Role Of Recruiter In Job Search


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How to work with executive recruiters - published by Korn/Ferry

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Role Of Recruiter In Job Search

  1. 1. Part 2: THE RolE of THE ExEcuTivE REcRuiTER in YouR Job SEaRcH W hen executives who otherwise have excelled throughout their careers unexpectedly find themselves out of a job, they often face an intense period of transition during which they might struggle to reclaim the financial security and personal identity they have built around their profession. Naturally, it is quite common that people are most apt to turn to executive recruiters for support under such circumstances. However, having a realistic per- spective about how search consultants work is essential if you hope to establish relationships that will ultimately lead to a new position. This article provides guidelines for engaging recruiters effectively and puts their role in the appropriate context.
  2. 2. behind the Scenes: balancing the needs At least 70 percent of the client versus the candidate of the work done by First, it is important to recognize that recruiters at the leading premier executive retained search firms work for their clients – the hiring search firms like Korn/ organizations – and not the candidates per se. This is true Ferry is at the C-suite, even in robust economic times, when statistics indicate that Managing Director, these firms receive as many as 5,000 resumes a month1. or Board level. Mid- (Some of the Korn/Ferry consultants interviewed for this level professionals will article estimate that they personally receive between 20-40 be referred to other unsolicited contacts from job seekers worldwide each day!) resources and are encouraged to leverage Such firms do not do outplacement. Occasionally, a Internet sites to tap into consultant will know a company so well and have such opportunities. Korn/ an intimate understanding of their needs that they will Ferry operates a wholly recommend an executive to a client even if there is no owned subsidiary, immediate opening, but working on a speculative basis Futurestep, which such as this is quite rare. Krzysztof Nowakowski, a senior focuses on mid- client partner in Korn/Ferry’s Warsaw office, echoes this level and outsourced view, saying he seldom, if ever, has introduced someone to a recruiting. potential employer without a high degree of certainty that they are well suited to a particular role. “Experience tells us that we do not know people well unless they have a consistent market reputation and are totally transparent. Rather than take a chance on a new candidate, I try to facilitate networking – for example, putting private equity players in touch with “In today’s bankers – in a way that is interesting for everyone.” environment, it really helps if In the current environment, the need to recruit top-tier the executive leadership talent is more critical than ever, with the competition knows what they for executives who have successfully managed in a downturn want to do with particularly acute. Ironically, as a result, the vast majority of the their life and can explain how they executives on recruiters’ radar screens today are those who Ronald Zera Korn/Ferry Dallas are screening are gainfully employed. Unlike in the past, these executives opportunities by also might be less willing to move due to uncertainty about drivers such as title, geography the potential risk of being the “last in and first out” at a new and compensation.” 2 1 Lowstuter, Clyde C. In Search of the Perfect Job. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007.
  3. 3. organization, where the short-term rewards might not be enough of a draw. As Ronald Zera, a senior client partner in bE WaRY of ouTSiDE Korn/Ferry’s Dallas office explains, “The whole economy is in RESuME SERvicES a sort of paralysis. People are unsure where organizations are liSTS going.” One caveat to the e-mail Against this backdrop, if you are seeking to connect with a approach is the use of search consultant for the first time, you will stand the best outside services lists. It chance if your background and skills directly match an is usually evident when opportunity that he or she is actively working on. As Helen a CV comes through Tantau, a senior client partner in Korn/Ferry’s Bangkok office, to a recruiter from observes, “The requirements can be very specific from job to one of these services job. Sometimes, it really becomes a matter of compatibility due to the “canned” and if you do not fit a role we are working on at the time, nature of the message unfortunately we cannot make you fit.” A sophisticated and occasionally even approach to getting the attention of and forging the way the misspelling of the towards a mutually beneficial and ongoing relationship with a recruiter’s name. A recruiter is therefore required. resume presented in this manner will likely Getting noticed: The Do’s and Don’ts of initiating be deleted or ignored. contact with a Recruiter Rather, we recommend Although the majority of executive recruiters are very communicating through empathetic and keen to help professionals succeed, it is the search firm’s online impossible for them to personally interact with everyone given resume builder, such as the vast number of people vying for their attention; there simply are not enough hours in a day. That said, there are ways to increase the chances of getting noticed. Perhaps the most effective is to be introduced directly to a recruiter by someone they trust and respect, such as a client or well-known industry contact. Never underestimate the power of your professional network and leverage it to be put in touch with a recruiter specializing in your sector, function, or geography. Even then, it is more likely that you initially will get a meeting via phone rather than in person, unless you are very seasoned. 3
