Executive recruiters are the gatekeepers for the most coveted jobs in your industry. If you are an Executive and you aren’t working with executive recruiters during your job search, you are missing out. Forbes released a list of the 200 best executive recruiting firms in America. In this post I will narrow down the results to the top 25 firms, for practical networking purposes. I will also share tips for networking effectively and making a strong first impression with these critical career stakeholders.
Why Connecting With Executive Recruiters is Important for Your Search
The job search is competitive. Anyone who’s been in the job search for even a short amount of time could tell you that. When it comes to hiring, companies are only looking to hire the best candidate. In order to identify the best talent at the top of the organizational food chain, companies rely on highly specialized recruiters known as Executive Recruiters or Retained Search Consultants. Executive recruiters usually have a speciality area in which they recruit talent. They must be well versed in the roles and industries in which they recruit. They know the exact career path, skills, and capabilities needed to do the job opening they are working to fill. Because of this, they are industry/role experts. Therefore, they are good people to know. If you’re not sure where to move next, these industry experts can give you a good indicator of where the industry’s headed. They can also share the players or companies to watch. In short, executive recruiters are great networking contacts.
Should You Network With Executive Recruiters?
If you’re not earning 6-figures, you’ll want to stop reading here and get connected with recruiters that search for mid or early-career talent. If you are executive-level, keep reading and jot down these top search firms. You’ll need them for your networking and ongoing career management strategy. If you are one career move away from becoming a 6-figure executive, it is worthwhile to engage executive recruiters. They may be looking to recruit a candidate to be promoted to the next level. In this case they will be more than happy to speak with “up and coming” talent such as yourself. However, it’s important to do your research to understand the industry and company org charts therein so as to know if you’re a potential fit.
How to Create an Executive Recruiter Networking Strategy
Building a networking roadmap of key contacts is an important job search activity. The key to networking with recruiters is to start by identifying the best recruiters for you. There are several ways to do this, but it all comes down to basic research. Will all 200 firms on Forbes’s list be worth making outreach? Probably not. But a carefully curated list will deliver the most traction, and serve you well throughout your career. Start with a target of 10-15 firms and build up from there as needed. Within these firms, you want to identify the recruiter or recruiters listed for your industry. Then, make contact and network!
How to Find Recruiter Contact Information on the Recruiting Firm Website
One of the nice things about working with executive recruiters, is that they are very easy to find. Once you know how to find these recruiters, you’ll realize that you won’t have to dig too deep to also find their email addresses and phone numbers. It just takes a little bit of time and energy to conduct the research. The best way to find these recruiters and their contact information is by visiting the firm website. When you are on the website, you’ll then have to decipher the best heading to describe the team of recruiters. For example on Korn Ferry’s site, you select “Our Experts.” On Heidrick’s website you select “Services” and then “Executive Search” from the dropdown. You will then be asked to select and industry. This will then open up a list of all of the most relevant recruiters. For Spencer Stuart, you must select “Consultants” which will then open a page of all the consultants. You will need to click on each consultant to learn their focus area. Then, simply reach out to the most relevant recruiters for your industry.
As you can see, there is an element of guesswork involved in finding the right recruiters on individual websites. However once you become familiar with the lingo, it’s not too difficult. If you are still learning the lingo, the headers you can expect to find as indicators of recruiters include: Retained Executive Search, Search Consultants, Executive Search, Consultants, and so on.
Once You Find the Right Recruiter, Don’t Make this Mistake
You only get one chance to make a first impression. So now that you’ve found the right recruiter, don’t blow your chance! You’ll want to reach out in a professional way that demonstrates you understand how to work with executive recruiters. If you are unfamiliar with how to work with recruiters or what to say, you might find my Recruiter Masterclass Recording and Email Templates very helpful in quickly getting up to speed.Furthermore, you will need to have a VERY strong resume that is up to current executive resume trends. Most executive resumes I critique are extremely old-fashioned and outdated. If you want to see a visual of an on-trend executive resume, check out these before and after resume samples. The last thing you want to do is turn an executive recruiter off with a poorly crafted or visually outdated resume. Executive recruiters want to be impressed. They are recruiting for the top placements at very successful organizations. A weak resume can very quickly form a perception of a weak candidate. Therefore you won’t want to send recruiters your resume until it’s absolutely up to date and visually modern. If you want to really ensure you are getting a quality executive resume, I recommend working with an executive-focused resume service.
Forbes List Top 25 Executive Recruiting Firms
- Korn Ferry
- Heidrick & Struggles
- Spencer Stuart
- Russell Reynolds Associates
- Robert Half
- Egon Zehnder International
- Diversified Search
- Lucas Group
- DHR International
- Cabot Consultants
- Stanton Chase International
- Tatum, A Randstad Company
- E.A. Hughes & Co.
- 20/20 Foresight Executive Search
- The QualiFind Group
- Linked Executive Search
- Salveson Stetson Group
- Exceptional People International
- Saenger Associates
- Koya Leadership Partners
- 180 Engineering