Now’s the time to pick up some great executive talent!

I’m often asked from my clients, “How’s the candidate market?  Is their some good talent out there at the moment?”  Well the market for employers seeking talented executives is very interesting right now.

The past two years have seen many companies let go of top performers indiscriminately due to CFO’s being given the reins who have focussed on cost cutting in order to enable companies to either survive or maintain a profit.  In the recovery, CEO’s are taking back the reins and looking for growth opportunity.  But where has this left Australia’s top performing executives?

Displaced; “I’ve taken this job that I’m overqualified for.  It’s beneath me, but I needed to pay the bills.”

Dissatisfied; “I’ve had to take this job because I was made redundant in my last job and there wasn’t anything else available at the time.  It doesn’t suit me; I just took it because it was a job.” 

Underappreciated; “Gee, I’ve battled through this GFC, I’ve been asked to deliver the impossible, I’ve been threatened with my job, I’ve delivered and survived!  Phew…  Has anyone recognised any of this?”

Looking backwards; “This place has lost the positive culture it once had.  It will never be the same; a shadow of its former self.  And all my mates are gone.  Not sure I like this place anymore.”

Lacking direction; “All of the middle management has been culled over the past two years.  This place has no direction anymore.”

Exhausted; “Gee I’ve done it hard over the past two years.  I’m spent and over it.  Time for something new to recharge my batteries.” 

Free Interview Coaching DowloadMany of these people have felt this way for some time, but have held onto their positions out of fear, concluding: “Elsewhere is not likely to be any better. Any new job may not be secure with the current market conditions.”  So they’ve reluctantly held on to what they’ve got for now.  Many of these executives are now experiencing the effect of the recovery, feeling that perhaps now is a better time to look for that next career opportunity.

The Minefield

Two years ago, if someone had a ratio of one job per year in recent times, they were almost instantly dismissed by discerning employers and recruiters, concluding that these people have been pushed out of their positions due to underperformance or just don’t stick around in jobs for longer than a year.  Many of these professionals have continued to job hop throughout the GFC and by virtue of their nature, they are sending you their CV right now.  But the GFC has spawned a new breed of job hopping executives.  Those that were once stable in their career have found themselves with two or three jobs on their CV in the space of two years.  This is due to people being placed in difficult and sometimes hemorrhaging environments and often unsustainable positions where professionals are either highly unsatisfied and leave, or they become the victim of another round of job cuts as the GFC deepened it’s bite on corporate Australia.

So today, as employers and recruiters sift through CV’s, where they once could dismiss the job hopper as… a job hopper, today’s candidate market has changed and the waters have become murky.  Closer attention needs to be given to the ‘job hoppers’, as this is where the gold may lie.  This is where things can get dangerous, as employers and recruiters need to distinguish the inherent job hopper from the displaced, highly capable executive.  Get it wrong and you’re left replacing the candidate a year in; a very costly mistake.

So, is now a good time to be hiring from a ‘talent availability’ perspective?  Absolutely it is.  However a keen eye for talent is required and a willingness to investigate where you may have previously dismissed.  What’s more essential is an ability to question your long-list in a way that enables you to distinguish the rare talent from the rest.  A CV without further investigation in 2012 will tell you far less than it did in 2008.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity to pick up some great talent!

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Unique Career Opportunity at CMA

Unique Career Opportunity at CMA

Regular readers of our blog will remember hearing from our guest blogger, Simon Dowling, CEO at CMA Learning Group on a previous post.  Some news in from CMA; they are implementing a new strategy internally that will enable them to achieve significant growth over the coming three years.  Forming part of this strategy is the creation of a new position within the company at Director level in Melbourne, requiring a first-class sales and marketing innovator.  Harlow Group has been selected to exclusively manage the recruitment of CMA’s new Director of Sales & Marketing.  Let me tell you a little more about the opportunity.

Over the past 17 years, CMA Learning Group has established themselves as the authority on negotiation and communications skills training & development in Australia.  You’ll be the CEO’s ‘partner’ in the company’s overall strategy development, having the opportunity to leave your mark on this highly respected, thought leading organisation.

       More about CMA

CMA work with some of Australia’s leading companies, government departments and not-for-profits to create meaningful change in the way professionals deal with key stakeholders to achieve their desired outcomes.  They partner with their clients to develop skills and systems that make a real difference – including negotiation, influence, conflict resolution, business writing, feedback and coaching skills.  With strong affiliation with Harvard University, they have been established for over 17 years and have very strong financial backing.  This company is poised for significant growth as they look to appoint a strategy and implementation leader to guide the business through its next phase of expansion.

       The Role

This newly created position is seen as a strategy leader within the organisation, someone who can create strategic initiative in order to guide the business to its targeted growth over the coming three years and beyond.  A strategy development partner to the CEO, you will also report to the chairman on occasion.  You will be empowered to instigate meaningful change across the sales and marketing function.  Responsibilities include:

  • Writing the sales and marketing strategy.
  • Creating systems and measures to support and drive your sales and marketing plan.
  • Developing tactical, day-to-day strategy to support your over-arching plan.
  • Leading from the front, a hands-on sales approach is required to lead a small sales team (small initially).
  • Growing the sales force; recruiting new head count for the sales team.
  • Management and mentoring of a small sales team.
  • Accountability for revenue and profitability targets across the entire business.
  • Innovate on all areas of sales force effectiveness.


This person will be employed to be an ‘innovator’ and will have the strategic thinking and delivery capacity to do just that; ‘innovate’.  As Simon Dowling the CEO put’s it, he is seeking a key strategic partner at the Directors level, someone who he can collaborate with in the development and implementation of the growth strategy.  A hands-on sales approach is required, therefore you will have a proven ability to generate revenue in a new business and relationship driven sales environment.  It’s likely you will have a history of sales management within a ‘knowledge based’ services industry.  So you may not come from the training industry, however you have sold a service that is valued based on the knowledge of the team delivering the service.


The position offers the successful applicant the opportunity to have a significant impact, driving meaningful change across an organisation.  CMA is exceedingly reputable within its niche.  This is driven from the genuine passion that is evident upon meeting any of the company’s staff.  Their genuine enthusiasm and desire for excellence exceeds that of their competitors and sets them apart as the thought leaders within this space in Australia.  Like the rest of the team, you will be proud to tell your friends and family what you do and who you work for.

       Is this you?

Let’s talk.  Happy to discuss dollars upon receiving a phone call.  I can be reached by email at or phone, (03) 9626 2494

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