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The Executive Profile: An Essential Tool For Executive Recruiters

Sharon Gillenwater
by Sharon Gillenwater on Mar 6, 2017 5:00:00 AM

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With each profile we publish, Boardroom Insiders is on a quest to gather and curate the most relevant and current information available about CXOs.

Our recruiter customers tell us that they use our profiles to find compelling “hooks” to assess potential fit and to get senior executive talent to take their calls and be open to initial conversations.

Optimizing Information Found in an Executive Profile

Recruiters also tell us they appreciate our profiles because they contain both soft and hard facts. For example, let’s look at a recent profile of Olza Nicely, Chairman and CEO of GEICO.

Leverage the Soft Facts

The first thing you’ll notice is that he goes by “Tony,” helping you avoid a faux pas in how you address him. He’s also a self-described “country boy who got lucky in life”—born on a farm in rural Virginia. He says he didn’t have the money to continue at Bridgewater College so you know he’s a “bootstraps” kind of guy. We’ve also uncovered some other fun facts, such as his hobbies: hunting, fishing, and golf. And that he initially wanted to be an engineer. We know he’s a family man who’s been married for more than 40 years, has two grown children, and is a grandfather. He quotes the wisdom of his own grandfather, who told him, “Be curious,” so you can tell potential employers that he’s always learning, even if he’s older and has multiple degrees. He’s not a big traveler (so he’s maybe not a great fit for a company that needs a road warrior) but he goes with his wife on trips with their church group.

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Imagine you are planning to have a conversation with Nicely about making a move. Now you have some talking points. We hear from recruiters that this “soft” information is pure gold because it provides clues as to how candidates might fit into a given corporate culture or get along with the rest of the management team.

Executive Recruiting Tips

Utilize the Hard Facts

And what about the “hard” facts: his business experience, accomplishments, and priorities? These are also important to understand so you can determine if your candidate’s talents and experience align with the needs of your client.

Again using Nicely as an example, let’s take a look at his business priorities and strategies at GEICO:

  • The company is building an offline presence with offices around the country, which is a bit contrarian in our digital world.
  • The company is enhancing its marketing team—relevant if the position for which you are recruiting is for a marketing/branding focused B2C company.
  • GEICO is focused on the U.S. market to the exclusion of foreign expansion. So Nicely may not be your guy if your client is seeking an executive with a global pedigree.
  • GEICO has introduced “Kate,” a virtual assistant on its mobile app—demonstrating a commitment to innovation and technology.
  • GEICO is expanding regional operations in Western New York and adding more than 600 new jobs.

How would having hard facts like these help you assess Nicely's fit for a new CEO role with one of your client companies?

Place the Right Executive in the Right Position at the Right Organization

When it comes to placing the right executives in the right position at the right organization you can’t have too much information. Your reputation is based on making a perfect match. Recruiters tell us that having this type of research at the ready is critically important. Let us do the research for you!

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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.

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