidate brings in a new and fresh way to look at the company…”
That Search was a long time ago. LinkedIn did not exist back then and I suspect that Gerry would not have been a big user, even if it had! However, the core point is true; for some searches, the targeting of specific sectors – and therefore companies – is an obvious approach. LinkedIn is terrific for that. However, the more senior the search, the less likely a direct hire from a competitor is. It’s about skills and experiences rather than employers.
Many executives believe that a LinkedIn profile is enough to ensure that they are on the radar for Headhunters. Clearly, it’s a big help, but think about the content of your profile in the context of the quote above. Is it enough? Does it tell a recruiter what she needs to know? If your aim is, for example, to serve on a Board –Why would a recruiter consider you? What skills would you bring to that environment? Are those skills clear from your profile? How? If the answer is “I’ve included some words in my personal statement” then think again – the phrase “Board of Directors” appears in 1,267,040 profiles in LinkedIn.
A recruiter may be working to a very specific specification – like that outlined by Steve Jobs in the Search referenced above. A Board seat may need someone with knowledge of certain sectors. Experience of listed companies. Exposure to China. Would your LinkedIn profile be found?
That’s why Executives in more than 90 countries have created profiles in GatedTalent. These profiles are private and only shared with trusted executive recruiters. They typically contain some backward looking employment data - but they also cover your skills and experiences and aspirations. The stuff a recruiter needs do know.
Executive recruiters from more than 200 firms in close to 30 countries are then able to search against anonymised versions of these profiles and – if they have a search that may be of interest to you – can share the details of the search and request access to your information. All at no cost to the executive.
If you want to be on the radar of global search firms – and wish to maximize your chance of being found – I’d invite you to create a profile at GatedTalent.com. It’s entirely free for executives - with no up selling or "premium accounts". If you are an executive or a recruiter you are also more than welcome to join us in our new LinkedIn networking group - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12130129