Working effectively with executive recruiters

Many top-level employers today hire executive recruiters to fill their high-paying, management-level positions. According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of associations that rely on these firms to fill their most sought-after roles is so high that executives should develop relationships with recruiters even if they have no plans to leave their current positions. All good relationships take time to build, and there are steps you can take to lay the groundwork with search firms even if you’re not yet ready to switch jobs.

Be transparent

The importance of having an honest, open discourse at all times cannot be overstated. Most recruiters check candidates’ backgrounds thoroughly, and the smallest embellishment could hurt your reputation with recruiting firms – as well as with their clients.

This applies to all areas of the candidate-recruiter relationship. Be upfront about your prior experience, as well as any boundaries you may have throughout your search. If there are industries, geographic regions or specific businesses in which you are unwilling to work, let your recruiter know. Put your mobile number in your email signature so that the firm can call or text you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If and when a recruiter approaches you with a potential lead, ask plenty of questions to get the best possible picture of both the company and the position itself. Asking for additional information won’t make you look uninformed – on the contrary, it shows that you’re a clever job hunter who wants to have a complete understanding of what the organization is about.

Candidates should consider inquiring about the size of the company and the employee culture. Ask about the specific skills that will be required for the position, and feel free to investigate whether or not you’re the first candidate who has been considered for the role.

If, after your questions are answered, you don’t believe that the position is the best fit for you, explain why. This will help the firm gain a better understanding of your needs and skills, and will help your recruiter find opportunities that may be a better fit for you in the future. Offer suggestions about calls you would make if you were the recruiter and be clear about open or confidential referrals.

Foster communication

Even if you’re not currently seeking a new position, it’s a good idea to stay in contact with recruiters. Try to check in once every two months so that firms remember you, and provide updates regarding your job search and any changes to your resume or requirements. The Journal also suggested that clients help search firms in any way possible. If you’re contacted about a position that doesn’t feel like a good fit, suggest another industry professional who might be more suited to it. Both parties will likely appreciate the increased exposure.

If you are actively looking for a new job, The Wall Street Journal recommended that you act as an “assistant” to the the firm throughout your search. Do some research to determine which companies may be a good fit for you, and offer to put together a list of potential employers.

If the firm sets you up with an interview, make sure to call prior to the interview for an update and insight to the meeting and check in within 24 hours to let everyone know how the discussion went. If offered a position, inform the firm right away.

About Caldwell Partners

Caldwell Partners is a leading international provider of executive search and has been for more than 40 years. As one of the world’s most trusted advisors in executive search, the firm has a sterling reputation built on successful searches for boards, chief and senior executives, and selected functional experts. With offices and partners across North America and in London, the firm takes pride in delivering an unmatched level of service and expertise to its clients.

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