Working With Executive Recruiters

How to find out about career advancement opportunities that are right for you.

January 17, 2008
by Geremy Cepin

Right now, there’s a leadership opportunity for you that may significantly advance your career — and your income. But you won’t find it online, see it in the paper or hear about it from a headhunter. In fact, it may still be under development. So how can you learn about this opportunity?

Like many accountants, you may be unhappy with the pace at which your career is advancing (or not) and yet, you may also be uncomfortable with the idea of working with an executive recruiter. Perhaps you’re afraid of being “sold” on a position that’s not really right for you, concerned that you’ll have to pay a high fee for being placed, not sure whether you’re ready to make a move or simply prefer to “do it yourself.”

Whatever your reasons, your reluctance to develop a relationship with an executive recruiter may keep you in your current position much longer than you may want and hinder your chance of advancement.

Five Benefits of Working With a Recruiter

Here are five reasons why working with a recruiter can put you on the fast track to career advancement.

  1. Save time and effort.
    Conducting the research necessary to identify and evaluate advancement opportunities can be arduous, time-consuming and (all too often) fruitless, especially if you’re looking to relocate to a part of the country where you have few contacts. By having an executive recruiter do the heavy lifting for you, you simply respond to those opportunities that match your requirements. And because the hiring firm pays the fee, the search doesn’t cost you anything.

  1. Learn about opportunities you didn’t even know existed.
    When looking to advance your career, you (like many other professionals) may tend to focus only on the firms, listings or positions with which you’re familiar or would like to consider. But your best opportunity may come from a firm you would never even think to contact or in the form of a position that at first glance didn’t seem worth a closer look. Because an executive recruiter is proactively and continually contacting prospective employers, they can uncover positions that haven’t yet been advertised or that didn’t exist until an employer learned of your impressive credentials and expressed a willingness to create an opening just for you.

  1. Improve your odds of making a good move into the right position.
    Perhaps the greatest advantage to developing a relationship with an executive recruiter is that you’ll have an advocate who looks out for your best interests. An executive recruiter provides targeted search (for client firm) and placement services (for individuals seeking a new opportunity). A headhunter calls you to talk about a specific job that he/she is recruiting for — if you don’t fit, thanks for your time. Unlike a headhunter who is trying to fill a specific position, an executive recruiter is more like a matchmaker trying to find the best opportunity for you. So you hear not about what someone is selling, but about what fits your career advancement objectives. Also, an executive recruiter will help you clarify what you want in your next opportunity, so you end up at a position that’s truly better than what you had.

  1. Won’t blow your cover.
    Another advantage of working with an executive recruiter is that you won’t have to worry about keeping your search confidential. Your recruiter will make all initial contact and won’t reveal your name to a prospective employer until it’s clear that you want an interview. And your current employer will never know about your search until you give notice. When you conduct your own job search, you never know when the partner you call or write to at another firm knows someone at your firm, and word gets out that you’re looking.

  1. Help from a trusted advisor.
    As you consider various openings, your recruiter will serve as a coach who helps you develop your interviewing skills and as an advisor you can dialog with about your concerns and dreams for the future. Once you’ve found the position you want, your recruiter will act as an agent who helps you negotiate the best possible terms of employment.

Don’t underestimate the importance of having someone who supports your search and with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings about various positions. Changing jobs can be scary and stressful. There are many professionals who would like to be — and have the qualifications to be — in much better positions, but who didn’t have the support they needed to make the moves that would have significantly advanced their careers.

Give Your Career the Boost You Deserve

If you’re looking to advance your career, don’t be afraid to contact an executive recruiter. Working with one will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll move to the next level quickly, easily and successfully.

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Geremy Cepin is National Director, Executive Search & Placement Services, at PDI Global, Inc. He can be reached directly at 312-245-1755.