If you’re a busy working professional, chances are you’ve had a recruiter reach out to you before, if only on LinkedIn. That’s because these folks are seeking and placing talent day in and day out.

So, what is a recruiter? Executive recruiters, also called corporate or job headhunters, act as intermediaries between top-notch candidates and companies seeking talent. Recruiters are responsible for client and business development, candidate sourcing and screening, successful placement and follow-up. Because they know about positions that haven’t been advertised and are in touch with candidates who aren’t actively looking for work, they are in high demand across many different industries.

Recruiters tend to enter the profession because they like working with people, but they come from a variety of fields and backgrounds. To succeed as a recruiter, it helps to have hands-on knowledge about your area of focus. But it also takes good communication. Because recruiters deal with people’s businesses and lives, they need to understand the complex needs of all parties involved in a candidate search. Doing so goes a long way to create successful placements.

As an executive recruiter at Lucas Group, I strive to deliver quality results to both clients and candidates. In my experience, the best recruiters know that their work is about more than just the transaction itself. If you’re interested in learning about executive recruiting, here are some key details about the top three job responsibilities:

Reaching Out to Clients
Executive recruiters network with potential and existing clients to find out about their business needs and to develop long-term, loyal and fruitful relationships. They have strong industry contacts within their region, as well as deep knowledge of market trends and opportunities. Recruiters are connectors, with the ability to create positive introductions and bring clients and candidates together.

Because executive recruiters work with high caliber candidates, they act as consultants in decision-making and team strategy. Recruiters get to know HR and hiring executives, business goals and company culture well enough to look past a job description as it appears on paper. They understand nuances such as what type of personality a hiring manager is looking for, where a position might lead in 5 or 10 years and whether it offers the opportunities for growth that a candidate needs.

Sourcing and Screening Candidates
Executive recruiters aim to place industry leaders who drive positive cultural changes and financial impact. To find high-value talent, recruiters conduct extensive research by leveraging existing contacts, using social media, attending networking events and exploring many other avenues. From there, they create a targeted list of candidates—often as many as 200-300. They work with candidates who are actively seeking a career change, but more often initiate contact with those who are not. Recruiters help candidates overcome the security of the status quo and see the growth potential in new opportunities.

The role of an executive recruiter transcends simple hiring transactions, as executive searches can be complicated and delicate. Each one depends on different factors such as a candidate’s technical and soft skills, team environment, current business needs, opportunity for growth, personality fit and even intangible qualities. By using expert interviewing and profiling techniques, the recruiter determines whether a candidate is a good match for a particular position.

Creating Successful Placements
Successful candidate placement often depends on talking to many people, listening closely, reading subtleties and delivering key insights to both parties that help drive the final decision. Before a search is undertaken, the executive recruiter facilitates the contract negotiation, which can often be complex. Personality dynamics and compensation variables require a recruiter with well-developed negotiation skills. Some contracts require a dozen or more negotiation points, each of which must be carefully considered, discussed, compared and finalized.

Successful matches depend on performing extensive work up front and acting with speed, integrity and tact in high-stakes environments. The work is demanding, but the pay-off is big: helping to make a positive difference for great companies and valuable candidates.

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