5 Must Dos That Will Make You a Better Executive Recruiter

July 10, 2013

As an executive recruiter, I have come to realize that the number one prerequisite for success is building trust between you and the hiring manager. An executive recruiter must be trusted because their role goes beyond transactional contributions – due to the high-caliber of candidates they are pursuing, an executive recruiter is a partner in decision-making and team strategy.


With these responsibilities in mind, how do you become a better executive recruiter? Here are a few quick tips:

1. Do your homework:

Before you can begin recruiting, you must understand what your team already has and where their true need lies. That comes from getting to know the members of the team, actively participating in team meetings and events, and getting their perspectives on growth. Recruiters learn a lot from listening to everybody and coming to the table with a point of view. This approach will not only provide a more refined search as you learn the DNA of the team, but will also build the trust between you and your hiring managers that is so important.

2. Find the qualities that raise the bar:

Successful completion of projects and a background with management experience are assets that many prospective candidates can bring to the table. What makes a candidate (and their recruiter) truly stand out to hiring managers is the ability to raise the bar. Does the candidate have a vision? Will she live by her values? Does she fit into your company culture? These intangible skills are especially important in the executive search because they will be directly imparted onto entire departments or teams and have a much larger potential to shape how the company functions.

3. Strengthen decision making with data:

As an executive recruiter, you should know your data. This means -- be the expert on addressable market and know how many people actually have the skills needed for the job. You should be very familiar with the talent demand of your industry and know what is motivating candidates to move, what new technologies are breaking, who is on the most cutting edge. Know the data about compensation in the candidate’s location and be familiar with the different market conditions based on geography.

The data you have should provide insight into where is the largest potential for growth and change within the company and what type of person could initiate that process. Ultimately, this information will put you in the position to influence the decision-making process.

4. Treat candidates like they are special:

Every recruiter has to provide candidates with a great experience but when it comes to executive recruiting, these efforts should be scaled 10X. You should bring quality in the relationship with the candidate through very high-touch, frequent contact. You should give personalized feedback to each candidate and remind them of how appreciative you are of their time and effort through small but thoughtful gestures (for example, a goodie bag with snacks for the airport). All this should help you create an irresistible offer for the candidate, based on the company’s culture and the great first impressions from the recruiting process.

5. Continuing the recruiter/candidate connection after hire:

Any good relationship between a recruiter and a candidate extends beyond the signing of the offer. Before the start date, you should personally keep in contact with the executive candidate. Often times is also a great idea to maintain consistent contact throughout the onboarding process and even set up continuous, more casual follow-ups in months after they’ve entered the position. This approach will help you track your and the new hire’s success and develop relationships for networking on future positions at the company.

Actively pursuing each of these practices will develop you into the ultimate consultative influencer, and that is exactly what is expected of executive recruiters.

[Photo by Victor1558]