Within each of us, in the collective unconscious, there lies a hero — an archetype that Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed lays dormant until called to action. Studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell built upon Jung’s work, discovering that no matter what the myth, a hero’s journey remains the same. All heroes must leave what is familiar, venture forth, do battle, and then return, forever changed, with new talents and gifts to share. For those of us in executive search, that means we deal with something far more important than recruiting metrics and candidate tracking systems: with each and every recruiting engagement, we bear witness to the hero’s journey.
The classic hero’s journey begins with a call to action. For executive search, this would be the point at which a candidate is first given notice that everything is going to change. That step is often followed by a refusal of the call. A candidate may not be ready to make a move out of fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or a sense of duty or obligation. Once the hero has committed to the quest, a magical guide or helper appears. The most gifted recruiters and executive search consultants naturally assume that role, helping usher candidates across the threshold to enter the world of the unknown.
Executive search done well is inspired. We are participants in a spiritual quest that involves forces far greater than any one of us, including Jung’s collective unconscious and Campbell’s monomyth. Each and every day, let us remember the hero’s journey.