Working with a recruiter remains one of the best methods for C-level executives to get their foot in the door at a new company. Often, recruiters have connections at several industry-leading companies, which makes it critical for an individual to stand out from the crowd and become an obvious choice when a position becomes available. Unfortunately, interacting effectively with recruiters is not always intuitive. C-level individuals may have a great interview or phone call with a recruiter, yet later become distraught when days and then weeks pass without further contact. Learning how to make a great impression with a recruiter is a critical skill for career advancement, especially as C-level workers seek out new opportunities. Read on for some of the most important tips for making the right impression and keeping the largest number of doors open.
Be open and honest about expectations.
One of the most important attributes of C-level executives is transparency. C-level candidates need to make their transparency apparent by being completely honest with recruiters. Sometimes, individuals tend to blur their expectations about salary or geographic location because they are afraid of shutting doors. Instead, candidates should be assertive about where they are willing to live and how much they expect to make so that they do not waste their time or that of the recruiter.
Honesty and transparency also involve laying personal weaknesses on the table and discussing the reasons why a change in position is desired. When recruiters understand a candidate’s motivation, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, they are better able to sell themselves to employers. Recruiters tend to ask very difficult questions because they are the same questions that potential employers will ask. Only by having a complete understanding of issues that could possibly arise can recruiters act as advocates for their clients.
In the end, the truth will always come out, and dishonest candidates will look like liars. They may want to lie about being laid off, but losing a job is understandable in today’s market. Losing a job and then lying about it will not get the same sympathetic response.
Research the best recruiters in the industry.
Working with a recruiter requires due diligence. Before engaging a recruiter, individuals should research various firms and the expertise that their recruiters have. C-level individuals should also look to their professional networks and ask for recommendations. When candidates approach a recruiter with a clear understanding of their role and where they have placed individuals in the past, they make a good impression. Recruiters will recognize candidates who have done their due diligence and take them more seriously than those who seem to have randomly picked a firm to solicit. Some recruiters may be trying to fill a dozen or more positions at a given time, and they appreciate candidates who understand the time constraints of the application process.
Some candidates will require confidentiality because they do not want to jeopardize their current positions. In these situations, candidates should confirm with recruiters that all communication with them is kept confidential. This sort of discussion must be part of the research process.
When meeting with a recruiter, candidates should have a clear idea of the types of positions they would be interested in and the direction in which they want to take their career. They need to communicate their goals clearly, and connect those goals to the past achievements of the recruiter.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Some candidates are tempted to contact recruiters every few days because they become anxious during periods of no communication. This sort of behavior can turn some recruiters off and discourage them from working with that individual. Instead, candidates should ask the recruiter how often they should check in and if contact via e-mail or phone is appropriate. Typically, recruiters check in with candidates only every couple of months.
As appropriate, candidates should also keep recruiters abreast of their own professional developments. For example, if they are no longer interested in a certain position or a certain company, they should communicate that information as quickly as possible. Similarly, if candidates decide that they wish to stay in their current position and want to be removed from consideration for other positions, they should let recruiters know. By ensuring that recruiters are up to date, they can offer the best representation possible.
Good communication also involves listening to recruiters and following their directions. If recruiters ask candidates to check in monthly, candidates should not send weekly e-mails asking for updates, nor should they get upset when the recruiter has not reached out in a period of six weeks. Sometimes, small issues can point to larger underlying problems. For example, if a recruiter asks a candidate to send a resume in PDF format and the candidate instead copies and pastes the resume into the body of an e-mail, this can point to an inability to pay attention to directions or a basic failure to consider details.
Ultimately, recruiters’ reputations are on the line when they make a placement, and they will hesitate to recommend a candidate that does not follow basic directions.