Working with an Executive Recruiter: What you should expect – What is expected of you

Over the years, I?ve learned that many professional candidates, regardless of education, experience, or salary range don?t often understand what to expect from their relationship with an executive recruiter or what is expected of you as the candidate, by your recruiter. In an effort to help you have the most rewarding, trouble-free relationship while you conduct job interviews through the representation of an executive search firm, the following guidelines may prove to be invaluable to you. These guidelines have been written by a certified personnel consultant with nearly two decades of executive recruiting experience including hands – on recruiting and management of a staff of recruiters. Feel free to keep this handy guide on file for future use. Ten steps to a happy working relationship with your recruiter

  1. Honest, two-way communication
  2. Your resume is your property
  3. How Many Recruiters?
  4. Evaluating the offer
  5. Counteroffer
  6. Resignation
  7. Upcoming Vacations and other contingencies
  8. What if the new job doesn?t work out?
  9. Little things that aren?t little
  10. Referral Reward
  1. Honest, open two-way communication. The number one most frequent cause of problems with the interviewing process being conducted through the services of a professional recruiter almost always stems from miscommunication. Usually, a candidate withholding information about other jobs, or companies you may be interviewing with or other recruiters you may be using at the same time will be the source of great frustration later.

    Dealing with a recruiter is like dealing with an attorney you choose to represent you. You either trust that attorney one hundred percent and divulge everything so that he/she may help you best, or if you have any doubts, find another attorney. We will do our best to disclose to you our plans and intentions of which companies we will approach on your behalf. In the meanwhile, if you know you are pursuing another job at the same time TELL US SO THAT WE WILL NOT DUPLICATE OTHER EFFORTS. Not only that, but revealing such information to our client may help expedite or even increase your offer! Nothing can be more frustrating than having a recruiter working for three weeks on a particular company/project thinking you will be pleasantly surprised with our efforts once we get permission to set you up for an interview, and then be told you already met with or had your resume there. It is equally important for you to disclose to your recruiter any and all other efforts you are focusing on or pursuing so as to ensure we approach fresh company prospects for you.

  2. Your resume is your property. Any good recruiter will do their utmost to treat it with the most discretion and confidentiality possible. However when you turn it over to a personnel firm you are allowing us permission to manage your search in a way we as experts in your field see fit.

    Recruiters must be allowed some flexibility when it comes to our usage of your resume. In most cases, your recruiter will tell you beforehand of any company he/she is planning to send your resume. However, company hiring managers can change their mind overnight and over a weekend. In some cases, a good search firm will be able to influence the creation of a job, or even accelerate the beginning of a search which, without our prodding, would have begun months later.

    It is this ability to accelerate the process through assertive, careful, expert marketing techniques that makes it important to have leeway. The job market and search process is a dynamic, rapidly changing one. In certain rare cases, it may not be possible to notify you in advance as to where your resume is going.

    Depending on how quickly you can be reached or how easily you make your self available, we sometimes may have to send your resume first, then notify you. In those cases, where we feel we must act quickly on our candidate?s behalf in order to secure you an interview in the midst of competition, and where you may not be reached in time, we will make certain your resume has not already been submitted by any other recruiter to avoid duplication of recruiting efforts prior to submitting it on your behalf. If the latter becomes necessary, we will always contact you within 48 hours to notify you we have submitted your resume to company on your behalf.

  3. How Many Recruiters? This is the second most common cause for conflicts and interviewing problems: too many recruiters.

    Think about this for a moment: Your recruiter and you have been working for a few weeks. You have developed a trusting relationship and have obtained a few interviews as a result of the recruiter?s efforts. How would you feel, after two, three interviews over a four week span of time, if you received no offers? How would you react if when you asked the recruiter why, the recruiter replied to you ?I sent five other candidates out on those same interviews Jim. You were just one of five. Sorry but one of the other candidates got hired in both of the last interviews!?

    You would be upset, if not angry. You?d want to know why you weren?t told several others were being represented by the same recruiter wouldn?t you? All the time wasted, risk of job loss, taking time off, etc.–just to have a one in five chance of ever being hired. YET, candidates do just this to recruiters regularly when after weeks of hard, laborious, sensitive work we are told ?Sorry, you were just one of five recruiters. I had three other interviews from four other recruiters and this was just one offer of three during the last two weeks. Now put yourself in the recruiter?s shoes? How would you feel having kept the offices open, paid rent, a recruiting assistant forty some odd thousand dollars a year plus a recruiter representing you for maybe one, two or often three months to be told the same? Not only would you not be pleased, but the financial loss would run into the tens of thousands of dollars of wasted search time. We work hard and diligently for the candidates we represent. We do our best to make certain our candidates have an advantage over all others.

    What to expect of us – Most good recruiters will represent one, and only one candidate per job at a time. This avoids the creation of internal competition. This helps you and us. More candidates submitted at the same time means longer a company will take to see them and to make a hiring decision, which means the longer the decision will be for ALL involved and for us to collect any remaining portion of our fee which is usually predicated on successfully completing the hire. Only after giving you 100% attention and service, and doing our best to see the process develop through to the offer stage, will we then introduce another candidate. We ask for the same professional courtesy by candidates we represent. Give us a few weeks. See how things are developing. The typical search process can take four weeks to three months. If after giving us a few weeks of your time you are then not finding things moving as quickly as you like, LET YOUR RECRUITER KNOW you will be registering of applying with other recruiters. As a general rule, if your are employed, you should not use more than one recruiter at one time. Once unemployed, you may cautiously step up your efforts.

    What we expect of you – As a rule, you should be working with no more than one recruiter at one time. Any more than that is a recipe for trouble especially in niche industries such as electronic engineering sales, etc. In many of these niche disciplines, it is a common scenario to have no more than one or two dozen opportunities open within a wide geographic area. A search process that one competent recruiter could handle in just one afternoon of calls (at least begin the process in one afternoon, the follow-up and scheduling would then take weeks).

    There would be no reason to use five search firms if the industry barely presents more than two opportunities. SPEAK WITH YOUR RECRUITER FIRST! If you feel you want to use more than one, ask for an honest evaluation. A good recruiter will tell you if you should use others. At times, when we feel we can do little to help, we may even encourage it … but you both need to know where you stand BEFORE work is begun.

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    Always send ?Thank You? cards to the company managers you meet with. If you are rusty or need help (this is suggested even for seasoned executives) send a copy of the thank you letter past your recruiter. He/she will be glad to proof it for any key words or issues they know will get the manager?s attention. We always encourage you fax or email a thank you letter by us so we can give it a ?once over? before your mailing it to the company.

I will explain items:

  1. “How to Evaluate Offers,”
  2. “Dealing with Counteroffers,” and
  3. “Dealing with the Resignation”

in Part Two of this three part series. Make sure you save this part to add to the next two parts to complete your entire three part candidate/recruiter guide.

Frank Risalvato, CPC
President of iresinc.com & Searchwizardry.com Within two years after leaving the corporate world in 1987, Frank Risalvato was earning $21,000 average fees as a search consultant. Each individual fee equated to almost 50% of his previous annual salary in 1987. In 1991 he founded www.iresinc.com, the search firm he continues to operate today. Today his fees are more than double that of his earlier years while working fewer hours weekly. Frank's audio download page on www.searchwizardry.com provides an opportunity to "be a fly on the wall" and listen in to live calls, messages, conversations with clients and candidates. His recent book, A Manager's Guide to Maximizing Search Firm Success has helped recruiters using it lock up partial and full retainers between $5,000 to $45,000 by helping drive home the concept of exclusive/retained over the usual contingency approach.