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Posts Tagged ‘Vauraporn Iamsupanimitr’

Candidates also interviewing prospective companies

Vauraporn Iamsupanimitr, Vice President of Human Capital Alliance talks about candidates interviewing prospective companies.

In the past decade at Human Capital Alliance, I’ve encountered a recurring theme when placing senior executives into large corporations. Invariably, almost every single candidate is also interviewing the company while he or she is questioned by senior company executives.

Equally surprising, companies that are successful in recruiting the candidates they want are usually are best prepared to answer the following six questions.  I hope that this information can help you in 2013.

1. Your company structure

Many senior executives want to know how your company is structured, so they can fully understand how they may use their knowledge, skills and experiences to add value to your operations. For instance, many candidates want to understand decision-making processes are really undertaken. The company’s real decision-making processes are always a critical question.

2.    Products or Services

Top executive candidates invariably are vitally interested in understanding your company’s products and services and more specifically your current growth and competitive strategies. They also want to know the company’s position vis-à-vis the competition so they contemplate how their skill sets can help your company achieve its overall mission and objectives.

3.    Potential performance

In my experience, candidates are more interested in the company’s potential performance than what has happened in the immediate past. They want to understand your current strategy and most importantly whether they can function effectively as part of your team that adds value. At the same time, most candidates tend to stay away from unstable companies with no viable turn-around strategies. Few successful senior executives are willing to jump into poor performing companies unless they believe that the current ownership has developed and will be able to execute new winning strategies.

4.    Who are your competitors

In today’s fast-moving globalized world, competitors you know and the one’s you don’t know can destroy companies and industries. Today more and more candidates want to ensure that owners and senior management have addressed these long-term sustainability issues.

5.   Your company’s core strengths

Although many great companies have been successful marketing their products and services for a long-time, many of them have not articulated their core strengths to potential incoming senior executives. A company’s structural competitive advantages and its culture are often critical elements that must be clearly articulated to executive candidates. These two elements are often the final selling points that convince top candidates to join new companies.

6.    Candidates future financial prospects

Although most senior executive candidates always say that compensation is not the most important element, my experience indicates that most searches climax with detailed compensation negotiations. Senior executives want to believe that their new company really wants them and is paying them commensurately.

I hope that these six key elements will help you and your company achieve great success and prosperity in 2013. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Have a great Chinese New Year.

Vauraporn may be reached at

Common mistakes for executive job-seekers

Human Capital Alliance’s Vauraporn Iamsupanimitr discusses a recent study led by Harvard Business School associate professor, Boris Groysberg on common mistakes made by executive job-changers.

Senior executives considering new jobs should carefully and consciously assess the risks and realities so that they can avoid making mistakes that may result in major setbacks.

In today’s fast changing business environments, people are expected to change jobs many times before their retirements. Careers have become processes of continuous movements.

Recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the average baby-boomer will change jobs 10 times.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Five ways to bungle a job change”, Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams said that job moves are seldom easy and nearly always emotionally fraught. “Moves of all kinds entail significant internal and external challenges and often cause turmoil in one’s home and social life.”

After interviewing 400 search consultants from 50 industries and 500 C-level executives in 40 countries, including  HR heads at 15 multinational companies, Groysberg and Abrahams concluded that five common mistakes generally accounted for most problems.

In general these included:

1.    not doing enough research
2.    leaving for money
3.    going “from” rather than “to”
4.    overestimating yourself, and
5.    thinking short term

The researchers said that the mistakes were usually not independent of each other and generally followed predictable patterns and persisted throughout the course of careers.

These mistakes played out as a system of maladaptive behaviors that included dissatisfaction, unrealistic hopes, ill-considered moves, and more dissatisfaction

For instance, executives that fixated on money would often disregard the need for research. “Overestimating yourself can cause you to ignore a bad fit – a problem that research might help you anticipate.”

Some job seekers make all the mistakes at once. For instance, if they overestimated their value, they will feel unjustly treated at year-end reviews. “They will jump to the first company that promises a signing bonus without doing due diligence on the firm’s long-term prospects.”

The executives surveyed were not young untested professionals but included successful people that hadn’t looked for jobs for years or even decades. “Surprisingly, many of them were ignorant of job market opportunities.”

Many of these executives, they said assumed their new companies would be flexible about having them learn new areas of business as when they were young. “If they’re high up on the hierarchy, it may have been some time since they received truly honest feedback about their strength and weaknesses.

Mistake number one – not doing enough research

Many executive job seekers, the authors said neglect due diligence in four areas.

1.    If they don’t do homework on job market realities for their industry or function, they will be not fully informed and will be prone to unrealistic expectations.

2.    Many executive job-seekers don’t pay enough attention to a potential employer’s financial stability and market position even if they are people that would normally scrutinize the balance sheet of a company they are acquiring.

They assume companies offering them jobs are on solid ground. It is up to applicants to assess if new jobs will exist in six months.

3.    Many executives fail to consider the cultural fit.

Although hiring managers are supposed to attend to matching cultural fits, new hires suffer most if it’s a poor fit.

4.    Too many recruits assume the official job title and job description accurately reflect the role. Many companies are known to sweeten titles to attract top talent.

Additional, in badly managed organizations, people may find themselves in ill-defined jobs that have little relationship to formal titles.

Mistake number two – leaving for the money

The authors research showed that it was easy to fall for financially attractive offers.

Most search consultants said that although executives contemplating job changes rank money fourth or fifth in terms of importance, they usually bumped it to first place when making the final decision.

Mistake number three – going “from” rather than “to”

Often, many job seekers are so unhappy they are happy just to get out. Instead of planning their career moves, they lurch from one place to the next.

These people the authors said apply artificial urgency rather than wait for the right job and often fail to look strategically for opportunities that their current companies may have for them.

Mistake number four – overestimating themselves

The authors’ survey indicated that many executives believed they contributed more than they actually did at their current organizations. They tended to undervalue the organizations’ strength in helping them achieve their objectives.

Many of these job seekers, they said seem to have unrealistic view of their skills, their prospects and occasionally their culpability. “The often can’t identify sources of success and failure at their existing jobs.”

These candidates looked at their current companies as being the problem and not acknowledging that they themselves may be part of the problems. These people may also fail to be realistic and be self critical, and therefore think that external circumstances and environments have more to do with their frustrations or failures than their own issues.

“They may overestimate the salaries they can command and their capacity to deal with the new positions’ challenges, particularly, the difficulty of creating change at large organizations.

Mistake five – thinking short term

Executive job seekers with short term perspectives can make many mistakes.

For instance, if they overestimate their abilities, they may believe they should be paid a high salary now and not after they’ve proved themselves. Some people leaving organizations for more money are often overly-influenced by immediate short-term information and considerations.

The authors conclude that the best protection against career management mistakes is self awareness, which they said is a broad  concept that encompasses not only an understanding of one’s career-relevant strengths and weaknesses but also insights into the kinds of mistakes they you are prone to make

Knowing how to correct tendencies, how others perceive us and when to consult a trusted mentor or network is critical.

If an executive takes a wrong job, the authors said the experts were unanimous in their views” “Cut your losses and move on.”

They suggested that these executives should make their next moves strategically. “Don’t hesitate to go down another road if it becomes evident that a certain kind of change wouldn’t be right.”

Executives, they said should understand what elements of a job make it truly satisfying for them and what constitutes a healthy work-life balance.

Vauraporn Iamsupanimitr may be reached at