  4. 4. In terms of cold-calling a recruiter, e-mail is still preferable to a “Some of the best phone call as a first introduction in spite of the heavy volumes people are resistant mentioned earlier, since it gives a quick impression of you and to change today allows the recruiter to circulate your credentials amongst their because no one colleagues and enter them into their global databases. The knows what will happen tomorrow.” recruiter immediately will look for what is unusual or uniquely Krzysztof differentiating in your resume, including qualitative information Nowakowski such as the size of the jobs you have held, organizations for Korn/Ferry Warsaw which you have worked, number of people you have managed, and results/profits for which you have been accountable. If at this point your background aligns with an open position, you will likely be contacted either by the consultant themselves or by an associate on their team for a phone discussion. As Korn/Ferry’s Tantau notes, “If you make a good impression, people will find you.” Korn/Ferry’s Nowakowski agrees that the quality of recruiting firms’ knowledge management capabilities has become very reliable and sophisticated, enabling recruiters to pinpoint the most appropriate talent with incredible accuracy. “What I tell people is ‘Don’t worry about getting lost. We will certainly find you.’” Importantly, do not interpret not hearing directly from the person you contacted as not having access to them – the research and other support staff are very professional and influential and their impressions of you likewise will be taken into account. 4
  5. 5. aPPRoacHinG REcRuiTERS if You aRE acTivElY looKinG foR a Job n Send an e-mail with an updated version of your resume accompanied by a quick snapshot of your career drivers: title, geography, compensation and the types of opportunities you are interested in. Avoid “spamming” recruiters with multiple unsolicited e-mails each week or calling them several times in a day, as these efforts may backfire. n Be transparent without being overly self-promotional during any phone or in-person meeting with a representative from a search firm. Do not make claims out of anxiety that will not stand up to rigorous background and reference checking – the recruiter’s duty of care to their clients necessitates a reasonably thorough investigation of potential employees, and they quickly will discover anything that is fabricated or exaggerated. n Have a clear vision of what you want and a keen awareness of what you have to offer. Be careful not to view executive recruiters as career counselors – with upwards of 1,500 assignments open at any given time firm wide, the recruiter can give you a snapshot of what is happening in the market at large but cannot necessarily help you focus your job search if you yourself lack clarity. n Strategically target a single recruiter within a firm. This individual will facilitate connections to others within the firm who might be pertinent to you. It is not necessary to contact multiple individuals within the same firm. n Assess opportunities proffered by recruiters realistically. Do not feign interest in a job that you are not intending to follow through on simply to get face-time with a recruiter – it will waste their time and not position you as a serious candidate. 5
  6. 6. Giving to Get – Stand out by Sharing contacts and Market Knowledge “At the end of the day, we Your willingness to refer other executives to recruiters can be are all sharing a powerful way of setting yourself apart. Doing so proves that information.” you know what is happening behind the scenes in your industry and demonstrates your ability to share insights and ideas Helen Tantau discretely and appropriately. By being a reliable resource, you Korn/Ferry Bangkok will stay in a recruiter’s mind longer and will have a respectful reason to reconnect periodically when you have information that could be meaningful to their work. It is also perfectly acceptable to send along any updated versions of your resume as it evolves (without sending the same version multiple times), or to advise them if you have changed direction or landed a new position. Finally, if you have had phone or in-person contact with a recruiter, ask them if you can follow up in a few months to keep your options open and communications flowing. While this reciprocity will help you over the long run, attempting to build a personal relationship with a recruiter should not be your goal. In fact, it is something that the recruiter will take great strides to avoid in order to maintain an ethical code of conduct. Here is a short list of what you can reasonably expect from an executive recruiter: 1. Preparing you before an interview. The recruiter will nor- mally provide quite specific guidance before an interview to enable you to be on the same page with the hiring manager as soon as possible in the first few minutes of your meeting. 2. Balancing out the negotiations. The role of the search con- sultant during the negotiations process will be very hands on to make sure that both sides are fairly represented, acting as an impartial sounding board for the candidate to level set on what they can reasonably ask for and to bridge the gap with the hiring organization, helping each to make tough decisions and broker the deal through to completion. 6
  7. 7. 3. Tracking your progress during the first 90 days. After being placed in a new role, you will likely have an ongoing relationship with the search consultant, who will check in to see how things are going and provide support if required to help ensure your success. Accessing and utilizing retained search firms as you navigate the next phase of your career can be instrumental to your advancement. For more information on how to work with executive recruiters, the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) provides numerous resources on its web site at 7
  8. 8. about The Korn/ferry institute The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a premier global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues. The Institute commissions, originates and publishes groundbreaking research utilizing Korn/Ferry’s unparalleled expertise in executive recruitment and talent development combined with its preeminent behavioral research library. The Institute is dedicated to improving the state of global human capital for businesses of all sizes around the world. about Korn/ferry international Korn/Ferry International, with more than 90 offices in 40 countries, is a premier global provider of talent management solutions. Based in Los Angeles, the firm delivers an array of solutions that help clients to identify, deploy, develop, retain and reward their talent. For more information on the Korn/Ferry International family of companies, visit 8 © Copyright 2009 The Korn/Ferry Institute