876. A Day in the Life: What's It Really Like to Be an Executive Search Consultant?
“You’ve got to have patience and respect for the trials and tribulations that the economy and organizations and human desire have. That’s a really hard lesson to learn because I’m a let’s get stuff done now kind of person. I had to learn to be patient and to develop all of the emotional intelligence skills to be able to really think for the client, to think for the candidate and to not put undue pressure on any of those different parties when people just aren’t ready yet or the organization isn’t ready yet, or the systems aren’t ready yet, or the budget isn’t available. All of those different things you must be able to demonstrate.”
Caroline Stokes leads an executive search and emotional intelligence coaching company for successful leaders and global technology organizations to move forward together. Her entire approach to executive search, the employer brand, the candidate and employee experience is included in her business book “Elephants Before Unicorns: Emotionally Intelligent HR Strategies to Save Your Company,” published by Entrepreneur Press (2019).
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I remember starting at Sony in Soho, London and I was in the situation where there was no onboarding, there was no Human Resources. We had just started the PlayStation division. It was like this mini startup. We were young, scrappy, and hungry and trying to make it work, trying to generate revenue and to get the license for the PlayStation. So it was a lot of hard work, long hours and intense pressure to make that happen—the beginning of a very important role. I felt like I was this odd person that had just been added to a team without any formal integration on what the goals are, what the challenges are, how we need to work together. Instead of there being a cohesive collaborative culture being formed, we were all just shooting off in our particular areas. And that’s where I think the first “100 Days Concept” came about and it just repeated itself time and time again. Every time I moved to a new country, every time I changed jobs, I thought: ‘Okay, I’ve had enough, I’ve REALLY got to change this model.’”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
- My father was a banker and we moved quite a lot during my early years—from the UK to Singapore and back and to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand before I was 8 years old. These travel experiences were utterly transformative because I learned about different cultures, politics, geography that few people typically experience.
- In my teens and into college I had a lot of different internships: I loved working, it’s all I really wanted to do. I wanted to learn a trade, to earn a dollar. I simply had that drive and I needed to have a different challenge every day.
- So after I graduated college I went straight into the workforce and back then it was a completely different market to how it is now. I had an entry level job and I worked for Virgin, and then I worked for Sony launching the PlayStation. It was just a wild time and it was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to a male-dominated environment because that’s where I felt comfortable along with working with technology people and that’s what I moved into.
- It’s quite phenomenal when you think of it, just how much that has happened in the last 10 years. What I have noticed is that thanks to HR departments, thanks to CEOs, leaders, entrepreneurs, everyone in business now knows that they need to have leadership development training. They need to treat their people well. They need to think strategically and culturally about what types of people will actually perform well and if they’re not performing well, how can you help them? It’s a very exciting time to see so many people thrive and help organizations adapt and grow.
On Her Bookshelf
Connecting With Caroline Stokes
Read Caroline’s book for free for 30 days. Elephants Before Unicorns: Emotionally Intelligent HR Strategies to Save Your Company
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Careers: Executive Search Consultant