Great Expectations

Q: I want to submit my résumé to an executive search firm. How should I contact them and what can I expect to happen afterward?

A: A résumé and cover letter is the first contact you should have with the search firm. “Refrain from calling and giving your career history over the phone,” says William H. Burgess III, president and CEO of the Burgess Group-Corporate Recruiters International Inc. in New York City and Connecticut.

Remember that you are not the client-the companies seeking to fill positions are. If you don’t have the qualifications being sought, your first contact will be your last and you won’t hear from the search firm again. If, on the other hand, you are selected as a candidate, the firm will forward your materials to the client companies. Wait at least five business days before calling to inquire about your application status.

If you are matched with a client company, the search firm will contact you for a preliminary phone interview. If all goes well, you can expect to have several in-person interviews with the hiring company itself. If you are not chosen, the search firm may, but likely will not, notify you.

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