How to Build a Successful Relationship with an Executive Recruiter
Experienced professionals recognize that Executive Search Consultants can be among their most valuable business connections.
Executive Recruiters are retained by employers to fill their most senior positions, and so an established relationship with an Executive Search Consultant can give you early sight of an opportunity you might want to pursue. Senior Executive openings are often exclusive and are rarely advertised. If you seek an upward career move, whether now or in the future, a relationship with an Executive Recruiter can increase your prospects for securing an exciting new opportunity.
How do you make a connection with an Executive Search Consultant?
It’s vital to have an online presence aligned to the market for which you want to be known. Don’t underestimate the impact of your digital footprint. It will be difficult for even the most connected Search Consultants to find you if you’re not visible and marketing your personal brand online.
Noting any whitepapers, thought leadership, key note speeches and listing any boards you sit on will all draw attention to your profile. There is a fine line to draw between being discreet about being open to new opportunities and showing what you can do – however your online profile should be robust enough that Executive Search Consultants are able to asses you and target you appropriately.
Being open about your expertise doesn’t mean you’re actively looking. On the contrary, it may narrow down and refine the Search Consultants that contact you, rather than being subject to generic and opportunistic approaches. Building your personal brand will ensure you are on the radar of head-hunters that specialise in your area, so you can start to build a successful relationship with someone who knows your market.
Don’t underestimate the impact of your digital footprint. It will be difficult for even the most connected Search Consultants to find you if you’re not visible and marketing your personal brand online.
If you are actively looking or seeking career counsel, ask people within your own network and previous colleagues about Executive Search firms or Search Consultants that they have worked with before. The best way to find anything is through a referral. Where possible make sure you meet a Search Consultant in person. You are far more likely to have a successful relationship with someone you have actually met, and it lays a stronger foundation for future conversations. It’s unlikely you would trust a Wealth Manager with your fortune from one phone call, so don’t use a Search Consultant you have never met!
How do you judge the quality of an Executive Search Consultant?
The best Executive Search Consultants will make time for cultivating their network and provide a source of counsel throughout your career, not just at the point you want to make a move. At the Executive level, there’s likely to be only so many people that will qualify for any particular role, so a good Search Consultant will actively keep their network up to date and share market intelligence regularly.
The best Executive Search Consultants will have relationships with business leaders, not just the HR function. The business leadership will be their primary point of contact and they should be able to talk to you about the kind of roles they can access at the Executive level.
Remember that the consultant you choose must be able to represent your values and your experience, as they will be your voice in the market.
What does an effective relationship look like?
To create a balanced relationship, consider what you can provide them with that would be of benefit. Do you have recommendations from within your network? The best relationships are mutually beneficial. Offering industry information and insights allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and network.
Take the time to sharpen up your CV
Less is more when it comes to an Executive level CV, there is an assumption that you have met certain criteria to reach this level. Your CV should be more of a spring board for discussion – not an exhaustive list of your accomplishments.
The Executive Search Consultant you work with needs to be able to understand what you have done and what you want to do. They will need facts and referenceable information on achievements, as well as clarity over future requirements. The most efficient relationships are based on this established understanding, and a good consultant will be open and challenging about what you can do.
The most efficient relationships are based on this established understanding, and a good consultant will be open and challenging about what you can do.
Keep the CV high level, leaving room for you to explain your experience. If your CV is too detailed it can lose agility and applicability to roles with varying degrees of requirements and responsibilities. The only exception here is if you are a technical person, in which case it is important to be specific!
psd is led by highly experienced Executive recruiters who are subject-matter experts in their specialist fields. We can provide up-to-the-minute market intelligence and useful insight into company culture, as well as guidance on your strengths as a candidate, salary expectations and interviewing skills.
Stay in touch
Executive Search Consultants often work to tight deadlines, so if we are not in touch about roles it’s because we are not working on anything that matches your interests, experience or skills. It’s a good idea to keep in touch and inform us of any changes in your experience or situation, to make sure we are considering you for the right roles.
Changing jobs is one of the most important things you will do. Executive Search Consultants are communications specialists, they are your PR in the market place. Establishing a strong relationship with the right Search Consultant who understands your market and your values will ensure you can trust that person with the responsibility to represent you well.
Associate Director – Professional Services
Alexandra is Associate Director of psd’s Professional Services practice, specialising in technology-led leadership roles for global management consultancies.