A VP of Corporate Communications who is job hunting asked, “I have been looking at several corporate roles and was told I needed more global experience. My long term career goal is to be a Senior VP of Corporate Communications. A prestigious consulting firm would like to interview me for a job heading their London office. Should I interview for the role?”
Answer: The short answer to this specific question is: Don’t waste your time and theirs. There are several reasons why this wrong.
The most critical issue is that taking a leadership role overseas at an agency does not naturally fit the career path for a senior corporate position, despite the seemingly logical nature for it to work. What I have seen happen when an executive is assigned a region to run (on both the agency and corporate side) is that s/he becomes, essentially the CEO/COO of the business. Given the autonomy, decision making authority and risk this leader assumes to succeed, she becomes entrepreneurial.
Resuming a search, after several years overseas in an agency role, to secure a Senior VP, Corporate Communications position becomes extremely difficult. Her agency experience, while impressive, is concerning to a potential organization. Leadership skills gained in an agency role do not equate to success in a corporate environment.
Moreover, the overseas experience has given her more confidence as a leader and risk taker. She is less willing to fit back into a corporate communications role at headquarters, under layers of executives making (second guessing) decisions. As she interviews for corporate roles, she comes to the realization that the job she is now seeking has changed. Her homework is to define the leadership position she feels ready to assume and the challenges she would like meet.