Working with executive recruiters is one of the primary ways top executives find their next opportunity. Here are a few tips from the top retained recruiting firms that place senior executives and those seeking BOD positions.
- Make sure you match up your skills and industry with their specialty for best results – although many major recruiting firms cover most industries.
- Don’t worry about geography. Recruiters are primarily industry specialists and will have clients everywhere.
- Send them a great resume in PDF format. They may ask for a word version, or ask you to upload your resume into their database or fill out a form on their website (someone has to do it) as well. You can take a look at some of our executive resume samples here.
- Call. It takes more time to call, but your call will be worth it. Ask the person answering the phone for someone specifically or the recruiter who is in charge of your industry (e.g., the recruiter that specializes in general operations searches, or construction, or healthcare, etc.). Have what you want to say written out. Note that you should call before sending your resume if you are in a confidential or passive search.
If you have not sent your resume:
“Hi, this is ____ and I am a(n) ____. I am calling to introduce myself. I am in a (highly confidential – tell them 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.”
If you have sent your resume:
“Hi this is ____. I sent my resume in 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 want or need more tips on networking, phone and email scripts, I provide step-by-step templates in my online store.
- Understand what motivates recruiters to pitch you their best client company job openings.
- Be the candidate that matches their industry and position hot spot. You can read about aligning your resume to the role you want next here.
- Have excellent marketing material and learn how to interview so they don’t have to train you.
- Act professionally on the phone and in person.
- If you say something that sounds an alarm, the client company will typically tell the recruiter. The recruiter may or may not divulge this to you, because it’s a slippery slope.
- Rehearse your interviews and understand what the right and wrong things to say are. Speak to the recruiter professionally; don’t confide, even if pressed or if you are buddies with the recruiter. They are not working for you, they are working for the company. You can find some tips on C-level interviewing here.