Lead5 is the platform built to equip, inform, and educate executives on their entire career journey. One of the major inflection points for any executive is the resignation process. In today’s market it is common for an exec to work for 4 or 5 companies across a 25-year C-level career. That means likely 2 or 3 awkward and often contentious moments of informing your boss or the board of your resignation.
With the Lead5 team we have decades of executive search experience and have summarized the best practices for resigning from your C-level position:
Approach the resignation with a focused, firm, and disciplined approach. Rehearse the conversation with your boss and do everything possible to resign in-person not via phone or zoom. Be clear and efficient – do not get into a long, drawn-out discussion.
Keep the reasons for departing your company focused on your new position and be gracious and appreciative of the growth and opportunity you have been afforded at the company you are leaving. It is common to keep your future company name confidential as there are multiple legitimate reasons for confidentiality (new deal coming together, timing of announcement of your appointment, etc.)
Assure your boss you are not going to a competitor (if that is accurate). If they press you for the company name of where you are going it is best to let them know you can share this information at a later date. If you are going to a competitor, it is best to have had a lawyer review the non-compete prior and make sure the company you are joining will support you against any action taken to enforce a non-compete.
While a two-week notice is a common time frame for most jobs, at the C-level the average is a 3-to-4-week notice. You want to leave well and balance working hard through your transition but also join the new company with energy and a sense of urgency.
Do not accept a counteroffer! While this is self-serving advice coming from executive recruiters, the reality is you are leaving your current job for reasons beyond compensation. When accepting a counter, these reasons remain. Once a counteroffer is accepted, the relationship between the company and executive is never the same. The company perceives loyalty and trust have been broken and executives often comment, “If they valued me in this way for my compensation (or job level) why did it take resigning to get it?” No one wants to advance their career by extortion. This is never a good long-term strategy!
Do you have additional advice and tips from resigning? If so, join Lead5 today and share with the Lead5 community to discover the intel you’ve been missing to advance your executive career!
Lead5 tracks executive openings and executive appointments for leading US based companies. Analysis for Lead5 for the first half of 2023 (Q1 + Q2) executive appointments were up 58% YoY. First half of 2023 executive opportunities were up 42% YoY from the first half of 2022. The second half of 2022 was flat for executive opportunities compared to the first half of 2022, so the 2023 numbers show a significant jump in overall executive hiring activity. Executive hiring is often a leading indicator for the overall health of the economy. We will continue to monitor the Lead5 data set to see if this upward trajectory continues through Q3 and Q4 of 2023.
We created Lead5 to empower executives with traditionally hidden opportunities and career advancing intel. Today we’re excited to announce the next generation of Lead5, with a new and improved user experience and more complete functionality than ever before to help executives manage the lifecycle of their executive journey.
The next generation Lead5 platform provides:
Access to verified and potential leads for thousands of executive jobs.
Tracking of PE firms and PE deals that often indicate leadership changes.
Search project functionality to build target company lists, access the Lead5 recruiter database, follow executive moves, and build/save customized queries.
Easier to navigate saved items feature that replaces the legacy Lead5 playbook.
Full work email contact information for thousands of companies and corporate executives.
More seamless integration of the Lead5 Community for members to share opportunity leads, add comments, invite peers, and contribute to trending market discussions.
You can access all these features and more by logging into Lead5 for the new and improved user experience. If you have any questions or feedback we’d love to hear from you, email us at email@example.com or take advantage of Lead5’s complementary career consultations where we can demo the next generation of Lead5!
In my 20 plus years of executive search experience, I have worked on hundreds of C-level assignments and navigated countless compensation negotiations through the “offer stage”. Here are 5 tips for executive candidates to keep in mind when closing the deal:
Think like an owner. Value long-term awards and creating value over time as the key drivers for your compensation. Forgoing cash for more equity sends a strong message of leadership and “buy-in” to the board and/or C-suite. This indicates you are committed to the future success of the company and have confidence in the value creation you can drive. If the opportunity is available and you are in a position to do so, ask to purchase stock on your own beyond the equity grant or put your own money in the PE or VC round of financing.
If you negotiate, go one turn and then accept the counter offer. There is nothing wrong with accepting the initial offer if you believe it is strong and it meets your expectations. Yes, you may be able to negotiate marginal percentage points higher in base, bonus, equity, or sign-on, but do not underestimate the momentum of a positive, team oriented start. In my experience, one round of tweaks or negotiations is common, but if you push beyond that, it is generally poor form.
Communicate your compensation expectations to the company and/or recruiter prior to receiving the formal offer. Many candidates think they are weakening their bargaining power by sharing expectations. They think keeping things “close to the vest” until the actual negotiations will provide the best outcome, but this can work against them. If the company is not clear on the expected compensation range, they may low-ball the candidate at offer stage (often a red flag for a dysfunctional company culture). Ultimately, the deal needs to be compelling for both the candidate and the company. Lack of communication of expectations prior to the formal offer stage can undermine the deal and be perceived as unprofessional.
Share your current and past compensation with the recruiter and company if they ask. Note, it is now illegal in a number of states to ask a candidate’s compensation. In the states where it is legal, withholding this information is regarded as a lack of understanding of how executive deals are structured. As executive recruiters, we are not asking your previous compensation history to lessen your negotiating power. We are asking these questions to ensure the best fit for both you and the company in an effort not waste either party’s time. For example, if your base salary is $400,000, you will ultimately not take a job offering a $275,000 base. There are exceptions, but in my 500+ executive searches over two decades, candidates are rarely willing to take pay-cuts in cash compensation. A candidate squeezing into a role with less than ideal compensation, usually means the role is not the right fit and the candidate leaves the company within 24 months. The exceptions tend to be candidates who forgo cash for more equity, aligning with point number 1.
Focus your identity as an executive on the value you create, not being the highest paid in your industry. Value creators are discovered and rewarded over time – keep this in mind in negotiations. You want to exceed the expectations of the CEO and board and create value and wealth for everyone in the organization. The experience of doing this is far more valuable, fulfilling, repeatable, and lasting than a certain base salary or sign-on bonus.
Interested in more career advice? Sign-up for Lead5 and take advantage of the free career consultation plus gain more insight, intel and career tips from the Lead5 Community.
Market Returning to Normal Seasonal Hiring Patterns in Executive Openings and Executive Appointments
Lead5 tracks executive openings and executive appointments for leading US based companies. Analysis for Lead5 April and May 2021 data shows executive openings down 11% compared to Q1 2021. This is the normal seasonal exec hiring pattern as January through March and September through November historically show higher levels of executive hiring. The market has bounced back to this normal pattern, for example YOY comparison with the effects of Covid the market last year was down 24% for the same time period. Executive appointments for April and May held steady down just 3% compared to Q1 2021 vs the YOY comparison which was down 20% last year.
How does this translate for executives actively or passively seeking new opportunities? The market is solid and has bounced back into a historical pattern of executive search flows. The summer months will yield less activity leading to more active openings and appointments in the fall months of late Q3 and early Q4.
Increasing activity for Q1 2021 for Executive Openings and Executive Appointments
Lead5 tracks executive openings and executive appointments for leading US based companies. Analysis for Lead5 Q1 data for 2021 shows a 17% increase quarter-over-quarter in executive openings and a 28% increase quarter-over-quarter in executive appointments. Year-over-year Lead5 shows executive openings still down 27% from Q1 2020 data, but we are seeing a steady climb back up from the low point of Q3 2020 off of Covid shutdowns where executive openings were down over 40%.
What does this all mean for executives actively or passively seeking new opportunities? The market has upward momentum and looks to continue climbing in terms of openings and appointments. Now is the time to stay connected and pro-active on what is happening in the market for executive opportunities. Familiarize yourself with the Indicators of Management Changes and join the Lead5 community to share insights and gain market intel from fellow members.
One major trend of the executive search industry over the last two decades is the increased flow of consultants from the major firms (Korn/Ferry, Heidrick, Spencer Stuart, & Russell Reynolds) to in-house executive recruiting roles within companies, PE firms, and VC firms. The takeaway for the candidate is more senior level leadership positions are being actively sourced and placed directly by the company or financial sponsor. Add the Covid-19 lockdowns and an increased corporate view on cost cutting and you have a scenario entering 2021 where, more than ever, companies are directly recruiting executives and bypassing the retained search firms.
