Many professionals use executive search firms for two reasons. First, they allow you to keep your CV and other professional documents updated and accessible to potential employers. Second, they believe that a professional headhunter working there can help them land their next job.
The reality is that agents of executive search firms work to find the best candidates for their client organisations, not the other way around. In fact, you can find yourself waiting up to a whole year to get invited for an interview.
On the other hand, executives that use multiple channels when looking for a job get results more quickly. Headhunters can help, but don’t rely only on them. You must also keep up with posted job openings, professional networking, and social media.
The best way to use executive search firms
Since the primary responsibility of these executive search firms is to their clients, use these channels as a way to build relationships with these recruiters before you start looking for a new position. That way, these recruiters will be more willing to put in a good word for you because you’re no stranger asking for help only when you need it.
Get your documents in order.
To do this, make sure you have all of your documents completely updated and impeccably written. Jobs at the executive level are very competitive, and you will not be the only candidate looking for a new position. Focus on making sure that your CV and LinkedIn profile make clear what is unique and special about you.
An average CV won’t help you describe how you offer a value-added proposition for an employer. However, this is precisely what a recruiter will be looking for.
Also, describe your qualifications thoroughly. Headhunters will be looking for the candidate with the ideal combination of experience, accomplishments, and expertise.
Another way to build relationships with executive search firms is to understand where their priorities lie. If you aren’t actively looking for a job or don’t match requirements for a particular position, you can help them by referring to a candidate that would fit.
You can also recommend companies that might potentially retain their services. When a job comes up that matches your qualifications, having laid this vital groundwork and offered something valuable to the executive recruiters in your network means that your name will come first to mind.
Continuously improve yourself
It’s also imperative to continually learn new things that will make you a subject matter expert in your field. You can then share these industry insights with the recruiters in your network.
The takeaway is that executive search firms should always be in process, even if you aren’t currently seeking a new position. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile regularly, network extensively, and offer your expertise in support of others.
These small efforts done regularly will set you up for a successful search when you are ready to make a move.