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Top Executive Job Search Trends for 2022

So, what are the most up-to-date executive search trends in 2022?

Career and executive coach Deanna Brkovich says that in her business, she has to coach job seekers through the job search expectations that have changed since the last time they applied. Though executives of every generation have grown accustomed to hiring trends, some folks who have stayed in the same role or at the same company may be less aware of changing job search expectations. 

What creates the push for executive search trends to change in the first place? 

“The short answer: Technology and globalization drove the change. A combination of advancements such as automation, social media, mobile connectivity, and artificial intelligence altered social culture and enabled globalization, which in turn progressed job search practices,” Brkovich explained. 

So, these developments changed not only executive search trends but also the qualifications recruiters seek in candidates.

So, what are the most up-to-date executive search trends in 2022? Here, we’ll discuss five trends you should pay attention to if you’re job-hunting this year. 

We’re living in an executive candidate’s job market.

According to the International Executive Search Federation (IESF), this is the first time in “a generation” when there are more open executive-level jobs than candidates to fill them. 

This is good news for you because companies need to work harder to attract you to their firm. Looking for more flexibility and remote work? You can afford to make your working preferences known. A higher salary? You may have grounds to negotiate. 

“In 2022, we can expect to see a more creative range of recruitment strategies, whether it’s searching tactics, data-driven recruitment marketing or improved employer brand communications,” the IESF reports.

Executives are encouraged to find fulfilling work.

The pandemic brought on what we’ve all heard called “the Great Resignation,” where job holders quit at higher rates than pre-pandemic. 

However, at the executive level, it’s more appropriate to dub what’s been happening as “the Great Re-evaluation.” 

Specifically, executives took the last two years to re-assess how they’ve been spending their working lives. Are they satisfied with their careers? What do they envision as their contribution to the world? How do their current organizations’ missions align with their values? 

“Many executives seem open to moving jobs and locations, even exploring different career paths, if it means finding work that is fulfilling to them. They are reimagining what their work lives could be,” said Dave Opton, Founder of ExecuNet.

Companies are looking for “utility players.”

Before the pandemic, companies used to look for leaders with specific skill sets; perhaps they had robust knowledge and experience in a specific area, for instance. 

No longer is these recruiters’ goals for executive-level candidates, however. Instead, Opton calls the most desirable candidates “utility players,” or candidates who can fulfill a number of roles. This shift happened because the pandemic shook up so much about business as usual. 

“The next organization that hires you is going to want to know: Do you have the ability to speak to a broad audience of stakeholders and execute on a number of different key functions?” Opton explains.

Executive candidates can afford to be picky if a company does not inspire them.

Because it’s a candidate’s marketplace, recruiters and companies need to shift from the “employer is always on top” mentality. In other words, companies must devise recruitment strategies that demonstrate their company ethos and prove their adaptability to candidates.

Executive recruiter Lynne Palmer offers advice to companies looking to launch executive recruitments. 

“Asking the candidate to show what they bring to the company without promoting what you offer them is an outdated hiring method and will result in you losing out on the best applicants…Ideally, you’ll create a brand that continuously appeals to people in a way that they want to work for you even when there aren’t vacancies,” she said. 

So, if you’re interviewing with a company that either doesn’t “sell” itself to you or doesn’t align with your career goals, you can pass on the job offer. Something more suitable is sure to come along.

However, passive candidates may be entering the fray.

At the same time, this dearth of qualified candidates has made recruiters more likely to reach out to “passive candidates” or individuals who are not actively seeking a new position. This is because companies are tired of fighting over candidates with similar skill sets. 

Executive recruiters can even see these passive candidates as more desirable because if they end up applying for the job, they’re not looking for a way out of their current role. Instead, they’re excited about the company’s mission or the job description. 

So, job seekers may have to be wary that their dream position may be won by someone who didn’t even apply in the first place. At the same time, if you have a highly-desirable skill-set, you may be recruited, rather than searching for opportunities yourself. 

Executive Search Trends in 2022

There’s no question that the executive job market is tipped towards candidates in 2022. Not only should you feel free to explore job avenues that are meaningful to you, but you can also afford to walk away from companies that don’t communicate a brand message that resonates. This is because recruiters have more jobs they need to fill with “utility players” than they have jobs, meaning that you hold most of the cards in the job search. 

That said, figure out what you want the next stage of your career to look like and wait until a position that fits your bill comes around. It’s the perfect time to be choosy. What’s more, you never know if and when you’ll be recruited for that ideal position you didn’t even know existed. 


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