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Why don’t recruiters post executive roles?

The more senior you get, the more frequently you’ll find that open positions are never advertised to the general public. As a general rule of thumb, the closer to the executive ranks a job is, the less likely you are to see it posted on an internet job board or in the classified sections.

This dynamic feels frustrating to many of us senior execs looking for our next role, but there are good reasons why companies and recruiters don’t post roles.   Here are just a few

  • Backfilling:  The company is replacing someone on the team and wants to start the search early.  They haven’t told the existing executive yet.

“Confidentially (I'm not sure who at the company knows), they'll be looking for a VP of Customer Success and a VP of Marketing.”  Talent Partner
  • Competition:  Job postings, particularly senior ones, can reveal a lot about a company’s strategy.

  • Experience vs. Skills: With senior roles, the soft skills are often as critical (or more so) than the specific experience. These are hard to codify in a formal job description

  • Evolving Role: If a role is new and still evolving, the company may not be ready to define the job title or responsibilities.  They often want to meet candidates and refine the position.   Additionally for fast growing startups, the job may be changing during the application process.

“Please keep this hush hush, as we do not plan to publish and really want to focus on being strategic in our search for this new hire.”   In-House head of GTM recruiting
  • Recruitment team bandwidth:  There is a burden to sort through job applications.  Companies want to do the right thing and respond to everyone - it is important from a brand perspective.  

“Most listings for exec positions receive thousands of applications.  We default for senior roles to searching directly”  In-House Exec Recruiter
  • LinkedIn has changed the game:  Instead of getting overwhelmed (see above), companies can target executives with the skills they need.

“That (sifting through hundreds of applications) takes time. It makes the recruitment process very slow and expensive. It also burns hundreds of great candidates who put in a huge effort to apply, but don’t succeed because they don’t quite fit this particular role. Now imagine if I start the process by contacting ONLY people who already have what I’m looking for  (which I can see from their LinkedIn profile).”  Richard Triggs (see full article)
  • Recruiters Don’t Want Candidates to Circumvent Process:  Many companies use recruiters to keep roles confidential but also recruiters want to control the quality of candidates they refer. 

Learn More about "Whispered Roles"

If roles aren't published, they are whispered. Whispered allows recruiters and companies to confidentially (and confidentially) share roles with a select group of executives.



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