Working With Executive Recruiters

by Meg Guiseppi on April 9, 2012

connect with executive recruiters

Are you confused about the different kinds of recruiters, why you should connect with them, and what they can do for you? Did you know that internal recruiters and external recruiters — either retained or on contingency — help you in different ways?

As an executive, you’ve probably worked with recruiters in the past. The story I most often hear from my c-level executive clients is that they were pursued by recruiters while they were employed, and easily slid from one job to the next, without much effort. The recruiter(s) took over and landed them in most of their jobs.

Executive job search doesn’t work quite so easily these days, unless you’re very lucky.

Don’t expect executive recruiters to come knocking. They’re certainly out there looking for candidates like you, but with so much competition in the job market today, they’re looking at a lot more people. You may not be in demand in the same way you were a few years ago. You’ll need to reach out to them.

For help in sorting out all the pros and cons and how-to’s, go to the Work Coach Cafe and 2 posts written by Susan P. Joyce, online job search guru — one on Internal Recruiters, the other on External Recruiters.

Some of Susan’s tidbits on Internal Recruiters:

→  They have an insider’s perspective. They see how the organization works and typically know many of the people inside the organization, particularly the hiring managers.

→  They may be your advocate, if they believe you are the best person for the job.

But . . .

→  Their loyalty is to the organization. No matter how tempting, don’t tell them anything that you don’t want the rest of the organization to know.

→  They can “bar the door,” keeping you from being interviewed or considered, even if (sometimes, especially if) you try to go “around” them directly to the hiring manager.

And a few of her points on working with External Recruiters:

→  Contingency recruiters may be strong advocates of your candidacy – because they, or their employer, will earn a commission if you are hired.

→  They have an outsider’s perspective, so they are not caught up in the politics inside the organization, although – if they have worked with an employer before – they may understand quite a bit about how the organization and the people inside it operate.

But . . .

→  External recruiters are outsiders. They don’t know everything going on inside the organization. They may or may not know the people involved in every hire, so they may not be able to provide you with any meaningful coaching.

→  Your “cost of hire” (what it costs the employer to hire you) is higher than an internal referral or someone who walks in off the street because of the commission paid them if you are hired based on their referral. It can be as much as 20% to 25% of the annual salary.

Each kind of recruiter works differently. Understanding what motivates them can help you avoid making damaging assumptions that can derail your job search. Knowing how they work with candidates can help you to build positive, mutually rewarding relationships with them.

Related posts:

Build Winning Relationships with Executive Recruiters

Executive Job Search: How Recruiters Find You

Working with Recruiters For Senior Executives Over 50

photo by Rosmary

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