Friday, December 14, 2007

Seize opportunities for non traditional growth

I just read an article on the Yahoo Finance website called “More Than One Road to the C-Suite.” The article talks about how in the current employment market, one doesn’t necessary need to pursue a traditional career path, hold all the usual required step positions, to become a CEO. Traditionally, one would have needed the experience of being a VP, Sr. VP, then President, or COO, coupled with the necessary degrees and certifications, in order to fulfill the milestones of legitimacy for a CEO.

According to this article, these traditions have changed a bit. In today’s job market, it’s possible to get to the “C-level” through non-traditional means. Now, having a strong network, a unique, diverse breadth of experience, a charismatic presence, and strong communication skills, mixed with the right organization, and set of circumstances, one can find themselves in the “the corner office.”

After reading this article, I thought about how this theme applies even more significantly to careers below the C-level. At Alchemy our specialty for placement is the accounting and finance field. These career paths tend to be traditional in the way they view advancement. One usually needs to have obtained the appropriate education and certifications, and well as the required experience, before advancing to the next level, or moving into more strategic/analytical disciplines.

However, despite these traditions, over the last year, I’ve seen many candidates leapfrog positions, reach manager and director levels ahead of schedule, and move into more analytical/strategic roles more fluidly. I believe this is happening more frequently because of the Bay Area’s shortage of skilled candidates. Because there are fewer and fewer candidates available with the specific technical skills that growth oriented companies need, to stay competitive, hiring authorities have gotten more liberal. They’ve been paying more attention to a candidate’s potential for growth and development, versus basing their hiring decisions solely on direct experience and credentials. I believe companies that take this approach give themselves an advantage in the marketplace.

Right now candidates with a proven track record, who are hungry to move up or move into parallel disciplines, should seize these opportunities. Because, as the economy slows down, so will career growth opportunities, and companies will probably go right back to their traditional hiring methods. Learn more about Alchemy:

--Steve Hernandez