By Jim Wong, CPA | April 15, 2015


Searching for a job is an exhaustive process. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Anyone that is looking for a new job knows that it’s not an easy task. When you make the decision to look for a new position, whether you’re still in your current role or unemployed, there are several steps to take before you can begin your search. From updating your resume to sprucing up your professional online profile to putting feelers out to your network, all of this takes time and a whole lot of effort.

One way to reduce the level of stress associated with your job search is to get professional assistance through the use of a search or staffing firm. Executive recruiters are professional headhunters who work for search and staffing firms and are experts in the job search process. An executive recruiter can help you find your next role while offering you valuable career advice during your journey.

However, there are many types of search and staffing firms out there – no two are alike. There are some things you should consider when engaging help from an executive recruiter. You may hear terms like retained or contingency models. However, as the job seeker, that has very little to do with you and more to do with the agreement between the staffing firm and the hiring companies. Therefore, it’s not something to devote much time to considering. What is important to understand is the role the executive recruiter has so that you can pick the right firm to represent you in your job search.

CIO.com published a recent article on tips for working with recruiters. We used a few of their points along with some of our own to produce the following list, 7 Tips for Working with Executive Recruiters.

1. Interview the recruiter
Just as you will get interviewed by a recruiter, and then subsequently by a potential employer, you should interview the executive recruiter who will represent you in your search. Generally, professional athletes, celebrities, actors and musicians have an agent that represents them professionally. These professionals are careful to select someone who understands their needs and goals. Equally as important, the agents are able to provide guidance to achieving those goals and always look for the right opportunities to fit their client’s needs. Likewise, you should view your relationship with an executive recruiter as more of an agent working for you. However, you should never have to pay for an executive recruiter to represent you. The hiring companies are responsible for their fees. Overall, get to know the person that will be going to bat for you in your job search. Ask about the recruiter’s background. Ask how long he or she has been employed with the company. Ask them to tell you their process in identifying opportunities for their candidates. Ask for references. Then, look up the company’s website and ask friends, family and colleagues whether they have heard about this specific firm to get further information on the company’s reputation.
2. Be selective
As with any industry, not all search and staffing firms are credible. Be sure to do ample research ahead of time to know what type of company you’ll be aligning yourself with. You want to be sure that you find a firm that specializes in your profession. For example, accounting, finance or IT professionals will want to work with a recruiter that specializes in accounting, finance or IT, not marketing or an unrelated industry. You also want to work with a firm that wants to meet you in person to go over your goals and objectives. Recruiters who have a two-minute conversation with you on the phone and immediately want to send you a job opportunity, may not be looking out for your best interest. However, if they show that they want to take the time to genuinely learn about you and your experience, this can be a good sign of how they’ll work for you in the future.
3. Be honest and direct
Be upfront about your job history, compensation history and experience, as well as where you’d like to go in your next role. It will do you no good if you embellish your qualifications. Also, be prepared to provide professional references to your recruiter. Specifically, your past managers, staff (if applicable) and colleagues. Make sure you know what they will say on your behalf. Additionally, if you are not clear and direct with what you’re looking for in your next role, that can hurt you, too. Tell the recruiter as much detail as you feel comfortable so that they can get you an interview with a position that best suits your needs and wants. The more transparent you are the better chance your recruiter can help you achieve your goals.
4. Research the market
Often times, recruiters know the market inside and out, way more than you do. That can mean knowledge about salary, economic data, percentage of open positions, and more. In order to intelligently speak to the executive recruiter about your desired criteria, it’s best to be up-to-date with today’s market and how it relates to your field. You’ll want to be able to challenge what the recruiter offers and proposes to you. They will be impressed with you if you do so. It’ll help make for more realistic goals, as well.
5. Trust them
If you’ve done your due diligence with the first four tips, then it’s safe to say you can trust the executive recruiter working with you. That trust should extend towards all of the dealings with the hiring company including salary negotiations. If the recruiter knows the market, knows your qualifications, knows what you’re looking for in your next role and knows what’s available, you should feel confident that they’re going to negotiate the best compensation for you that they possibly can. Often times, the higher the salary you get, the more money that they’ll get in return. So, they are doing everything that they can to make everyone happy, including you, them personally, the hiring company and their staffing firm.
6. Keep editorial control
Many recruiters are experts at how resumes should read. You should definitely listen to the feedback they give you in this regards. However, any changes that are needed should be done by you, or at the very least, approved by you. This way, there are no discrepancies when it comes time for an interview. Keep the editorial control and be specific about how you want your information to be released to hiring managers and clients of the staffing firm. Your job search should be kept confidential until you give them permission to send out your resume and “identity.” At first, candidates are usually pitched to hiring companies anonymously i.e. no names divulged. Then, once a hiring manager shows interest, more information is released to them, such as your name.
7. Thank them
When you accept a new position, thanks to the help of a recruiter, you should do just that – thank them. Nothing is more rewarding for a recruiter than fulfilling their own duty of finding you a job. Keep the relationship open past the point of hire by sending them a note of thanks. You don’t know what the future holds and whether you’ll need their assistance again. So, be sure to keep the relationship in good standing. In fact, the recruiter will most likely follow up with you every few weeks or months to see how you’re doing in your new role. Be sure to answer their calls and tell them briefly how you’re doing so that they can keep notes about you in their files.

What are some other tips for working with executive recruiters and staffing firms? Comment below and let us know!

If you need help in your job search, contact Brilliant™ at 312.582.1800 (for greater Chicago) or 954.380.8720 (for south Florida) or email info@brilliantfs.com with the Subject line: A Brilliant Blog.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *