Who Says Yes When the Headhunter Calls?

April 20, 2014 • STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT, Talent Management


By Peter Cappelli and Monika Hamori

Professionals increasingly choose to hop across employers, often moving between similar types of positions. Below, Peter Cappelli and Monika Hamori use a large executive search firm’s dataset to examine whether executives are likely to pursue offers from the executive search firm to be considered for positions at other organisations.


The new career realities

The past three decades have seen major changes in the employment relationship: Unconditional loyalty to employers and spending one’s entire career with the same corporation are things of the past.1 The reality is, an increasing number of professionals choose to hop across employers, often moving between similar types of positions.

How about loyalty in the executive ranks? Is job hopping less frequent there than among lower-ranking employees? Top executives and CEOs especially have been long considered the “inner core” of a corporation.2 For that reason, they have supposedly longer tenures at employers than their lower-ranking counterparts.3 Other sources, however, reveal that employer hopping may go on there as well, but more discretely, guided by search consultants. Surveys show that the majority of vice president-level and above openings in the United States had retained search firms engaged in filling them.4 Responses from close to 2,500 executives indicate that the number one trigger for their job search is receiving a call from an executive recruiter.5

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