Working with executive recruiters is one of the primary ways in which top executives discover their next opportunity. Here are a few tips to get the top retained recruiting firms that primarily place senior executives to call you back.
- Try finding the recruiters in major retained firms that specialize in your industry/position (online and through LinkedIn first), and call them directly. Tell them who you are, and then offer to send your resume to them via e-mail.
- Make sure you match up your skills and industry with their specialty. Try searching via a major search engine using terms such as: high technology+recruiters, or: wireless+telecom+recruiters, or: banking+Singapore+recruiters. Play around and see what you can come up with! Google Maps is a great tool for “finding” firms too!
- Don’t worry about geography, especially if you are conducting a global search. Recruiters are primarily industry specialists and will have clients everywhere.
- Send a really good resume in PDF form. They may also ask for a Word version, or want you to upload your resume into their database, or fill out a form on their website (Someone has to do it).
- Call — it takes more time, but it will be worth it. An alternative to calling major retained firms directly is to ring the main number and simply ask the person answering the phone for the recruiter in charge of your industry (the recruiter who specializes in general operations searches, or construction, or healthcare, etc.).
- Take advantage of a recruiter distribution service, such as the one that I offer. Distributions are not always necessary though. You can get a lot of traction if you have a little time to connect with recruiters on your own!
- Prepare what you want to say before you get them on the phone:
If you have sent your resume:
“Hi, this is ____. I sent you my resume (or sent in my resume) last week and wanted to follow up with a phone call to briefly introduce myself. And to find out if you have any open searches in the ___ industry that I might be a good potential candidate for.”
If you have not sent your resume:
“Hi, this is__, and I am a ____. I am calling to introduce myself. I am in a highly confidential (be sure to mention it if you are!) career transition, and I wanted to reach out to you personally because I understand that you specialize in my industry. May I send you my resume? I would welcome a conversation if you feel I am a good match for any of your open searches.”
Call first if you are in a confidential or passive search.
Understand What Motivates Recruiters to Pitch You Their Best Client Company Job Openings
- Be the candidate that matches their industry and position hot spot.
- Have excellent marketing material, and learn how to interview so they don’t have to train you.
- Sound and act like a professional on the phone and in person.
- Be focused enough for them to feel like “you know who you are and where you are going”. A great example of this is: You are vetting two sub-industries in commercial real estate—___ and ___. You can relocate anywhere in the U.S. This is not so vague that the recruiter will feel he is helping you to figure out what to do next in your career—and not so specific that he’ll feel like he is trying to meet your exhaustive list of requirements.
- Avoid saying something that sounds an alarm as the client company will typically tell the recruiter—and then the recruiter may or may not divulge this to you because it’s a slippery slope.
- Rehearse your interviews; know ahead of time the right and wrong things to say. Speak professionally to the recruiter; you are not the recruiter’s buddy. He is not working for you; he is working for the companies he represents.