The Art Of Being Headhunted

Here's what to do when recruiters are calling, and how to stand up and be noticed when they aren't

“Bud” Moseley, a Vice President at Isaacson, Miller, a national recruitment firm based in Boston, which specializes in minority recruitment. “We call people who we know are talented and successful. We expect them to engage us with an array of questions about the position, the company’s history and corporate culture, and about our track record,” he says.

If a position Interests you, say so, then describe your present situation and requirements clearly. You can help the recruiter work more effectively if you have definite ideas about relocation and other industries where your talents can be used. And don’t forget compensation requirements. At this point, schedule a meeting with the recruiter to get more information and ensure discretion.

As a candidate, you will join a pool of usually seven to 10 other applicants. Preliminary screening interviews ensure that you clearly fulfill the client’s needs After being judged on l l objective and subjective criteria, such as listening ability, candidates are then presented to the client for final selection.

When a position does not match your objectives and background, refer a colleague. “We place a lot of people based on referrals, [but] if this is nor going to be an opportunity for [you], it can be an invaluable asset to people dose to you who can do the job,” notes Carrington. By establishing yourself as a good source of leads, you’ll ensure that the recruiter keeps calling.

Keep search firms abreast of all that’s happening in your career. Awards, publications and promotions all count. Kass suggests that executiv
es seek opportunities to develop new skills and revise their resume as they gain new training and levels of responsibility. Also, ask the recruiter for interviewing and job-search advice.

Executives who are not contacted by recruiters are not visible enough in their professional circles. “The key to being sought out is to create a sense of urgency around yourself and your achievement. Get involved in high-profile organizations and get active in groups that give you national exposure,” advises Sampson. Write articles for trade publications or speak at industry meetings. Active networking will also improve your chances of meeting recruiters in a setting that highlights your career.

If you can’t meet recruiters through professional contacts, send a resume that highlights your accomplishments and reflects your interests to the firms you think will provide the best results. Include a letter of introduction summarizing your interests and requirements.

Blanketing search firms with your resume neither effective nor endearing. To identify proven recruiters with a track record of successful placement in your industry, Rodenhauser suggests looking in The Directory of Executive Recruiters 1998 (Kennedy Information, $44.95; 800-531-0007). Another source of recruiter information is The Directory of Personnel Consultants by Specialization (National Association of Personnel Services, $30; 703-684-0180). Also, be sure to look at our annual “Executive Recruiter Directory” (see February 1998) for a list of black-owned firms specializing in your industry, field and salary range.

Do’s and Don’ts of Working with Executive Recruitment Firms

  • Offer yourself as a reference to talented former
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