04 Sep 3 Tips for Networking With an Executive Recruiter
We’ve all heard the old recruiting mantra “who you know matters more than what you know,” and for executives, this definitely holds true. Executive positions are rarely advertised, and personal connections aren’t just helpful for landing the job—they’re necessary. As such, more executives are turning to search consultants to help them keep tabs on opportunities. And with the executive recruiting industry reaching $9 billion total revenue in 2019, it’s clear that the jobs are out there.
But like any job hunt, you’ll have to put in some effort as well—particularly in the way you manage your executive recruiter relationships.
1. Know their focus area before making contact
At the executive level, just about every recruiting firm has a specialty or target market that they focus on. Before you even start, make sure your recruiting firm prioritizes the industry niche you want to explore. You’d be surprised at how many candidates, even at the executive level, take the “batch blast” approach of sending requests to every possible executive recruiting firm, most of which have nothing to do with the candidate’s desired field.
As you would for any job search, put some care into which firms you contact and put some care into your first message.
2. Reach out before you need help
And while we’re on the subject of things to avoid, don’t be “that person” who only makes contact when you need something. Networking is about relationship building, and as such, you’ll be more successful if you start fostering connections early.
Executive search firms are usually inundated with requests, most of which are sent by complete strangers who need help finding work. And that’s fine—but how much better would you fare if you had a personal connection with an executive recruiter before your job hunt even begins? Build these relationships early and you’ll have a far better chance of catching a recruiter’s attention.
3. Create mutual value
Again, looking at the recruiter/candidate relationship, it’s clear that you’ll have better luck if you can bring something to the table as well. Your goal is to create mutual value, here. This starts by giving the recruiter everything he/she needs to facilitate a successful hire: honesty, personal details, a strong personal value proposition, etc. But it doesn’t stop there. Why not introduce an industry colleague to the recruiter as well? Helping the recruiting team expand their own list of connections is a great way to get noticed.
Getting the most out of your executive search firm
Search consultants are one of the few ways executives can keep tabs on their industries, but you need to help them help you. Focus on connections rather than results, and remember that your underlying goal here really isn’t to find a job—it’s to establish the relationships that will support your career goals, both today and years down the road.