Increase your Odds of Landing a Job with these 9 Tips from an Executive Search Professional

Monday, September 25, 2023

Finding a job at an executive level can be a lengthy process. As you get more advanced in your career, there are fewer and fewer opportunities likely to be the ideal fit for you, much less a position that meets your role, salary and company culture requirements. The current economic climate has also made the competition more fierce.

As an executive search professional, I know from experience that such a task can take a year or more, and most of the attractive jobs are part of the "hidden job market" and rarely ever make it to job postings or boards.

Given that about 80% of jobs are found through networking, your best chances for success are via a referral, either a trusted colleague, friend or search professional that the hiring manager knows. I speak to multiple candidates in search of a job, and while I don't get paid to connect with those looking to get hired (I get paid when my clients, the companies, hire me to find a candidate), I seek to help and support as many people as possible.

Before targeting recruiters, one needs to understand the two main types of executive search firms and recruiters. There are retained and contingency firms and recruiters.

  • Contingency recruiters are paid after the search process when the client decides to hire one of the recruiter's proposed candidates.
  • Retained executive search firms charge a consulting fee — paid as a monthly retainer or a percentage of the candidate's salary.

I work with a retained search firm, and we are hired by companies, our clients, who pay us to find candidates. We do not get paid by referring a candidate to a company we are not retained by.

Below are nine tips to help candidates land a job by connecting with an executive search consultant without having to pay for anything.

1. Target your search firm consultant — but do your homework first

Understand the search firm you are targeting and what practice areas they are known for and specialize in. Then, look for individuals within the firm that specialize in areas that you are an expert at or interested in. Put yourself in my shoes — I focus on people that will best fit a search I'm working on.

If you're focused on a general or functional area I work on, I will want to know about you, irrespective. I always like to get to know great people, and as such, I will put your resume in our database. I also recommend adding your resume to Blue Steps Database, the largest and most diverse global community that offers C-suite executives mentoring, resources and visibility to the top retained search firms. You want to be visible to those. There are different levels of fee-based membership for this, so the recommendation is optional.

2. Have your LinkedIn, biography and resume up to date before your outreach

You've got one shot at a first impression to reach out to a recruiter, so ensure that your resume, bio and Linkedin profile are fully updated. Over 75% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn. We have resumes flying by our desks all day, and this is your first shot to stand out. If your first outreach isn't appealing to a recruiter, your bio isn't updated, or your social media profile shines some negative light, they likely won't spend more time on you.

Related: Avoid These 8 Mistakes Leaders Make on LinkedIn Every Day

3. Get right to your accomplishments from the initial outreach

One value I teach to my kids and colleagues is to "spread sunshine," meaning I'm always happy to help others where I can. But note I'll likely only give your email 60 seconds, so get to your accomplishments right from the start. Rather than begin with your bio, take me through a case history.

Full article @