In the market for a new job? Even if you aren’t looking in the near future, one of the best contacts you can have when looking for a new position is an executive search consultant. These professionals have an extensive network and can help you pivot in your job search to get in front of the right people. While it’s great for you to work with an executive search consultant, how exactly do you go about it?
Build a record of professional success
Executive search consultants want to work with the best candidates who are the most qualified for the positions they are working on. Do you have extensive experience already? If so, good for you! Make sure it is accurately displayed on your LinkedIn and resume profiles to gain recognition.
Chances are though that if you aren’t already being contacted, you may need to build up some professional successes to attract attention. Think about some ways you can increase your profile at work. Can you get involved with a high profile project? Maybe there is a process improvement you have an idea for? Providing value to your current organization is a great way to showcase your potential to do so at another company.
Understand different business models of a recruiter
All recruiters are not responsible for the same activities. It’s important to understand different business models and approaches as this will have an impact on communication with potential candidates. Understanding the recruiter's motivation from an executive candidate’s perspective will help you as a candidate.
The two most common recruitment types are retained executive search and contingency recruitment. Contingent recruiters are most often used for more junior positions and have a high volume workload. They are only paid if they fill the position and are often used for skills readily available on the market. Retained executive search firms are paid for long-term results and are often hired for harder to find roles with senior and specialized skill sets. To read more about the differences between retained executive search and contingency recruitment check out our article The Hidden Benefits of Retained Executive Search on Ginkgo Search.
Do your research
Make yourself an informed job seeker and start looking into different executive search firms in your area. You can start with a quick Google search for firms in your city or region. Then you will want to narrow it down to consultants who focus on your industry. After all an expert in finance won’t be your best contact if you are looking for a role in IT.
Once you find a firm in your area that is an expert in your field, you will want to discover which executive search consultants specialize in the level that you are looking for. The more senior a position, the more this will become important. Make sure that the consultant you are working with has the connections you need for those senior positions.
You also need to make a great first impression on the consultants. When you decide to reach out to them, make sure the communication represents why you are a great candidate. Executive search consultants want to work with high quality talent, so show them why you are someone they need to connect with.
Develop relationships before you need them
Don’t wait to make connections when you start your job search. If you are a hiring manager, start relationships with consultants now. If they do a good job helping you hire for a role now, they will likely be able to help when you are looking. Even if the level you are hiring for isn’t equivalent, they should be able to introduce you to colleagues who are more appropriate for your level.
If you are contacted for a role you aren’t interested in, the Wall Street Journal recommends providing other contacts who may be interested in the role. Offer to stay in touch in case something comes up that meets your interests. Let them know what you are looking for so that they can consider you when that time comes.
Build up mutually beneficial relationships
Most people are more interested in helping you if there is something positive in it for them. While an executive search consultant’s contacts will greatly benefit you, your contacts could benefit them as well. Maybe you could consider writing them a great review on their site or LinkedIn for the services they provided you. Word of mouth is vital to building client reputation, so make sure that you let them know that you will be telling your current and former colleagues what a great job they did. Making it a positive relationship for both of you will help you when the time comes to start looking for a new role. Or better still, have them reach out to you for an amazing opportunity when you aren’t even looking!
Be selective and don't send mass mails to recruiters
Recruiters, like most people, hate receiving impersonalized messages. These blast emails say “I don’t care about you, but help me anyway!” If you want your email to be read, personalize it with information that would be useful.
Perhaps you can give them a contact in a company you have worked for that could lead to a role for them to recruit on. Proving value up front is a great way to begin a beneficial relationship. If you don’t have anything to provide, see if there is something you have in common such as attending the same school, belonging to the same volunteer group, or having a common LinkedIn connection.
Executive search firms aren’t in the business of job search, they are paid to fill jobs that are provided to them. There may not be an opening for you immediately, but if you maintain the relationship, there is a good chance that one will become available in future.