Does this situation apply to you? You are content where you now work, totally focused on accomplishing great things in your current position when the phone rings and an executive recruiter is calling. You’re busy. What do you do? If you are like most people in your situation you end the call quickly and get back to work.
What should you do?
Hearing from a recruiter is a career management moment. Here are some reasons why you should take that call:
- Get to know an executive recruiter for the future. You never know when you or someone you know will be interested in a career change. The more executive recruiters you know the better off you are. Recruiters want to get to know you and your capabilities. The next call they make to you could be the opportunity of your dreams.
- Obtain an outsider’s view of the marketplace. It is a great opportunity to check the pulse of the marketplace. Recruiters know about three months in advance when there will be a downturn and also three months in advance when things will begin to improve. When the market is sinking many of the recruiter’s clients cancel searches they had planned or even stop searches underway about three months in advance of “the news.” Likewise, when the market begins to turn for the better there is typically some pent-up demand and clients begin to go to search firms to fill positions long needed. At any time a recruiter should be able to tell you where the market is on that continuum.
- It is an opportunity to help a friend, mentor, colleague or protege’. A question asked early in a recruiter’s call, after telling you briefly what he or she is looking for, is: “Do you know anyone who might be interested in this opportunity?” Most recruiters will tell you that the greatest source of good candidates is through referrals. By doing so you have already vetted the candidate for the recruiter. Put yourself in the place of the person you would be referring. Wouldn’t you appreciate that someone is looking out for your career besides yourself? It is a good opportunity to recommend that individual whom you know would benefit from this call at this time.
- You can’t turn down an offer that has never been extended to you. Many candidates I have placed were not even remotely interested in a career change when they took my call. Some will say that the job sounds attractive but they are happy where they are. That’s fair. My comment is usually that, “You can’t turn down an offer that has never been extended to you.” At this stage we are simply having a conversation. I haven’t decided yet that you are right for the job and you have not decided that you are even interested. It is not until a candidate has interviewed and been extended an offer that a decision has to be made. Once you have an offer in hand the decision is yours to make, not the recruiter or the employer anymore.
The next time a recruiter calls take a few minutes to have a conversation with that person. Let your administrative assistant know that unless you are extremely busy, you would like to take all recruiter calls, if for no other reason than it is a great way to obtain some market intelligence and look out for people you know. The statistics are in your favor. Most of the time when you get a call like this you are either not suitable for the job or you remain uninterested. But almost all of us know somebody who would benefit from an informed referral. Remember that the next time that recruiter reaches out to you. It may very well be that the reason you got the call in the first place was that someone was looking out for you.
About the Author
Michael K. Burroughs has been recruiting and coaching executives for over two decades. His clients include the Fortune 500, early stage companies, health care systems and hospitals, nonprofit organizations and universities. He is a former organization development executive for divisions of three Fortune 500 companies and a retired Army colonel. Michael serves as a Global Practice Group Leader for a “top five” retained executive recruiting firm. He has recruited executives from CEO to director level in the US, Asia and Europe, and coaches senior executives in the Fortune 500. You can follow his career-oriented blog, Leading Edge Memo’s, at http://leadingedgememos.blogspot.com. You can reach Michael directly by accessing his website at http://www.michaelkburroughs.com.