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Executive Recruiters – Friend Or Foe?

March 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Executive Search

Executive Recruiters – during your job search, are they your friend, or are they your foe?

The answer to that question is usually based more on how you choose to interact with an executive recruiter than how an executive recruiter chooses to interact with you.

In dealing with an executive recruiter, there are several “rules of the road” that you need to know.

First, executive recruiters do not work for you they work for the clients who pay them. Therefore, no matter how excited a recruiter seems to be about working with you, in the final analysis the client “rules”.

Second, most recruiters have a specialty. Find out which recruiters specialize in your field of expertise and work with those. Do not expect a recruiter who specializes in engineering to be effective in placing you if you are an accounting or finance professional.

Third, recruiters are almost always paid on 100% commission. As a result, recruiters have to work “closest to the dollars” or they make no money. Therefore, a recruiter in most cases will not be in touch with you until and unless they have a position to talk about. That does not mean the recruiter has lost track of you, or is ignoring you or does not think you are a quality candidate. What it does mean is that the recruiter is doing what he or she needs to do to compete in the marketplace. And, when a recruiter does contact you, be responsive and timely. Absent a response from you, the recruiter has no alternative but to presume you are not interested.

Fourth, build relationships with several executive recruiters in advance of when you really need them. Executive recruiters live and die by relationships and referrals. If you start to build relationships with recruiters in advance of when you need them, it will give you the opportunity to learn about their work ethic, their style, their expertise, their client base, etc. It also puts the recruiter in the position of knowing you better, which means they can present you to a client in a more knowledgeable manner when the time comes.

Fifth, never pay a fee to a recruiter or a firm that promises to get you a job for a fee. That is different than paying for career counseling or for professional resume writing services that provide a legitimate service for a fee. But nobody can promise you a job and nobody can promise you interviews.

Now, back to the question – are Executive Recruiters Friend or Foe?

An established, knowledgeable, ethical and professional executive recruiter can be a tremendous ally during a job search. But, you should not use just a single recruiter, you should use a small network of executive recruiters with whom you have developed long-term relationships.

That strategy requires that you develop a network of high performance executive recruiters as a key part of your career planning over the long term.
On the other hand, an inexperienced, unethical or unprofessional recruiter, or a recruiter with whom you have no relationship, can be your worst enemy in your job search. They can misrepresent you, or waste your time by sending you on interviews for positions for which you are not a match, or in numerous other ways hurt your job search activity.

So, as written above, the answer to the question is based more on how you choose to interact with an executive recruiter than how an executive recruiter chooses to interact with you. Which means that, if you have not already developed a network of trusted executive recruiters, start now to do so.

About Author:

JOHN J. PETER CPA (inactive)
Owner, J. Peter and Associates and http://www.financeresumewriters.net

PROFILE: An experienced Executive Recruiter and seasoned CFO, COO, CAO, Controller and Chief Audit Executive for various multinational, national and regional companies, who has transitioned into the highly competitive staffing industry for senior level accounting and finance professionals.

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