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6 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask an Executive Recruiter (Part One)

Most people have a vague idea of what executive recruiters do: They find top executives for companies who are looking to hire. However, their methods and processes are usually the stuff of mystery. Over the years, both candidates and clients have voiced many of the same questions about how recruiters work.

1. How do you get your candidates?

We have a database of over 35,000 candidates (in senior living alone), but for each search, we use a targeted approach. First, we identify organizations within a specific geographic radius, that would likely employ candidates suitable for our search. Once we have identified key individuals within an organization, we connect with them to ask two main questions: “How do you want to develop your career?” and “What opportunity would you consider to be stronger than the one you currently have”. Through our industry experience, we are able to predict each candidate’s attraction to the available position in terms of their own career development. What many clients don’t realize is that each search can involve hundreds if not thousands of calls for each placement.

2. Are there certain clients you will and won’t work with?

A recruiter’s ability to attract top talent is linked inextricably to the quality of the companies they represent. We always strive to work with the best companies and leaders in our sector. After all, would candidates be excited to speak with recruiters who always called them for opportunities with companies that had terrible reputations? Of course not. If we want to attract the best and brightest candidates, we need to consistently serve up opportunities that will truly be attractive. Having said that, there are no perfect companies. And many times, great leaders take on challenged companies in order to enact change. In those cases, we want to see leaders of integrity and ability who present a compelling mission and story. A great leader can often make a compelling case for strong candidates who want to make a difference.

3. What are some of the deal breakers for candidates within the hiring process?

• Dishonesty: Lying on a resume, omitting or falsifying information about education or job history or not being forthright about their experience and abilities should always be a deal breaker for a recruiter. If a candidate is not transparent in revealing the parameters, they would entertain for a possible job change, then we will not be inclined to work with them. People carry an energy about themselves, and you can tell when that energy is open and transparent versus closed and guarded. When a candidate is the latter, that’s a big red flag.

• Unreasonable Salary Expectations: If a candidate’s salary expectations are greatly out of alignment with industry norms, or they are looking for an unrealistic increase from their current compensation, it can be difficult to work with them.

• Erratic Job History: If a candidate’s job history does not reflect longevity in their past positions (job hoppers) or if they have long, unexplained gaps in their resume, this will be a problem for most recruiters. From an employers’ perspective, the best indicator of someone’s future behavior is their past behavior. Working with a recruiter represents a sizable investment for an employer and they want to be sure that a candidate hired will provide a strong return on that investment.

While these questions may help you understand the recruitment process a bit better, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for part two of our recruiter FAQ series for even more commonly asked questions.

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