Responding to executive recruiters

Have a clear career game plan and job-changing mindset before you get the call. This includes always having an up to date CV.

  • Be open, but cautious.
  • Ask questions to help you determine the recruiter's legitimacy, credibility, reputation and modus operandi.
  • Never stretch the truth: about job experience, education, income, etc.
  • Pull out early if you're really not interested: offer to be a resource.
  • Do your homework on the client organization, once identified. (Go beyond to annual report, clippings, trade publication stories, etc.)
  • Don't play hard to get. Keep appointments, return calls, cooperate.
  • Cover yourself at work: despite all precautions and confidentiality, slip-ups sometimes occur. Tell your superiors you're always getting calls from recruiters, but that it doesn't mean you're looking.
  • Don't cultivate an offer just to get leverage where you are: such short-term, self-serving strategy usually backfires.
  • Of 100+ "suspects" uncovered in initial research, perhaps 20 will make the first cut, five will be finalists, one will get the job. Don't take it personally: the search process aims for a perfect fit, and it's probably in your best interests anyway.
  • Don't burn your bridges: with the recruiter or with your present employer.
  • Let the recruiter assist you: on salary and benefits and perks. While compensated by the hiring organization, the search consultant can be your advocate, too, and has a stake in your success.