Top Tactics to Become the Chief Executive Officer


Are you ready to become a CEO? What do executive recruiters look for in CEO candidate searches?
BlueSteps recently hosted a live executive webinar, which featured Ulrich Ackermann, TRANSEARCH International, Andrew Reese, Boyden Executive Search, Michelle R. S. Bonoan, Heidrick & Struggles, and Nathan Ott, eg. 1. This discussion focused on the modern CEO role and the ways in which candidates can position themselves for CEO jobsceo_jobs_tips Here are a few of the stand-out recommendations from the webinar:
What are the key skills required for the modern CEO?

  • Leadership and people management skills
  • Ability to engage & interact with external stakeholders (investors, board, etc.)
  • Lead by influence not by authority
  • Ability to adapt to change
  • Have a broader perspective beyond your own industry i.e. “lead…and inspire transformation.”

How does a candidate become more visible to executive search consultants?

  • Build relationships with executive search consultants and credible individuals in your field, before you need a job.
  • Identify executive recruiters who specialize in your industry/function. Then, send an email introducing yourself, with your executive resume. Don’t expect an immediate phone call back as the search consultant may not be working on an assignment that’s appropriate for you as a candidate.
  • Become known as an expert in your industry by speaking at conferences, participating in interviews for news publications and attending networking events. For in-transition CEOs, becoming well-known in your industry will be the most likely path to a new CEO role.
  • Start connecting with search consultants well before you’re ready for the CEO role.

How can candidates develop a relationship with search consultants?

  • Return phone calls from executive recruiters even if you’re not interested in the opportunity. This is one of the easiest ways to add new recruiters to your network.
  • Be honest with recruiters about any other opportunities you’re currently being considered for.
  • If you’re not right for the recruiter’s current search, try to be helpful and suggest other qualified candidates. This could allow you to become a go-to person and sector expert. Having this type of relationship with an executive search consultant will increase the likelihood that you will be considered when an appropriate opportunity arises in the future.

Where are the opportunities for CEOs in 2014 and beyond?

  • Best path for first-time CEOs is to move up the ranks at your current organization. Most first-time CEOs are not outside hires.
  • Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone by 1) changing industries to help companies get through a transformation and/or 2) going into new markets (Asian, Latin American, African, etc) to show that you can deliver.

Learn more about what it takes to become CEO:

  • Join BlueSteps today to listen to this webinar recording and to access the full BlueSteps Podcast Archive.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

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About BlueSteps

BlueSteps empowers executives to reach their career goals with strategic career planning.


At BlueSteps, we thoughtfully create career management solutions that are designed to help leaders advance their careers, stay on track to build a long-term career playbook, and become a strong leader. Our tools and resources will help you:
  • Advance your career with tools to keep you on track. 
  • Access insider job market intelligence from the experts.
  • Identify and network with the right recruiters.
  • Discover executive jobs and board positions not found elsewhere.
  • Connect with world class career advisors for support when you need it.

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