I work in executive search for specialty retailers, apparel and the action sports industry. It's a kind of a manic depressive business. You could have everything work out great, or it could all suddenly fall apart. In 10 minutes you can go from a high to a low or the other way around. You really have to be very organized and able to multitask. You have to be focused, prioritized, and able to take a deep breath and keep going. I love it. It's one of the best jobs I've ever had.

At night, I make a running list of things that need to get accomplished because the day can go any number of ways. No matter what you plan to do, you always run into things that take immediate priority.

I have a multitude of clients and multiple positions I'm looking for. Each one is its own project. I know the title of the position that our clients are looking for so I prepare a written document describing the company and the job position.

I make and receive a lot of phone calls. When we start a launch, we have to put a lot of calls into the assignment. If it's a senior position we're looking for, we know there are five or 10 targets. I call them all privately. If the person has a level of interest, I will see them in person.

I do all of the interviews. I travel about once a week, usually around the west coast. Often times I'm just going down to Orange County or San Diego. I'm in San Francisco a lot too. It's an easy flight on Southwest.

If we can't do a face-to-face interview, we do a video conference. It doesn't have the same effect though. It's very two-dimensional. You miss some nuances and body language and it's also a little bit awkward.

Once I've met a group of candidates, I present four to six to the client. For all candidates, I prepare a write-up about the individual's skills and how they would fit against the requirements of the position. Most importantly it says how they will fit into the culture of the job.

The client knows what is in the market and what they are looking for. No one has everything. They have to decide what is important to them.

The client will find a couple of potential employees that they like. If we come up with potential matches in the first round, I bring them around again. Depending on the level of the job, there will be additional meetings. Maybe I need to set the candidate up with the client's board of directors.

The entire process takes about 90-120 days on average, but it could be 60. Getting people's calendars to match up is always a challenge. Most of the candidates are employed so they have to meet requirements for their own job. It all adds to the time.
I have in the range of seven to eight clients at one time, maybe more. I'm at different levels of the process with each of them. But, I'm always working with a team of people so it makes it easier to manage.

I was born in the Bronx and grew up on Long Island. I have a degree in music. I thought I'd be an opera singer. When I realized that wasn't going to work out, I needed to pay the rent so I went back and got another degree in retail marketing at the University of Massachusetts. "

* Patricia Muise
Global Retail Practice
Korn/Ferry International

Morning routine: Aerobics and weight-training at the gym by 6 a.m., stop at Starbucks for a chai tea latte, visit to the dog park with Mozart the beagle, shower, at work by 9 a.m.
Evening routine: Leaves work by 7 p.m. "We eat dinner, sometimes watch TV, sometimes do more work, and then go to bed."
Resume: Includes stints with Marriott, a candy company and Universal Studios.
Encounter: Donald Trump. "He was very smart. I was in his office. There was a 20-foot wall with framed magazine covers and it was all Donald Trump. He was really down to Earth."

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