How Executive Recruiters Are Different From Headhunters: An Interview with Sarah Dooley

Sarah Dooley, Recruiter for Industrial Chemicals, Paint, Coatings, and Petroleum Sarah Dooley is the Director of Recruiting for the plastics, packaging, and industrial chemical industries for Key Corporate Services. In this interview, she discusses how executive recruiters make win-win matches between employers and job candidates and why she’s passionate about ‘headhunting.’

Could you explain the key elements of what you do as Key Corporate Services Director of Recruiting?

I specialize in executive recruitment for the plastics, packaging, and specialty chemicals industry. Decades ago people would have called me a ‘headhunter,’ and many people still do. It’s an old-school term, and one, perhaps, that contemporary recruiting professionals aren’t entirely comfortable with, but whether you call me a headhunter or executive recruiter, it still comes down to this: I help employers find potential employees who have very specific skill sets.  I rely on a well-maintained pipeline of qualified professionals and various other recruiting tools to make well-founded matches.

What do you love most about what you do? What gets you out of bed each day, eager to head into work?

In our plastics field, we’re used to using a lot of technical terms. On any given day, I might be interviewing technical chemists or analyzing data to spot trends in the numbers that might inform something I’m doing. What really motivates me is the fact that I help people. I help corporations–I help them ensure that no cog in the wheel of their human resources apparatus breaks down– it all comes down to helping people. I help employers find the ideal fit for their needs and I help candidates find the job that makes them eager to get out of bed every day and head into work.

Recently I helped a candidate find a position during the early days of the pandemic. The company was still forced to lay off employees, but they retained our candidate because she was that perfect fit. She called to tell me that it was with my help that she was able to professionally excel. So, yes, that’s what I love most–helping people.

How can companies benefit by working with an executive recruiter?

Occasionally, I’ll meet business executives at trade shows or conferences who’ll say that they have some in-house capabilities to recruit industry professionals. But what I tell them is that, as executive recruiters–all we do is focus on recruiting. For the types of specialty positions our clients are looking to fill, we focus exclusively on this pipeline. We have a robust vetting process, and our recruiters have the technical capabilities that many business executives–even in this field–lack. Essentially, we partner with the companies we work with to ensure that the process of finding the ideal people is streamlined and reliable.

What’s your favorite interview question for job applicants?

The question that usually elicits interesting responses is: what are the qualities you admire most in a leader. This single question often gets to the heart of what this individual is looking for in terms of workplace culture. It tells me about what they value in another–and what leadership qualities they may value in themselves.

Looking to learn more about how Sarah Dooley or other representatives at Key Corporate Services can assist you?

Contact Us Today

Need Assistance With Executive Search & Recruitment?

If you are looking to fill a position or just a partner, Key Corporate Services can help. We employ expert executive headhunters with years of experience in the following industries: Industrial Chemicals, Pharmaceutical and Biotech, Food Ingredients, Accounting and Finance, and Engineering and Manufacturing.