Essential Due Diligence for the Executive Job Search

According to Forbes Magazine, 40% of executives fail in their first 18 months in a new job. Prudent due diligence throughout the application process can greatly reduce the risk of failure.

You are fortunate to find yourself torn between accepting or declining an exciting, new executive position. In all likelihood, you did a sufficient amount of research before your first interview. If this was not the case, you undoubtedly would not have made it to this point in the application process.

There’s a great deal of work involved in a search for the executive job seeker. Organized due diligence will help ensure your success.

Pre-interview Due Diligence

Interview preparation consists of learning as much as possible about the hiring company, the role being filled, and the hiring executive. The vast amount of data online and obtainable through your social networks can provide you with ample information. The more you know, the better equipped you are to speak intelligently about the role. You will also have the opportunity to use your learnings to have interesting questions prepared. You can obtain public company information at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This preparation - learning about your potential employer - is the first step in avoiding a career blindside.

After your interview, let’s assume that a) you were pleased with the information you learned about the hiring company, b) you enjoyed the interview process and the employees you met during these conversations, and c) you consider this position is potentially a good career move. While you are patiently waiting for a decision, it’s a good time to take on the next phase of due diligence. You must be prepared in anticipation of an offer.

Fit Evaluation Due Diligence

Forbes recommends you consider these three questions before making a career change decision:

  1. What is the organization’s sustainable competitive advantage?
  2. Did anyone have concerns about this role and, if so, what was done to mitigate them?
  3. What, specifically, about me led the organization to offer me the job?

Based on your interviews and research, you’ll know If this is a sound organization and if you are well qualified for the position. Give deep thought to these three questions, and you hope to determine that the organization has the means for future success, the role has been designed and possibly adjusted for maximum contribution to the company goals, and you are the perfect fit! If this isn’t the case, it’s best you realize this before moving forward.

By the time you feel as if you’re ready for retirement, you get that phone call. You are invited into the office to discuss an employment offer. Once you have the specifics of the offer in writing, it’s time to make that critical decision, or what we might call the due diligence final phase.

Negotiation Due Diligence

Before you are ready to make a decision, it’s likely that you will have to negotiate specific points within the offer. Needless to say, be prepared as you were throughout all phases of this application process.

Be sure to utilize the information you’ve learned. When you make a negotiation request, focus on what is important to you and what is relevant to the job. In other words, be selective, reasonable, and intelligent in what you ask for.

You can assume that many candidates who were considered for this position had similar experience and education backgrounds to yours. You were chosen for a reason. Determine what these unique skills you possess are, and use them as your most valuable negotiation tools.

Make sure that you protect yourself. Remember that 40% failure rate. Your employment offer should include a golden parachute as protection to you from job loss due to corporate mergers or other financial hardships. Carefully review the details of your severance package.

When negotiations are complete and you are satisfied with the offer; consider your full compensation package, the knowledge you’ve acquired about the company, the understanding of role you’ve been asked to fill, and the more intangible penchant you have with the culture and corporate values. There is only one thing left to do: accept the job and look forward to a happy, successful career.

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