Hobson Associates

Danny Cahill Quoted in “The Wall Street Journal”

Working Well With Executive Recruiters

The higher you rise along the corporate ladder, the more attractive youre likely to become to executive recruiters. But even if they contact you first, your odds of getting a job as a result can flounder if you dont understand how the search business works. For example, some up-and-coming corporate leaders withhold critical information, such as their current salary, due to privacy concerns. Yet recruiters work on a confidential basis, asserts Wes Richards, a senior client partner and managing director at Korn/Ferry International Inc. Were like your doctor, your priest or your lawyer, he says. To avoid being labeled a greenhorn, see these tips for forging and managing strong relationships with recruiters.

Your First 90 Days

Be sure. Offer yourself as a candidate to recruiters only if youre serious about wanting to change jobs, warns Daniel Cahill, president of Hobson Associates Inc., a boutique search firm in Cheshire, Conn. Dont call a headhunter because you had a bad day, youre bored or mad, he says. Carefully assess your situation first, because if you turn down a recruiters interview offer, chances are he or she wont work with you again, he says.

Be specific. Let recruiters know if youll only work in a certain area, geographically or industry-wise, and keep in mind that the thinner your search parameters, the fewer your options, says Mr. Cahill. Also, avoid saying youll move anywhere for a job if you dont really mean it. Anytime you renege on an opportunity or change your mind, you create a problem, he warns.

Provide references. Include three names—and their contact information—when you send recruiters your resume, says Mr. Cahill. These can be former bosses, colleagues or people you managed. The effort will help bolster a recruiters desire to represent you to his or her clients, he says.

Ask smart questions. If a recruiter approaches you about a career opportunity, show youre job-search savvy by inquiring about the size of the employer, its culture, the competencies needed for the position and whether youre the first candidate to be considered, advises Mr. Richards. Also request a copy of the jobs specifications. The recruiter will say this is somebody who understands the bigger picture and is digging in deep to understand what the job is all about, he explains.

Explain rejections. For jobs that arent a good match, let recruiters know why, says Mr. Richards. This will allow them to clear up any false impressions you might have or gain a better understanding of what you prefer. It also may prompt the search professional to add you to his or her tickler file for consideration down the road. Mr. Richards says about three-quarters of the candidates he places are people hed previously tried to place. Meanwhile, if possible, recommend someone else for the jobs you turn down. Headhunters are quid pro quo people,says Mr. Cahill. They keep score.

Stay involved. Check in with recruiters about once every two weeks to stay on their radar, unless you have something to report, such as feedback on an interview you completed or any progress you made your own. A headhunter doesnt want to be embarrassed calling a company you already have an interview with, says Mr. Cahill. Act as your recruiters assistant by researching companies and offering a list of ones you consider a strong fit. Those are the people I work hardest for, he says.

Suggest moving on. If a recruiter hasnt secured you any substantial interview invites after 90 days, ask for a reference to another search professional in your niche, advises Mr. Cahill. The request might motivate the recruiter to try harder.Headhunters are competitive, he says. 

Click here to read the original article.