Do You Know Your Recruiters?

Executive Recruitment consultants, or Recruiters, are key stakeholders for senior professionals engaged in a job search or career change.

A Recruiter’s territory can overlap with Executive Search consultants, commonly referred to as ‘Head-hunters’. The big difference between the two, apart from the scope and remuneration of the roles they handle, is that Executive Recruiters often advertise (but not always) the positions they’re working on.

If Recruiters are to be your allies during this process, there are five things you should know about how they work.

  1. Their reputation and success depends on their business development skills, market savvy, strong relationships and networks, and ultimately their ability to find good candidates who match their client’s brief. While the barriers to enter the industry are low, the turnover is high.
  2. They survive on good assignments and commission paid by clients as a result of successful placements. So, while finding the best candidates is important, a Recruiter focuses on the organisations who pay them. They don’t work for you, the candidate.
  3. Good Recruiters are retained by clients to fill a position. While some may have a ‘watching brief’ to refer talented people to their clients, this is less common. This ‘contingency’ approach has the risk of little or no return to a Recruiter, so beware.
  4. While a good Recruiter will network and want to know talented people, they can’t meet everyone who wants to meet them. Unless your profile is relevant to a current assignment, it may be difficult to get their attention.
  5. Research the market and look for the best fit for your target position eg some Recruiters or firms have functional expertise, others focus on corporate or government organisations. Not all Recruiters are born equal. Get recommendations from your network to sift the cowboys from the goodies.

While they are excellent contacts who can offer valuable insights during your job search, Recruiters aren’t motivated to devote energy to your unique career aspirations. Unfortunately, your background may not be useful to them now, or at any time in the near future.

If you happen to speak to a Recruiter at the right time, it’s a bonus. If not, you are networking, practising your interviewing skills and making progress with your career due diligence.

Do you know the best Recruiters in your field? If not, start exploring, before you really need them.


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