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Working With Recruiters: 6 Tips for Job Seekers and Hiring Managers

I’ve been in the executive search industry for more than 12 years and frequently receive calls from employees in transition or looking to make a career change, as well as from employers looking for assistance with a hiring need. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, approaching a headhunter with relevant information and preplanning will make the initial connection much more impactful.

The benefit recruiters provide to both employers and employees is that we can be a resource during your search or recruiting efforts. Since this is what we do for a living and we are usually very well connected within specific practice areas or industries, we can help with everything from introductions, background information on companies, and contacts within a specific company, to compensation packages/ranges, current industry trends, career coaching, recruiting strategies for positions difficult to fill, leadership succession planning, organizational structure, and more.


Tips for Hiring Companies

If you’re an employer looking for assistance with a hiring need, keep the following specifics in-mind to maximize the benefits of the relationship.

  1. If you’re an HR representative, understand that we are not your competition. We serve as your ambassador in the workplace and we need to work together.
  2. We are subject matter experts and want to be used as valuable resources throughout the entire hiring process.
  3. Evaluate “why” you want to engage a search firm and expect a return on investment in the relationship.
  4. Ask your recruiter their retention percentage. The good ones will know the answer to this. Studies have revealed that the cost of a mis-hire is estimated to be somewhere in the range of 2 – 4 times the annual salary – not including the salary. The single most significant component of this total is the opportunity costs associated with the toxic environment created by injecting someone who doesn’t fit.
  5. You’re buying a relationship with network connections and a process. Ask for testimonials and plan on calling the recruiter yourself.
  6. Your objective should be to start the foundation of a long-term relationship, and not merely transactional in finding resumes of candidates to submit.

Tips for Job Seekers

If you’re in transition or looking for a career move, keep the following in mind to make a relationship with a headhunter not only more meaningful, but also more rewarding in the long-run:

  1. Engage a relationship with a recruiter before you need one. A good recruiter will have your “career back” and should intimately understand your preferences for your next career move, as well as for the long term.
  2. It’s all about timing. When you’re ready to move, it doesn’t necessarily mean an opportunity exists that will provide the appropriate career progression. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that doing a great job in your present position, more often than not, will result in exciting opportunities finding you.
  3. You have to be fully transparent and honest. The basis for any successful relationship is found in trust and full disclosure.
  4. Know exactly what you want. Role, company size/ownership, industry, culture, management style, etc. Create a list of target companies to help define your needs. If you don’t know exactly what you want, let us know from the beginning. Being a subject matter expert includes being a good career coach, and we can help by discussing current, relevant options.
  5. If you’re returning a call from a recruiter, ask if the search is retained or contingent, and know what each means for you. The type of search it is can be a strong indicator as to the seriousness of the engagement. This pertains more to senior-level roles.
  6. Understand that a recruiter’s job is not to find you a job. Be prepared to use a recruiter as a resource during your search efforts, but understand that we are hired by client companies, rather than by individuals searching for career opportunities.

A recent study found that 70% of employees are not actively engaged at work, and just as alarming, more than 80% plan to pursue new job opportunities in the upcoming year. Traditionally, we baby-boomers have represented a majority of the workforce and the old-school approach has been to be happy just to have a job and to endure.

The Millennial generation will soon become a majority of the workforce by 2020. It’s projected that they will represent almost 80%, completely trading places with the baby-boomer generation. One of the biggest behavioral differences between these two generations is that, when confronted with a less-than-rewarding environment, Millennials act, which is a characteristic I respect and we can all learn from.

The bottom-line is that the job market is positioned to see a continued increase in activity and the demand for top-performing employees will become more and more intense. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, developing a long-term relationship with an executive search professional will facilitate career progression, as well as assist in securing the talent a company needs on-board to help them achieve their goals.

Learn more about partnering with Versique’s executive recruiters.

Original content was first seen in the Minnesota Society of CPA’s Recruiter & Career Coach Directory: 

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