The State of the Job Market for C-Level Executives

A friend of mine was recently hiring for a C-level executive for his business. He engaged my consulting services to review the resumes and suggest appropriate candidates to fill the vacancy. It was a win-win proposition for me, as I am actively looking for a President or Chief Operating Officer role myself.


I found the exercise to be very educational with regard to the state of the employment market for senior executives. Below are some of my key observations and findings:


In the first 30 days, we received 1,100 resumes. When the ad expired, after 60 days, we were at 1,600 resumes. Recently, a national search firm published that they receive approximately 500 resumes for a single job posting. Well, here we have 1,100 is 30 days and 1,600 by the time it expired. This could indicate that the market for C-level executives is much worse than middle management positions.


75-80% of the candidates were qualified to fill the C-level role. Sure, there were many that I shook my head wondering why in the world the person bothered wasting their time, but the vast majority of the people were qualified and had very impressive work histories.


Over 75% of the candidates showed significant gaps in recent employment, were out of work or were engaged in “consulting” or temporary endeavors.


Most of the submissions had a generic cover letter and a 2-3 page resume. Some submissions were way over the top with letters of recommendations and the resume in 2-3 formats. Most of the resumes followed the very traditional resume format.


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