When you get an unsolicited phone call from an executive recruiter, it may be tempting to dismiss the call so you can focus on all the other things competing for your attention — particularly if you aren’t actively seeking a new opportunity. However, the way you handle calls from recruiters can have a huge impact on your career trajectory.
Executives destined for C-suite success consider recruiters a key part of their professional network and start building relationships with top executive recruiters long before actively pursuing a new position. These executives recognize that developing relationships with recruiters not only exposes them to new opportunities, but also helps them build their network and establish their professional reputation.
Following these tips ensures you’ll end up on the speed dial of the best recruiters so they can notify you when engaged to fill your dream position.
- Make sure recruiters can find you. Recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn, so build and optimize a profile highlighting your background and expertise. Fully complete your profile, making sure to include industry keywords and job descriptions to increase your likelihood of being found. Other ways to increase your visibility include writing articles, giving presentations, actively participating in trade associations, and maintaining professional profiles on other social media sites, such as Twitter.
- Follow recruiters who specialize in your field. Most recruiters specialize in certain industries and connecting with someone working in your area of expertise will likely yield the most productive relationship. To proactively identify top producing recruiters by area of expertise, search the Pinnacle Society website.
- Provide referrals. If a recruiter calls you and you’re not interested in the role, consider sharing names of people who you think may value knowing about the opportunity. Top recruiters rely on referrals to fill open positions, and selectively facilitating connections can be a great way to build credibility within your professional network.
- Be prepared for the conversation. Have your elevator pitch — including your key strengths and the types of opportunities you want to hear about — ready so you’re prepared when you receive an unexpected inquiry. Know that a recruiter may someday be asked to share their impressions about you to a prospective hiring organization, so focus on making a good impression, being professional and highlighting reasons why the recruiter should want to work with you.
- Honor your commitments. Only offer yourself as a candidate to recruiters if you’re seriously considering changing jobs and are willing to fairly evaluate an opportunity. If faced with a potential move, make sure you’ve talked it over with people the move would directly impact. Unexpectedly turning down an interview or job offer a recruiter helped you obtain burns bridges.