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By Ronald H. Coelyn, Founding Managing Partner – The Coelyn Group

I recently read an article in a major newspaper purporting to give advice about recruiting executive talent in today’s extremely challenging economic climate.  Frankly, the advice given by these so-called experts in both print and broadcast media is unsubstantiated nonsense and very misleading – giving the distinct impression that their stories represent the “real” world.  It doesn’t work that way!

Myth 1 – Hiring only the “employed” in the current economy: The theory behind this statement is that unemployed executives are not as qualified as those who are employed.  This tried and “true” belief is untrue – most especially today.  In more than 23-years of executive search consulting I’ve never seen so many exemplary candidates become available through no fault of their own.  My firm would and has presented “A” player candidates who were currently between assignments.

Myth 2 – Age matters; don’t hire candidates in the third third of their career: This statement basically says that executives have about a 45-year career timeframe (from age 21 to age 65) prior to retirement.  But in reality, health, energy, passion and desire are the key components in evaluating a candidate of any age. More to the point, recent studies have shown that the average stay for a senior level executive is 2.3 years (reflecting the challenges of senior management, M&A activity, etc.). So hiring someone with perhaps 15 or more years left in their career, or even 3-4 years, should never be a problem.  And I would seriously consider candidates beyond age 65 assuming they have the aforementioned energy, etc.

Myth 3 – Wealthy executives don’t want to work anymore: they can’t be motivated: Clearly, this is an individual decision and many executives who have become independently wealthy elect to retire.  But I have personally come to know a great many such fortunate executives who have decided to continue their business careers. They just love the process, the thrill of competition and the realization that their contributions are truly important to society.

A perfect example is the venture capitalists.  As a group these creative leaders have often amassed considerable wealth and yet they “remain steadfastly in the game.”  And notwithstanding the current economic crisis which is impacting their sector we all know that they will come back strong, albeit perhaps with a different model for conducting business – but raise new funds and invest they will.  Of that, you can be certain.

Ronald H. Coelyn – Founding Managing Partner, The Coelyn Group
Ron is the Founding Partner of The Coelyn Group which specializes in Healthcare and Life Sciences. For the past 17 of his 30-year career, he has been active in these industries as a senior executive officer and, most recently, as an executive search consultant (both as a Founder of this Firm and as a Partner in the prestigious international executive search firm SpencerStuart). His executive search consulting practice spans engagements ranging from Chairman of The Board, Members of The Board of Directors, President & Chief Executive Officer to a variety of Vice Presidential and other senior level executive positions.

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