Hunting the Executive Head Hunter

5 tips to win over an executive head hunter or management recruiter

Many job seekers find themselves overwhelmed with dread at the prospect of hunting down a new career position on their own. That's why many people hope to hang their hats on the connections of executive head hunters to do their hunting for them in their ongoing (never-ending?) quest for the ultimate trophy career.

In order to convince a reliable executive head hunter, a job seeker has to plan his attack. A well connected executive recruiter will not take on just any person in a suit. You have to build a solid foundation well in advance of making contact.

Just like animal-hunting needs supplies, recruiter hunting requires strategy and supplies, too. Here are five tips to successfully capture the prize ? the services of an executive recruiter.

Do Your Homework

The savvy job-seeker must be well armed with knowledge ? not just about his or her interests and skills, but also in the head hunter's interests and specialties. Yes, it helps to approach a head hunter who understands your field and has built up connections, because there is very little need for chemical engineers at an accounting firm (although chemical makers have been forced to allow accountants into their sanctums, but that's another story).

At the same time, an executive management recruiter has no interest in your skills, even if you have won dozens of awards for the French pastries you have created.

Of course, it helps to familiarize yourself with the job market. That is the executive recruiter's job, but it is also yours.

You will also get a lot further if you have assessed your own skills, not just your desired employment. If you clearly are not qualified for what you seek, you won't sell yourself to the head hunter. And if you can't sell yourself to the head hunter, he or she won't bother trying to sell you to anyone else.

Identify Reputable Executive Recruiters and Head Hunters

Unfortunately, in the 21st century there are a growing number of conmen and scam artists who have injected themselves in the business of executive head hunters and recruiters. Therefore, as you begin your search for a bona fide and qualified executive recruiter, it is vital that you ask around.

Before you approach an executive head hunter, find out all that you can about their operations, history and experience from as many independent resources that you can access. Make it a point to find other men or women who have used their services. Find out who has actually landed jobs for other people, before placing your career in the hands of a charlatan.

Prepare a Solid Resume

OK. so this might be obvious. But it is not always done. Prepare a professional resume before you make contact with the executive head hunters on your list. Your resume is your calling card, and it will determine whether the recruiter will even want to let you waste his secretary's time.

Line Up Solid References

Before knocking on head hunter doors, make certain that you have handy a list of professional references.

Just as you will want to know the details about any executive recruiter you approach, these professionals will want to know a good deal about you as well. They will want to be able to contact your references, men and women who can support your professional aspirations with solid testimony about your prior accomplishments, your character, your skills and even your weaknesses, too.

Make sure to ask permission from each reference in advance, so they don't get caught off guard and say something like, "well, uh, let me see, um...you were calling about whom?"

Schedule a One on One Head Hunter Meeting

Finally, when you have all your ducks lined up, you are ready to meet the executive head hunter who will land you that ultimate trophy career. Of course, it helps to pick more than just one recruiter, and it also helps to schedule a meeting at their convenience.

There you have it. You are ready to go and hunt an executive head hunter. Job-searching couldn't be more fun unless it came with a candy cherry on top and a complementary subscription to Laugh magazine. Happy hunting.

David Leonhardt is a Canadian website marketing strategies consultant. He wrote this article for the Directory of Executive Recruiters and Head Hunters.

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