If you are a high-performing leader, search consultants will likely contact you regularly; you will probably ignore them. (Especially if you are happy in your current role.) So why take the time to talk if you don’t need them?
But as networking expert Keith Ferrazzi notes in his best-selling book Never Eat Alone, “what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins.”
Building long-term relationships with executive search consultants, i.e., networking – should be a vital component of your career development strategy.
Here are some free tips from me, an executive recruiter.
Take the call – ALWAYS
You never know what can come from a quick call, even if you’re not in job-hunting mode. You may learn about a compelling opportunity or industry insight. The call offers a time to speak with them and create a positive impression of yourself. LinkedIn notes search consultants are experts in “search strategy, talent mapping, and due diligence to find the ‘right’ candidate.” Presenting yourself as experienced, polished, and high-caliber, you will be a go-to candidate for them, paying dividends for you down the road.
Be Strategic, Be Proactive
While, in most instances, an executive search consultant will reach out to you, what stops you from getting the ball rolling? Be strategic and create your own shortlist of three recruiters who are experts in your industry and function and have a strong track record placing executives in roles you covet. After you connect, it’s critical to maintain ongoing contact. Ask the consultant to keep you in the loop about opportunities, ensure they are up to date on your career achievements, and it never hurts to go for a coffee, even if it’s a virtual one!
Pay it Forward – Refer Talent
Let’s say the position a recruiter presents isn’t for you, but it sounds like a perfect fit for a friend or colleague. Then “do everyone a favor and share this information with the recruiter,” advises the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC); think of the networking chain reaction you catalyze by referring a candidate. You help the recruiter. You engage your contact. And in doing so, you bolster your reputation as a well-connected source. This makes you an even hotter consideration for the recruiter and bodes well for your existing relationship with your colleague. Win-Win-Win
Authenticity is Credibility
Looking good on paper or online doesn’t necessarily reflect one’s day-to-day, on-the-job impact. To cultivate rapport and trust with a recruiter, show them you are the real deal. Highlight tangible professional achievements. Showcase the conferences you have presented at, and tell them what colleagues think of you. Demonstrate your genuine drive for improvement by sharing feedback. Being forthright, honest, and direct lets your authenticity will shine through. Your value as a candidate will shine along with it.
Consider your bench. Is your replacement ready?
The most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics points to a hot market, with 1.7 job openings for every available worker and an ongoing talent shortage. The fact is, finding the right leader is hard. Networking with a search consultant, who knows you and your business, is an intelligent way to help fill the gaps on your executive team.
Building purposeful relationships with executive search consultants offers many advantages. Responding to their outreach, referring a colleague, or taking the lead in connecting all provide a forum to build your brand with someone who identifies new, exciting, and often confidential opportunities at great organizations.
Please connect with me on LinkedIn if we are not already. And let’s schedule an info call soon!