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Working with an Executive Recruiter

One of the most important relationships you can have in your lifetime is one with a seasoned executive recruiter who is well known and trusted in your area of specialty. Many people mistakenly think that recruiters are a short-term solution to getting a new job now, but they couldn’t be more wrong. It really all comes down to finding new opportunities and who has access to them. Please note that I have used the word “opportunity” and not the word “job”. Recruiters can help you find opportunities for employment, but it’s up to you to get the job. Knowing how to work with an executive recruiter can help you make the most of any opportunity to advance your career, salary, or personal satisfaction.


Here are 15 basic rules you can follow when dealing with a recruiter:




Have a clear game plan and a job changing mindset before you receive the call. This includes always having an updated resume.


Work with a recruiter whom you respect and trust. Your recruiter should understand what you are looking for

in both the short term and the long term.


The best time to see a recruiter is when you are not looking for immediate employment. This is a great time

to develop a long term relationship due to the lack of pressure.


Be candid with the recruiter concerning your background & education. Don't exaggerate your salary. Your

recruiter or client might verify these facts at a later stage in the hiring process. If you are out of work or know you

will be out of work soon - say so. Being honest can only help you. Always inform your recruiter if you have already

been submitted to a particular client they called you about. Multiple submissions create conflict for the client,

the recruiters, and you. This will not be a good reflection on you if you were not upfront about the previous submission.


If a recruiter sends you out for an interview, keep him or her updated and informed during the process. You

should be briefed before every interview, and debriefed after every meeting. An effective recruiter can help you

overcome hurdles or issues behind the scenes, and can be an excellent advocate for your candidacy; but in order to

do this, he or she has to be fully informed. If the client calls you directly at any time after submission, make sure

you inform your recruiter as soon as possible. Your recruiter is your advocate, and you want to keep them involved

at all times.


Stay in touch. If you want to be at the top of the list when the right job does become available, it helps to check

in every so often. In the long term, the more a recruiter gets to know you, the better he or she can help you.


Keep your recruiter informed of any changes to your situation- including new jobs, contact info, relocation,

etc... If recruiters can't find you, they can't help you.


Relocation often proves to be a stumbling block in a successful match. You should think seriously about where

you would consider relocating and under what circumstances. You should do this before going too far into the

interview process. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money, including your own.


Keep in mind that search firms don’t work for you. Although a recruiter will do their best to accommodate

your interests, a search firm’s primary objective is finding a qualified candidate for their client.


If you are not interested in the opportunity, make it known early in the process. Offer to be a resource if

not a candidate. This will keep you at the top of the recruiters mind should a better fit for you come up later on.


Don’t play hard to get. Keep appointments and return calls. One of the biggest turn-offs to a recruiter is the lack

of courtesy from candidates regarding communication. This is one of the top ways in which you can get off the radar

of a recruiter. A lack of courtesy on your part will be remembered by the recruiter.


Do your homework on the client and organization. Before you go to an interview, be prepared. Lack of

preparation will be detrimental to the trust relationship with your recruiter, and will probably lose you the job.


When writing follow-up letters post-interview, run them by your recruiter. Before sending your follow-up letters,

have your recruiter review them. They know what the hiring manager is looking for, and have insight regarding the

position that can help you during this important step.


Don’t cultivate an offer to gain leverage at your current job. Such a short-term, self-serving strategy usually

backfires, even when accepting counter-offers.


Let the recruiter run interference for you. Although compensated by the hiring organization, your search consultant

can be your advocate too. They have a stake in your success. Remember, their compensation depends on your

compensation. Share your goals with them, and they will be your negotiator in terms of salary, benefits, and perks.