4 Things to Do Before Working with an Executive Recruiter

Recruiters, CEOs and hiring managers have one common goal: to get the right candidate in the job as quickly as possible. But what should be a smooth collaboration can become a tricky process if all parties aren’t on the same page.  

Unrealistic expectations and poor communication can plague the relationship between a hiring manager and recruiter. Some common problems in the hiring process include: 

  • Inadequate information provided to the recruiter about the job and ideal candidate 
  • Dissatisfaction with the quality of candidates 
  • Unrealistic expectations of the process and how long it should take 


An experienced executive recruiter has already done his homework and knows the right questions to ask to get the ball rolling. But there’s still work for the employer to do to get the perfect match. Before you engage with an executive recruiter, be sure you can check the box on each of these: 

  1. Know what you want the candidate to accomplish. Sure, you’ve got a job title and a position you need to fill, but have you really stopped to think about what qualities, experience and accomplishments the ideal candidate will bring to the table? Are there specific projects this individual will be assigned? Is the candidate’s goal cost reduction or increasing market share? The answers to these questions will help frame the position and requirements for the role, whether you work with a search firm to fill the position or not.  
  1. Communicate what success looks like for the placement. What do you want the candidate to accomplish in the first 30, 60 or 90 days? How will you measure success? When success can be defined, a list of behavioral questions can be developed to ensure you’re not wasting your time interviewing candidates with no past experience or demonstration of such success.  
  1. Set up an employee referral program. People like to work with their friends, and a referral program that rewards employees who introduce good candidates is a win/win for any company. Not only does it create a two-way street for communication with employees and give them a chance to earn a bonus, giving your employees the opportunity to introduce executives they know can be much less costly than working with a recruiter. 
  1. Explore your own network. Always be building a talent pipeline of people you know who might be a good fit for your company. Ask your executive board to consider executives at other companies. The right candidate just might be someone who is already in your network.  


Be willing to do the work before hiring a recruiter.  

Oftentimes, before we engage with a new client, we will first walk them through the process of accomplishing these steps. If you’re so focused on filling the job that you haven’t even considered the questions to ask candidates, or what a successful candidate looks like, you just might be putting the cart before the horse. 

Doing your homework first is the foundation in a successful relationship with a recruiter. If you can check these boxes, but you don’t have the pipeline, the time or the network to do the hiring — or perhaps you’re in the midst of a confidential search — it’s time to engage a recruiter.  

Linked Executive Search has a deep network of potential candidates and a track record of proven success in executive hiring. If you’re ready to begin your search (or maybe you’re not quite sure where to start), give us a call. 

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