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3 Steps for Transitioning Leaders Before Calling a Headhunter

When leaders want or need a new job, they too often reach right out to a recruiter. Good recruiters are gold and they can be a vital source of success. But they should not be your first call. In this article, Spencer Deering, President of BestWork, Inc. outlines 3 things leaders should do before calling a headhunter or recruiter:

Step 1: determine what your ideal outcome looks like.

What kind of work will you be doing on a daily basis, not just on your best days. Managing and developing up-and-comers through one-on-one meetings? Delivering demos to prospects? Traveling 200 days a year? On the phone? Reading and responding to emails?

What kind of people will you be working with in your ideal scenario? Don’t just “think about it.” Describe – in writing – their qualities and values. Review these lists, and regularly revise them.

What kind of environment will you be working in? Same thing – literally map out on paper what it will look like.

Years are made up of quarters, which are made up of months, which are made up of weeks, which are made up of days. Secure your ideal outcome and you’ll have many more good days. Over the long run, your work will be more fulfilling and you’ll be better at it.

Step 2: inventory your skills.

Most people think they know what they're good at. Most people are wrong. - Peter Drucker Click To Tweet

As Peter Drucker said, “most people think they know what they’re good at. Most people are wrong.”

Often people think they’re creative when they’re actually just fans of creativity. Or, they think that they’re a great leader when in fact they’re a good manager (meaning they aren’t great at defining a meaningful vision or making strategic decisions, but they’re terrific at delegating and hitting targets with a team.)

Identify five skills you think you have – then provide five specific examples of how you created value with those skills. These examples must have metrics.

This is a lot of work, but vital prior to any job transition or change of work.

An example of a skill and its result is NOT this: “I helped our team get better last year.”

Think more like this: “Last year, I used my skill for anticipating client needs to convince ABC Company to review their soon-to-be outdated billing system. We designed software to make billing 20% more efficient. They did the review and bought our solution for X amount.”

If you force yourself to come up with at least five examples – with metrics – you’ll see your skills clearly. Crucially, you’ll have confidence that they’re legit.

Step 3: determine what you want your legacy to be.

This point is crucial to make sure your ideal scenario is on target. Often the legacy we want to leave, or the impact we want to have is at odds with how we describe our work.

For example, someone may spend a lot of time building a powerful sales network for their company – no matter what it takes. However, when you ask them what they want to be remembered for, they might reply, “I’d like to be known as a great leader.”

Now, there’s no reason why someone couldn’t be a great leader AND build a powerful sales network. However, focusing ONLY on sales, you may accomplish your short-term objectives, and still be miserable in the end.

Determining your legacy helps you align your day-to-day work with more long-term goals. Click To Tweet

There’s good news. Determining your legacy helps you align your day-to-day work with more long-term goals. Using our example: a desire to be known as a great leader can enhance the development of a strong sales network. And, it would make work much more meaningful – and sustainable – in the process.

Once you know what your ideal outcome looks like, what you true skills are, and what you want your legacy to be, then go ahead and call that headhunter. You’ll be much more prepared and have a clearer picture of the opportunities that will give you greater success and long-term fulfillment.

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