When Executive Recruiters Call - Understanding the Basics of Executive Search


When Executive Recruiters Call

Do you receive calls from executive recruiters, also known as headhunters? Do you find it annoying that these executive search consultants are hounding you with job offers? Or is it flattering to be considered of high enough caliber and potential to fit highly specialized criteria? Either way, to know an executive recruiter is to understand one – and to really get to grips with how a headhunter’s job works and what his or her goals are will help you, the senior executive, appreciate the true value of how you might benefit from the retained executive search industry.

An Executive Recruiter contacts a senior executive about a CEO position

An Executive Recruiter might have numerous searches going at any one time, and his or her day will be spent mostly on the phone to clients, candidates and sources. So what parts do different players in all of this?

  • Clients provide the positions for the recruiters to fill. Does the company in question need a COO? A CMO? Given a brief, the executive search firm does the hard work of filling the position.
  • Sources give researchers the names and leads of candidates. Sources refer and recommend people they know that would be suitable for the job in question. Sources are also often very good candidates. If you get a call from an executive recruiter, you might also think about who you know that would fit that position? Helping the search consultant in this way may help you establish a valuable connection for the future.
  • Candidates are the professional and qualified senior executives who executive recruiters seek out to fill their clients’ executive job openings. A big part of recruitment is developing a huge network of names and contacts to go to in times of need, as sources or candidates. Executive search professionals use many different methods to find viable professionals for each position. BlueSteps.com is a prime example; others come through networking, news, and innumerable internet sources including social networking sites like LinkedIn and Xing. Researchers are constantly building and sustaining relationships with potential candidates whilst rigorously searching through the executive resumes of possible prospects.

It’s difficult to believe that recruiters can place up to 6 candidates a month, while taking into account a range of factors from compensation level tolocation. But it’s important for senior executives to understand the inner workings of an executive recruiter’s job, in order to be better positioned to get the best value from retained executive recruiting services. Fully understanding the processes involved in a typical executive search gives you the opportunity to better identify how you can benefit from those regular calls, and make the most of what a recruiter can do for you!


BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

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About BlueSteps

BlueSteps empowers executives to reach their career goals with strategic career planning.


At BlueSteps, we thoughtfully create career management solutions that are designed to help leaders advance their careers, stay on track to build a long-term career playbook, and become a strong leader. Our tools and resources will help you:
  • Advance your career with tools to keep you on track. 
  • Access insider job market intelligence from the experts.
  • Identify and network with the right recruiters.
  • Discover executive jobs and board positions not found elsewhere.
  • Connect with world class career advisors for support when you need it.

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