With this trend in mind, Lead5 has built and launched a corporate executive recruiter database that our members have access to and the Lead5 community continues to enhance. Log in to Lead5, click on Community, then People, scroll down and select the Corporate Recruiters tab and use the Lead5 filters to identify the gatekeepers to leadership hiring for thousands of companies including contact details.
Remember, you have a green light to send your resume directly to these in-house executive recruiting professionals and the goal is ensuring your information is updated in the company or PE firms’ executive ATS (Applicant Tracking System). In addition, you want to make the networking connection with the in-house team to keep you informed of current and future leadership openings.
One Lead5 member built a targeted list of companies specific to his industry sector and experienced a 70% response rate to direct outreach to in-house recruiters. This method yields a much higher response than contacting retained recruiters or C-level execs – why? Because the in-house recruiters number one priority is to evaluate external talent and build a bench of current and future available talent for the organization. Remember, retained recruiters number one priority is the hiring company, not the candidate!
Want to learn more? Join the market discussion on Lead5 here:
The results are in for 2020, and much like all aspects of last year, the executive hiring market has everyone ready to move on to 2021. The total number of executive opportunity leads shared and tracked by Lead5 in 2020 was down 34% year over year from 2019.
The good news is that the market stabilized in Q3 2020 with a slight uptick for Q4. As we shared in our October Executive Outlook analysis, after discussions with corporate executive recruiters and talent partners from PE firms, we anticipate the traditional Labor Day through Thanksgiving seasonal executive hiring cycle is being pushed back to Q1 2021 due to the global pandemic and the US election cycle.
What this means for you is that executive hiring for Q1 and Q2 in 2021 will bring increased activity and you should be taking steps now to craft a pro-active career strategy. Lead5 will continue to monitor, analyze, and report on these executive hiring trends.
Lead5 is the fastest growing executive community that allows our members to share and exchange hidden exec openings, intel, and career advice. The Lead5 executive platform provides expert methodology and tools, allowing our members to transform data into career advancing results. Learn more at www.lead5.com.
Lead5 analysis of executive members who indicated they landed a new position has increased 98% from Q2 to Q4 in 2020. The increase from Q2 to Q3 was 40%. This is consistent with the pent-up demand from the predominate lockdown months of April through June and is a good signal for a continued uptick in executive hiring to carry through Q1 2021 and beyond. We will continue to monitor these leading indicators from Lead5 data.
Lead5 is the fastest growing executive community for exchanging hidden opportunities, intel, and career advice.
See what Lead5 members are saying about the market and join the conversation:
Are you an executive who is seeking ways to increase your market exposure? The good news is that it’s easier than you think. From placing top executives in leading firms for over two decades, here is a trap to avoid and a tactic that is proven to work:
Trap to avoid: many execs I consult with rely solely on their own professional network to seek new opportunities or they select a few executive recruiters they have come in contact with over the years. While it’s smart for you to tap into this network, you must realize that this represents only a small fraction of available opportunities.
Best method: I emphasize to my executive clients the need to be proactive. This means researching and discovering the companies and opportunities that fit your background and marketing yourself directly to those company’s key contacts. It also means marketing yourself to the relevant industry or functional practice sector consultants at all the major, regional, and boutique executive search firms, not just the select firms you know from the past.
How can you start today? My company Lead5 offers comprehensive lists of companies that you can filter by position, region, company size, industry, and ownership structure. This list, combined with Lead5’s intel of executive departures, yields companies that are strong candidates for your outreach. Lead5 also maintains an executive recruiter database of the leading US-based retained search consultants for firms of all sizes, sortable by the Lead5 filters.
Start small, think big. If you deployed this proactive methodology, even sending only one outreach per week, you are exponentially increasing your chances of being discovered.
To wrap this up, I encourage you to take a proactive role in your career. This is the best way to maximize your value in the marketplace. I see too many executives waiting on a phone call from a recruiter or over-relying on their own professional network. By expanding your comfort zone, you are positioning yourself for career growth and stability.