If you’re an executive looking for work or contemplating a career switch, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually work with executive recruiters.
If you’ve never worked with a recruiter before, you probably don’t know exactly what to expect. The more you educate yourself on what to expect, the more prepared you can be.
To help you out, here are a few things to keep in mind when working with executive recruiters:
Understand Executive Recruiters Prioritize Their Clients
Executive recruiters are hired by a company to fill important positions. A recruiter’s main goal is satisfying their client’s needs by finding a candidate who is qualified, who is experienced, and who is able to jive with the company’s culture.
While a solid recruiter will help you throughout the hiring process if they feel you are a solid candidate, they are there to serve their client first. Recruiters aren’t hired by job seekers, so their loyalty is to the person who is paying them. However, if you’re looking for someone to give you devoted guidance during your career search, consider a career coach.
Inform Yourself on the Recruitment Process
Understanding the role you play will help clarify what you can expect when working with a recruiter.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the typical recruitment process:
- Outline Client Expectations: When a search firm is hired, that search firm will meet with the company that is hiring to discuss the details of the position and highlight what characteristics the ideal candidate should possess.
- Develop Recruitment Strategy and Conduct Candidate Research: Next, the search firm will strategize the most efficient way to advertise the job and recruit candidates. The search firm will pool together any qualified candidates already in their existing network. They may also find candidates by browsing social media sites for any relevant prospects as well as posting on job boards.
- Evaluate Candidate Pool: After the recruiter has a solid list of potential candidates, they will begin narrowing the names down to a reasonable amount. During this stage, recruiters will reach out to the potential candidates to gauge interest and better analyze qualifications.
- Market the Position and Arrange Interviews: The search firm will arrange official, in-depth interviews with the narrowed-down list of candidates. Often, the hiring party will be present for the interviews as well.
- Discuss Interview Results With Client: After the interviews, the search firm will meet with their client and compare the candidates’ details against the position’s requirements. From there, the client selects the best contender.
- Check References and Background: The search firm will then call references and conduct a thorough background check on the remaining candidate.
- Negotiate Acceptance: A search firm typically makes the offer to the candidate and helps negotiate salary and on-boarding details.
Prepare With Some Common Interview Questions
Preparing answers to routine executive interview questions gives you a chance to strategize how to address less-than-flattering resume topics, such as employment gaps or a spotty employment history.
While the questions your recruiter asks are bound to vary based on the individual hiring company, the industry, and the recruiter, here is a list of some common questions to consider:
- Why are you interested in the hiring company?
- What will your management style bring to the table? How has it helped companies in the past?
- What strengths would you bring to this role? What would you find most difficult about this role?
- How did you help the bottom line at your previous company?
- Why would you be willing to leave your current position?
- What makes you the best person for this job?
- What did you enjoy most and least at your previous company?
- How much are you looking to make?
Executive Recruiters May Think of You Down the Line
Even if you don’t get the position you initially apply for, it’s always helpful to send a thank-you note after the process comes to a close, and if possible, continue to maintain a friendly relationship with the recruiter you worked with.
As mentioned above, recruiters typically start looking for candidates through an already-existing professional network. Having a trusted resource of qualified job seekers on-hand helps streamline the time-sensitive hiring process.
By keeping in contact with recruiters you know, or even referring candidates their way for positions you’re not eligible for, you’ll positively cement your name into their mental databases. As such, you may be offered positions later on.
Remember, Recruiters Frequently Make Offers to Employed Candidates
Recruiters often make offers to employed candidates, so even if you have a steady job, it’s helpful to correspond with recruiters who reach out to you. It may seem pointless to keep in contact with a recruiter when you’re satisfied with your current position, but maintaining a relationship can help keep your options open for the future.
To help stay on recruiters’ radars, it’s important to maintain your social media profiles in a manner that best represents your professional experience and goals. Recruiters often search for candidates on these platforms, so make sure yours are up-to-date and contain specific, relevant keywords that relate to your position and industry.
Take Advantage of Valuable Feedback Executive Recruiters Offer
Executive recruiters are experts at placing candidates. They are actively involved in the world of hiring and job searching, and they always adapt their methods to fit modern practices. Because this is the arena in which their prowess thrives, your career search will fare much better if you take their advice and feedback seriously.
Whether they offer up a resume correction or some pre-interview guidance, heed their words. If you end up getting the call that you didn’t get the position, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on what you can improve on. You can use that advice during the next go-around.
Hopefully this information helps clarify how your relationships with executive recruiters will unfold as well as how to better appeal to hiring parties. When you know what to expect, you’ll be far more ready to take on the challenge of executive-level career development.