Getting noticed by an executive search firm

Many of today’s top companies rely on executive search firms to bring in the best possible talent for leadership roles within the organization. If you’re a candidate with your eyes on a C-suite desk or a current executive hoping to move into a different role, it’s likely that you’ll work with executive recruiters at some point during your search. Try implementing these strategies to ensure you stand out to firms that can help get you into the position you want.

1. Be visible

There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion – especially when it comes to landing a job that you’ve been aiming for. Whether it’s attending industry conferences, authoring or being quoted in business articles, speaking in events or establishing a social media presence with digital accounts on sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter, there are several ways for professionals to bolster their clout within the field. If a reporter calls with some questions about your industry, give thoughtful answers to get your name out in print and online. In addition to these overt strategies for becoming more visible, you can also attract the attention of executive recruiters by being proactive within your industry and developing a dialog with other leaders in the field.

2. Know the firms

Search firms vary in location, size, industry and position specialty. Many search firms have expertise in a given sector, so do some research to determine which ones operate in your industry. Seek out the firms that tend to recruit candidates who have backgrounds and skill sets that are similar to the ones you’ve honed over your career, and try to determine if their recruiting assignments generally line up with what you’re looking for in a position. Similarly, determine for whom the search firm is working. Specifically, ask if the relationship is exclusive or open, find out whether the firm is retained or contingent and determine if the candidate or employer is expected to foot the bill.

3. Reach out

Executive search consultants get hundreds of messages each day, which means that you need to know the best strategies for getting in touch with recruiters. Cold calling is rarely effective, so try emailing the recruiter instead, but keep in mind that you should be surgical rather than pervasive in your outreach. Rather than “blasting” emails to every recruiter you can locate, target those in your functional field or industry sector. Use a subject line that’s simple but clear and includes your functional and industry expertise – for instance, “Financial Service Marketing Executive” or “Manufacturing Supply Chain Executive.” Never bother recruiters by submitting your resume multiple times or calling repeatedly. This will get you noticed, but not in the way you’re hoping. Give search firms some time to get back to you, and don’t be discouraged if it’s a while before you hear anything.

4. Maintain relationships

Even if the search firm doesn’t have a position that’s a good fit for you right away, there’s always a chance that something will open up in the future. Developing a strong relationship with recruiters can help ensure that you’re at the top of the list if something better suited for your skills becomes available. When speaking with recruiters, always respond promptly, respectfully and enthusiastically. Answer questions honestly and demonstrate your knowledge of the industry whenever a chance presents itself. Treat executive recruiters in a way that showcases your competence and professionalism, and a position with your name written all over it may open up soon.

About Caldwell Partners

Caldwell Partners is a technology-powered talent acquisition firm specializing in recruitment at all levels. Through two distinct brands – Caldwell and IQTalent Partners – the firm leverages the latest innovations in AI to offer an integrated spectrum of services delivered by teams with deep knowledge in their respective areas. Services include candidate research and sourcing through to full recruitment at the professional, executive and board levels, as well as a suite of talent strategy and assessment tools that can help clients hire the right people, then manage and inspire them to achieve maximum business results. Caldwell Partners’ common shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: CWL) and trade on the OTCQX Market (OTCQX: CWLPF). Please visit our website at for further information.

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