How to impress executive recruiters
Us Executive Recruiters can be a tough bunch to impress. We are fortunate to meet some of the smartest, most talented and highest paid individuals. Yet, I often hear about the struggle in trying to strike up a meaningful relationship with an Executive Recruiter.
Aside from stating the obvious, like having a great resume, there are some simple things you can do to improve your chances of getting noticed in an abundant candidate market.
Convey value- Fancy degrees and MBAs are great BUT you need to back it up by being able to succinctly promote yourself and make a notable first impression. I may sound like a broken record, but I am really passionate about personal branding. I regularly meet with executives who are great at promoting the company they represent, its’ products/ services, but suck at promoting themselves! A common fear is they will appear egotistical or arrogant. Many find that once they discover my formula, they can create a unique and authentic pitch, which will humbly highlight their value-add without sounding salesy.
Uncover your niche- Most executive recruiters specialise in certain fields or industry sectors. Likewise, so should you! Find your niche and highlight it on Linkedin and your CV. Ensure the content is relevant to your forte. To ensure you’re not pigeonholed in one sector, ensure you highlight your transferable skills in your profile.
First impressions – Around 80% of companies and recruiters are now using Linkedin as a sourcing strategy. Your headline is the first thing people see. It must be professional, relevant and emphasize your key skills and expertise.
Be a thought leader- Be known as an expert in your field. Building a solid reputation takes work. However, you don’t need to spend countless hours writing a blog. Keep it simple with a mix of Linkedin status updates, snappy posts and engage in meaningful discussions within specialist groups. These posts, over time, will impress executive recruiters. Goes without saying, cheesy motivational posts are a turn off.
Reach Out- Most executive advertisements attract at least 150 applicants. Establishing a relationship with executive recruiters in your industry can put you ahead of the race, even before the race starts. The best way to reach them is by phone, or ideally face to face. You cannot underestimate the power of personalised communication.
Whilst recruiters can be hard to catch, be persistent and do not leave a voicemail; keep trying until you catch them. When you are in front of someone, you’re harder to ignore! It will also get their attention, as most others when applying for a job, hit ‘send’ and hope for the best. Even if there’s no immediate suitable vacancy, you can still make your mark and be remembered.
Stay front of mind- Recruiters meet with lots of people everyday. Whilst they may seem really engaged during your meeting, they can quickly forget you due to the sheer volume of people they see. To do this, keep in touch BUT don’t stalk them! Determine their preferred method of contact – be it phone, text, email, or linkedin inmail. This way, you’re conditioning their expectations to stay in touch.
Establish exclusivity- Rather then registering with a whole bunch of search firms, do some research and hand pick the ones you think will work best for your niche. Let them know that you are being selective in who you are talking to. This will help their process and save the hassle of having to check that you haven’t already submitted an application for the same position with their competitor. Gone are the days of the scattergun approach. Being discerning and putting your energy into creating meaningful, ongoing relationships with a few key players will elicit a greater likelihood of being placed.
Recruiters are always looking for new clients and they know that candidates of today will become clients of tomorrow. Make this apparent in your meeting; that if they work hard to place you, there’s a probability you’ll return the favour by using their services, as well as recommending them to others. Emphasize that you’re prepared to honour a long- term relationship.
It all starts with a strong presence, strategic approach and good connection base. It’s worth doing the work upfront to get ahead of the competition.
*Originally published in The Age, Oct 2016.
Fiona Wainrit is a career expert who has successfully helped over 1,000 individuals make career transitions. Join her for wine & cheese at the ‘Authentic Networking’ event on 13th Oct. Register here.