Inevitably, for most executives, there are times when a proactive job search is needed to keep their career momentum going. If that’s you, perhaps you’ve considered reaching out to a recruiter.
Working with an executive search firm is a great way to diversify your search efforts and offers many advantages, such as access to non-posted positions and an insider’s perspective on what an employer is looking for.
But if you want your interactions with recruiters to be fruitful for both immediate job search needs and future ones, you’ll need to be aware of the following mistakes executives make when engaging with them and make sure you aren’t guilty of any of them:
1). Thinking the recruiter’s job is to find you a position.
A recruiter is interested in helping you secure your next position insofar as it:
A) Helps them achieve their goals of completing the pressing search assignments they have been paid by employers to conduct; or
B) May earn them a commission on a contingency basis for identifying the right person for a given job.
Either way, you are not their paying client—the employer is. Understanding this will help you avoid frustration if you do not get an immediate response about opportunities or if it is not the recruiter’s top priority to meet and discuss what YOU want. They may already know that you do not fit the criteria for their current search assignments and are prioritizing executives who do.
2). Approaching the relationship in a one-sided manner
Just like all interpersonal relationships, there must be give and take or else the relationship is at risk of deteriorating. Don’t just think about what the recruiter can do for you, but also how you can help them achieve their goals. If they currently have no opportunities that match your profile, perhaps you could suggest potential candidates to help them complete their current assignments. And don’t just take their calls when you are actively searching. Be responsive and helpful even when you are employed—and you may find them more receptive to helping you when you need it.
3). Sending them a resume they are less than thrilled to send on.
An executive recruiter is only as good as the quality of candidates they offer their clients. A resume that features unpolished writing, bland or unattractive formatting, or content that does not effectively communicate your value would reflect poorly on you, and in turn, on the recruiter who passed it along for consideration. Ensure that your resume is one that a recruiter would be eager to show a client.
To recap, recruiters can be an invaluable resource to you in your executive job search. But it is critical to understand their priorities, build mutually beneficial relationships with them, and present them with a resume they would be delighted to share with their most discerning clients.