SAN ANGELO, Texas — After candidates have taken the necessary steps to become a “dream candidate”, the question is what should they expect from an executive recruiter? Far too often, the gap between what candidates should expect and what they get is regrettable, sometimes bordering on malpractice. The sad truth is that there are a lot of people calling themselves executive recruiters who are nothing more than telephone marketing agents operating in a boiler room call center overseen by metrics-obsessed supervisors aided by computers that count and time calls. So beware As a matter of clarification, some people call themselves executive recruiters even though they typically place supervisors, managers and Department Directors — they are, by definition, management recruiters. Executive recruiters are those consultants who focus exclusively on C-suite and vice president-level personnel. There are retained firms, those firms who are engaged and paid to lead a search and they typically provide more in-depth analysis of the client’s business and the candidate backgrounds. They typically provide a longer placement guarantee. Contingent firms typically work on lower level assignments and, for the most part, are engaged by the client on a non-exclusive basis. This means that if a recruiter calls you for a position, you need to know whether they have an exclusive on the search engagement. The last thing in the world you want to happen is to have two different recruiting agencies submit you for the same job, and then find yourself in a cat fight for who gets the placement fee. Clients hate that nonsense and frequently walk away, opting for another “clean” candidate. So if you are in the job market, here are five things you should expect from an executive recruiter:
- That he or she will provide you with the location and the name of the client. If they have an exclusive contract, keeping that information from you serves no useful purpose unless the incumbent executive is unaware that the ax is about to fall.
- Disclose the salary range. Why waste your time in a search for a job that pays you less or the same amount you are making now? If the recruiter does not know, or refuses to disclose the compensation range, walk away.
- Provide timely communication regarding your status in the search. This is a big frequent complaint of most candidates. They say it is not uncommon to go weeks upon weeks without ever hearing from the recruiter, only to receive email or a letter at some future date informing you that you have been chopped from consideration. At a minimum, recruiters should send updates to their candidates every five to seven days.
- Disclose the project timeline. Every search runs on a schedule. Ask the recruiter for his targeted presentation date for recommended candidates.
- Ask about the placement guarantee. If it is less than a year, pay attention. With no guarantee, or a minimal guarantee, the recruiter has little or no skin in the game. The longer the guarantee period the more the recruiter is likely to have your mutual best interest at heart. As a candidate, you are going to be held accountable for your performance. Why not the recruiter?