Tips for working with your recruiter #1: Understand how executive recruiting firms work

In this new series, we are going to be tapping into the wisdom of Key Corporate Services founders and managing partners Dave Kerns and Jeff Wilson. In their decades of combined experience as recruiters and managers of recruiters, they’ve encountered just about any situation you can imagine in this fascinating industry!

So let’s talk about how you can get the most out of your relationship with your recruiter. The first thing we need to look at is how executive recruiting firms work. These are some basics that apply to most firms like Key Corporate Services that seek out and place high-end talent.

Recruiting firms find employees for companies that are in need of talent. In the majority of cases, recruiters are paid by the companies and not by the people we place in positions. For this reason, in our industry we typically refer to the companies as our “clients” and the prospective employees as “candidates.” If you use our services as a candidate, there will be no charge to you at any stage of the process.

When a current or new client company comes to us with an open position, we move heaven and earth to fill it. We scour our database. We work our networks. We search for new talent. Whatever it takes–we are going to give our all to find the right person for that job, since that’s how we get paid.

How about when a talented candidate contacts us? We will be grateful and interested in building a relationship with that person. We will certainly consider whether he or she is right for any of positions that our clients have requested we fill. We will not, however, begin searching for a job for the new candidate. Since we don’t get paid by candidates, their job searches cannot be the focus of our work. (Some exceptions apply. From time to time a candidate is so strong that we can work together with him or her to open doors to entirely new clients. But this is fairly rare.)

Today, this way of doing things has become the standard in the industry, but in the past, a higher percentage of firms would charge candidates a fee. The reason why this has gone mostly out of style is that companies can afford to compensate recruiting companies for their work, whereas individuals typically have a harder time doing so (this is especially true of people who are between jobs).

To us, however, both sides of the equation are very important, and we need to build great relationships with both companies and candidates so that we can work with them over the long term.

The Key Corporate Services Blog Team