The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

February 29, 2012

How to Enhance Your Relationships with Executive Recruiters

An article by Bill Barnett in the Harvard Business Review discusses several valuable strategies for senior-level professionals in dealing with recruiters. Barnett’s overarching point is that, while professionals should avoid the fatal mistake of constantly looking for new employment, they can benefit tremendously from establishing steady relationships with executive search consultants – if they know how to do so effectively. Within Barnett’s main idea is four supplementary pieces of advice to high-level professionals:

1. Network with recruiters before the need for a new job arises.
This way, the search consultant will have adequate time to understand the candidate’s personality and preferences.

2. Don’t work with consultants who are concerned only with filling jobs immediately.
The best recruiters are those who are able to talk in-depth to professionals about their careers. If this criterion is fulfilled, then ask questions about the recruiter’s role within the search firm and his or her past success with finding candidates new jobs.

3. Avoid relying entirely on the recruiter.
Fulfill your share of responsibility in the search by being honest and creating a strong value proposition. Also, steer clear of “working around” the recruiter in the form of unguided correspondence with a prospective employer.

4. Provide constructive feedback to recruiters when not interested in a position.
This helps the recruiter to better understand the professional’s specific objectives and to gain insight into industry perceptions.

While Barnett’s article is geared toward senior-level professionals, his suggestions also apply to candidates at any level and in any industry, including Accounting, Finance, IT and Administrative Support. Employers in these fields seek candidates with job stability. The technical skills and industry knowledge often required for positions in these fields prohibit large gaps of unemployment. This is why professionals should connect with recruiters before the need for a new job arises, as Barnett suggests. Barnett’s warning about partnering with recruiters who are uninformed about the nature of your work or who have a poor placement history is also valid for Accounting, Finance, IT and Administrative Support professionals, since the work involved in these fields warrants consultation from knowledgeable recruiters who regularly fulfill client and candidate expectations. Barnett’s proposal to avoid relying solely on the recruiter is also applicable to these fields; you need to let the recruiter know your strengths, preferences and career history in order to attain a new position that is a good fit. The last recommendation – providing constructive feedback – is also relevant for Accounting, Finance, IT and Administrative Support professionals because it prevents the recruiter from presenting unfavorable positions and also diminishes the likelihood that the recruiter will disappoint his or her client with candidates who are not genuinely interested in the positions.

Given Barnett’s suggestions for senior-level executives, and their direct transferability to the realm of Accounting, Finance, IT and Administrative Support, one can develop a stronger understanding of how to achieve the best possible results when working with recruiters. While finding new employment can be challenging, following these four guidelines when networking with a recruiter can prove tremendously rewarding in terms of career development. For additional information about new job opportunities, visit Abacus Group’s job listings or contact a representative.

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