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The Big Bang Theory: Now is the hour of senior high tech executives

Covid is gone, money is back and we have already seen a 25% increase in executive recruitment. What’s changed in the recruitment process? Why do candidates become active and how do they choose the right company? Here are some insights from the field, including three interviews with executives recently recruited via iTalent.

“Cucumber season” is Israeli soccer slang meant to describe the transfer frenzy of the summer months. As soon as the transfer window opens, every team sets out on an armed journey. What’s happening now in the high tech executive recruitment sector is reminiscent of the peak of cucumber season. The market is hyper. The industry has awoken from Covid coma, the big money is back and companies have begun recruiting again. More than a few companies have become more efficient during the Covid pandemic, and we carefully examined the quality of their executives. Meanwhile, many have significantly expanded their activities, which led to the need to recruit for many positions, including a number of executives.

Opportunities arose, positions became available and now that there’s lots of money in the market, we have already seen an increase of 25% in executive recruitment. In effect, the frenzy is at its peak. Quality candidates are receiving lots of different offers. Even contact with a “passive candidate” can make him hungry to hear more. In short, this is a good time for recruiters and candidates. The market is flooded, there’s incredible hype and, after a global crisis, everyone knows better what they want and which candidate profile is right for them.

More specifically, high executive salaries are rising. Naturally, candidates are in demand who request a salary that reflects the value they can provide the company, particularly in more difficult times like a global crisis. The explosion of unicorns in Israel and around the world has also opened the door to a leap in demand for executives. Unicorns are startups worth $1 billion or more. Since the beginning of 2020, the number of unicorns in the world has increased by 50%, and 1/10 of these newcomers came from Israel. With there being more money in the market and an explosion in the net worth of companies, every business is starting to move quickly, leading to the boom in demand for quality executives.

The executive recruitment process has changed. In order to understand in depth what it looks like now in comparison to the pre-covid world, and to explain what makes an executive successful and how they choose the right company, we decided to interview three executives recently recruited via iTalent. They gave us their perspectives and insights about the market and how the recruitment process has looked over the last several months. Roei (12 years in the executive market) was recruited to a director of R&D position for a cyber company. Mihal (7 years in the executive market) became the manager of a development group at a fintech company and Dana (4 years in the executive market) joined a leading data company as VP R&D.

What’s different in the process compared to previous years?
Dana: “Today there is a lot of competition in the market. Lots of big companies are competing for talent and can make offers that are very difficult for other companies to compete with. At the same time, lots of innovative startups are recruiting and growing and they are no less competitive. So, there are lots of opportunities in the market and massive growth this year, influencing conditions and salaries to rise along with the level of competition. Still, processes have remained long, especially to more senior positions, but many companies understand that there is a lot of competition for a limited pool of talent and are performing quicker processes.”

Roei: “Talent can be much more selective. Diversity of experience and learning abilities are much more important than lots of relevant experience or a record of occupational stability.”

So, what’s changed? How did you search for work before?
Dana: “Searching for a position as a senior executive is very different from previous positions. In the past, I would work with employment agencies or directly approach companies I was interested in through acquaintances or employees who knew how to make the connection well. For senior positions, the sensitivity of the search process is higher and these positions aren’t always advertised to everyone, so the opportunities on this path are narrower. The most efficient way I found of searching was to work with a limited number of headhunters who know me well, my experience, my strengths, what I’m looking for moving forward, and who know how to make a more precise adjustment to companies whose needs match my abilities and complete one another.”

Michal: “In the past, when I looked for work, I relied on friends or people contacting me. The situation has changed and now there’s a need to be more active. It seems that now there is more supply and possibilities for senior positions. I had more offers and I engaged in other processes at the same time before I chose my current position because its description matched what I was looking for.”

What do you find important in a managerial position and choosing a company?
Roei: Human and cultural suitability and belief in goals and the company’s business vision. A strong connection between the added value of the candidate and the critical need of the company.”

Michal: “The position needs to be meaningful with a set area of responsibility and the company needs to be stable with the potential to grow.”

Dana: “First and foremost is the chemistry and suitability with direct managers, colleagues and the organization. As an executive, it’s important when choosing a company to know its position in the market, as well as its opportunities, challenges and my connection as an executive to the vision. Besides the company itself, it’s important to understand the position of the group I’m supposed to lead within the company, including its powers, responsibilities and growth potential.”

