If you are contacted by an executive recruiter regarding a job you have an interest in, here are a few helpful hints to help you navigate the process.
The search will never go as fast as you think it should. This is especially true if you are in transition. You can only control what you can control — calling the recruiter back in a timely manner and immediately providing the information the recruiter requests. Take a breath, being upset will not help.
All search firms are not equal. Some have fairly simple processes, others more complex. Also, some recruiters communicate better than others. You can mitigate this by asking in the screening interview for the projected candidate presentation date. Take another breath.
Always have an updated resume ready. It is always a good idea to be responsive to a recruiter’s inquiries. Plus, you never know when a layoff or firing might occur.
Do your homework on the recruiter’s client before the interview process starts. Very few recruiters will tell you what you need to know to completely evaluate the opportunity. Ask questions throughout the process.
Be prepared for each interview. There are a host of standard questions that you will be asked. Practice your answers, especially on sensitive issues regarding a prior termination, demotion, short tenure, etc. There are some good books that contain behavior and values interview questions. One of the best is Topgrading. This is the interview system GE used under Jack Welch to build its leadership team.
Have your updated references ready to go when they are requested. Be sure your referees know about the job and the name of the recruiter or search firm that will be calling. Confirm in advance the referee’s availability. Provide the recruiter with an email address to facilitate scheduling a specific time.
Do not embarrass the recruiter by being late, unprepared, inappropriately dressed, argumentative, etc. You may find that you are not interested in the job, but do not put the brakes on. It will reflect badly on your career brand.