Don Straits

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The 30-Second Elevator Pitch Should be Banned, Burned, and Buried (Part 2 of 2)

This video is part 2 of why I believe every executive must ditch the classic 30-second elevator pitch while interviewing.  You can view part 1 by clicking here. I discuss altenative strategies that those who are conducting a job search should implement into their interviews. Would love your feedback! 

Below the video is the text version of for both of these videos.  

Click to read more ...

The 30-Second Elevator Pitch Should be Banned, Burned, and Buried (Part 1 of 2)

Virtually every HR leader, career coach and career book will tell you to create a 30-second elevator pitch to answer the question:  "Tell Me About Yourself."   In my opinion, that is the worst way to answer that question.  Your pitch will sound canned and you will have not done anything to separate yourself from everyone else.  Ditch the elevator pitch and start thinking on your feet.

Below the embedded video is a text version.

Click to read more ...

Hostess Twinkies Are Back But The Jobs Are Not

13,000 jobs lost, fewer factories, lower wages, and no unions.  These are the circumstances that Hostess employees are faced with after the impact of the company's bankruptcy in November of 2012.  In this video, I discuss why Hostess is a symptom of  larger problems within  private sector businesses as well as government entities.  I also focus on the risks you face for employment as a result of these problems. I would enjoy any feedback that you may have on this topic.

For additional details on Hostess' employee wages, visit the following article:


"The Executive Bucket List" to Avoid Losing Your Job

When I represent executives who have recently been laid off, every single one of them tell me they will do whatever is necessary to never have this happen again. They begin to brainstorm ways that they can become a more productive and effective leader. They are driven to set goals in order to meet their newly heightened expectations. Then when they finally land a new job.... they become complacent and throw all their newfound motivation out the window. In this video, I list some effective tips that execs can add to their “Executive Bucket List” in order to keep yourself relevant in corporate America. I would love to hear of tips that you believe would be beneficial to an “Executive Bucket List.”  

How Long Will An Executive Job Search Take? CAN YOU CLOSE THE DEAL?

Everyone of my executive clients always asks how long his/her job search will take.  It is almost impossible to give a definitive answer because there are so many variables. In my latest video, I discuss these variables in  depth in order to give insight into what you should expect from a time standpoint in driving your search. If you would prefer to view the written article, you can find that below the video player. I would enjoy any feedback you may have on this topic. 

Invariably, everyone of my new executive clients always asks how long his/her job search will take.  It is almost impossible to give a definitive answer because there are so many variables.  But here are some insights into the time it takes to land an executive level position.  Let's break it into four categories:  number one: months based on income; number two: seasonality factors;  number three:  industry/functional experience factors, and number four:  simply cannot close the deal.  Now, let's examine each of those categories:

1.  Months Based on Income.  Literally, for decades, career books and career counselors have said you should allow one month of search time for every $10,000 of income.  Someone forgot to take into account inflation.  That number is now about one month for every $15,000 of income.

2.  Seasonality.  Believe it or not, there is major seasonality in an executive level search.  While I do not have sophisticated quantifiable research to back this up, my 20 years of helping senior execs points to the following:  The two best hiring months of the year are January/February....immediately following the December holiday season and December 31st fiscal year end.    The second two best months are September/October, immediately following summer vacation.  March through June are relatively equal, not bad, but not great either.  July/August and November/December are the worst of the year.  

What executives should be cognizant of is that when driving a search, don't wait until a few weeks before the best months to start your search.  The time it takes to drive a sophisticated search is several months.  For Sept/Oct hiring, start in April, May, June.    For January/February hiring start your search in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec.   And if you miss your window of opportunity, you should be fully prepared to wait until the next window.

3.  Industry and Functional Experience Influencing Time to Hire.   These factors are continually in flux depending on the state of the economy and trends on growth of various industries. Right now, medical/life sciences and high technology fields are hot while industrial engineering and operations are a challenge. Civil and mechanical engineering execs are in moderate demand, but will significantly change if congress starts spending money on infrastructure construction. There is always high demand for peak performance sales executives....key words being peak performance.  Financial execs, including CFOs, the demand tends to fluctuate more with the economy.  In a robust economy, financial execs will be more mobile, therefore more positions open up.  In a recession, the bean counters hold on to their positions.  So time to hire based on industry or experience can vary widely.

4.  Cannot Close the Deal.  Last but not least, is the inability of the exec to close the deal with a powerful interview.  I wish I had a dollar for every time an executive said to me, just get me in front of the decision maker and I will close the deal.  The problem is that when that exec goes into an interview, he or she is up against five or six other execs who have said the exact same thing.  While an exec may have had a distinguished career, the competition for new positions is so fierce that his/her interviewing skills just can't carry the day.  Career books, career counselors and career pundits (present company excluded) will almost never admit the time to hire is in direct correlation to the ability of the exec to close the deal.  While an exec may have had a distinguished career, in today's economy, with new business paradigms, new career paradigms, and a huge number of execs seeking almost every position out there, many talented executives will find the search will take many months, years, or become forever elusive.  For a reality check, please watch my video:  Today's Executive, Tomorrow's Walmart Greeter [Link].

So if you liked this video, please hit your like button.  And if you are a senior executive facing a search challenge, and if you would like to cut your time to land a new leadership position, I would love to talk with you.  Please drop me an email or give me a call.  Thanks everyone.  Have an awesome day.