What’s important to you in the recruitment process?
Roei: “Transparency, understanding the needs of both sides and considering long-term suitability. There are always certain gaps regarding the definition of the position (and the conditions), but as soon as there is a match between ability and need, it’s easy to bridge them.”

Michal: “Transparency, meaning information about the process and interviewers, personal attention and of course suitability. A position definition that matches what I’m looking for in accordance with my desire to move forward with my career, like, for example, joining a growing company that allows for lots of opportunities to grow within it.”

Dana: “Understanding what I’m becoming a part of and where my experience contributes to the success of the company where it is located in its growth. It’s important for me to understand who the people of the company are, what’s important to them and who they work well with in order to understand my suitability to the organization as well. As for the company, it’s important for me to know its situation, what market it operates in, who its customers are, who its competitors are, what the vision is moving forward and what challenges the company faces on the way there in terms of finances, business and products. I try hard to get as much relevant information from as many sources as I can, also reading and researching myself, even during the recruitment process itself and in meetings with different people at the company. It’s also important for me as a candidate to meet as many people as possible from as many different positions and roles as I can. I also look for more informal sources who know the organization from the inside to get the broadest picture possible. No less important and significant is the fact that the process is pleasant, humane, as authentic as possible, and that I can feel the chemistry with the people. Many times you can learn about the people in the company and the organizational culture from the process itself.”

What makes a successful executive in your eyes?
Roei: “An executive who knows how to bring the right people to the right positions, give them clear directions and goals and provide the conditions for success in terms of resources, direction and professional and managerial support.”

Michal: “A successful executive is more of a leader than a manager. He needs to lead his group to achieve success and reach both business and personal goals.”

Dana: “A successful manager is measured by his level of professionalism in his field and his ability to learn and teach, empower employees, communicate clearly and create a vision, connect between people, achieve results and make decisions. On a personal level, I believe that a successful executive knows how to listen to the people he manages, colleagues and other executives, and understands what works well, what the pain points are and how he can pave the path to solve problems and create opportunities that bring value and motivation to the organization and its people themselves. A good executive also knows when it’s best to respond and create change out of vision and need (the customers’ or the organization’s), to carry the organization and achieve results.

How did communication with iTalent contribute to the process?
Roei: “There was continuous transparency about the company, the positions and the people involved. The process was guided and monitored, the pace of progress was maintained and circles closed. There was great importance in the ability to represent and differentiate the recruiting company and at the same time understand and communicate the needs of the candidate in a professional and caring manner.”

Mihal: “The communication contributed to the reception of updates regarding the process, tips and information. This contact led me to the next stage of my career.”

Dana: “Being guided through the entire process was very valuable and meaningful for me. I felt that our success was shared, and that there was a very personal and open connection. Over the course of the process, they gave me tools and created contacts that were very helpful in specifying what was important to me and how to behave in the search process on a personal level, as well as what is customary in the market and in communication with the companies themselves.”

These three executives are actually talking about the same things: suitability, chemistry, transparency, guidance. Senior executives in the industry know where they want to go. They have a managerial vision in their head that needs to match the values of the company. “I chose the company where I work because of the personality match, a diverse and challenging position in the areas that interest me, the vision and the amazing business potential,” explained Roei. Mihal continued in the same vein: “Thank you for contacting me and leading me to the next stage of my career.”

Dana summed things up by saying, “I chose my current position above all else because of the people. I connected closely to all the people I met during the process, on both a personal and professional level. I connected to the company’s actions, vision and the challenges of the position I was a candidate for, which was a great match for my experience and the next steps in my personal career development. I am very excited for this position, which signals to me that this is the right place.”

What is the right way to achieve this match, and why should you choose to undergo this process with iTalent?

Senior candidates are more aware of their value than ever, and companies are looking to match quality with value. The process has become much more specific, which requires intimate management, guidance, tracking, tips and consultation. The market is creating opportunities that are more painful to miss than ever.

And one more thing, (we’re allowing ourselves some room to brag lately), we recently recorded a string of impressive executive recruitments for R&D and product positions. Need a new star? That’s why we’re here!

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