Executive search companies - what they can do for you

You don't have to rely on searching through the newspaper or on job web sites to find your next role.

Executive search firms have the ability to consider your skills in a more lateral manner.

Never underestimate the skills you have as a mother and how they can add to your overall abilities.

How are Executive Search firms different from recruitment companies? And would they be interested in my details?

Executive Search firms tend to work on a mandated basis, which is they are briefed by a client and work to recruit the best possible candidate from the marketplace. We do not send out CV's randomly nor do we normally advertise. Heidrick and Struggles look to place senior executives into equivalent level positions and ideally candidates will have had previous work experience at this level.

What is the Interim Practice?

The Interim practice actively seeks to place candidates into consultancy or contracting positions usually for a given period of time. The opportunities for well qualified candidates occur on a regular basis, and particularly within Interim the opportunity to meet with candidates who would like to return on the right terms is always of interest to us. We aim to not only represent our clients but the candidate's best interests as well.

What are some of the opportunities Interim candidates undertake?

Candidates are often hired to undertake a certain project, to fill in for the full- time employee who may have taken leave, to mentor existing staff and to cover for positions whilst an extensive search is undertaken for a full- time candidate. Interim offers the opportunity for flexible conditions. and an opportunity for candidates to discover if a return to work is a feasible option.

Why do women who have held senior executive positions find it hard to return to work after taking a break to raise children?

The most common reasons are; women may have been away from the workforce for 5 or more years and their networks may have changed from the workplace to schools and other groups associated with their children. Networking is still the most common ways candidates are employed. Longer hours are not family friendly which has implications re the cost of childcare and or home help and finding a flexible satisfying career is not straight forward thing.

What can I take from the above?

Executive search firms have the ability to consider your skills in a more lateral manner. Never underestimate the skills you have as a mother and how they can add to your overall abilities.

Collectively the Government is looking at better ways to improve not only the work life balance but also to encourage woman back into the workforce. The larger this majority becomes the louder the voice becomes for change. A significant number of the Top 200 ASX companies have in place extensive policies for not only encouraging women to return after a leave of absence but to provide additional support for families.

All of the above applies not only to return to work mothers but to people who may need a career break due to family illness or to undertake a carer's role for other family members. This is particularly relevant given the ageing population.

Andrea Atley is a mother of two and currently heads the Interim Financial Services practice for Heidrick and Struggles. Heidrick and Struggles is the largest global executive Search firm with practices across all sectors.

 
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