Lynn Wu, a Principal in the Los Angeles office of Morgan Samuels, a leading human-capital consulting and retained executive search firm, reveals her valuable insights regarding executive search. Lynn has over a decade of recruiting experience, and a technical background—co-leading the Engineering and Construction search practice at Morgan Samuels.
When you are happy with your current job, you might feel reluctant to take an executive recruiter’s call—but you shouldn’t be. Recruiters are incredible assets to professionals. In fact, executive recruiters provide potential candidates with tangible benefits that go far beyond the actual job role being discussed during a recruiting call. So if you are a professional who is not actively looking, why should you take a call from an executive search firm?
- It’s the Best Time to Consider Opportunities. The time to consider new opportunities is not when you are desperate for a job. As Jerry Land points out in his article, “Why a Passive Candidate Should Take a Recruiter’s Call,” “the worst time to go to the grocery store is when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to buy food that you know is not in your best long-term interests.” Instead, as a professional, you should evaluate your career opportunities when you have been doing well in your current organization. It is at this time that you are the most marketable, and an outside opportunity may provide you the opportunity to leverage your current success for a career-defining position that will take your career to the next level. Being happy in your current role allows you to evaluate opportunities objectively. The pressure is off. If the opportunity you are evaluating is not an attractive next step for you, you don’t need to move forward.
- It’s a Great Networking Opportunity. Networking at the executive level is such a worthwhile process, and is vital for future career success. When a professional takes a call from an elite executive search firm like Morgan Samuels and goes through the recruiting process with us, we take the time to interview the candidate and to understand what’s truly important to you. Even if you aren’t the right fit for the current role being discussed, you may be the perfect fit for a future search. In addition, as you learn more about the opportunity through interviewing with the client, that also represents a valuable networking opportunity with a senior executive at another firm. In the Engineering & Construction industry, it is not uncommon to see joint ventures and other partnerships come out of what was initially an interview. In other cases, a candidate might be considered for a different opportunity within the same organization. Even if you decide that the position isn’t the right fit for you or the client moves forward with another candidate instead, it is still time well spent to have met top executives in your industry.
- It’s the Perfect Time to Pay It Forward and Provide a Referral. Even if you are satisfied in your current position, you should still pick up the phone when a recruiter calls. Recruiters are always sincerely appreciative of referrals. The people being referred will also be grateful, as well. It’s fostering mutually beneficial business relationships, and well… it’s just good karma.
- Recruiters Are Subject Matter Experts. Executive recruiters are excellent resources and subject matter experts about the industry. Search consultants have a good understanding of current compensation rates, market trends, key insights, etc. They are industry experts in their chosen specialty. You should take advantage of this fact. So, even if you aren’t actively seeking a new position, perhaps taking the call from that recruiter will provide you with important information on growing business trends in your area of specialty. Recruiters are valuable contacts to have and also can provide valuable insights as to how you can help further your career.
- In This Economy, It’s Important to Know Recruiters. While the economy can be said to be improving somewhat, it is not what it used to be. Now more than ever, it is more important for a professional to be on a first-name basis with a competent and knowledgeable executive recruiter. You should always be building your network. Indeed, you should know and use recruiters before you have to use them. Morgan Samuels keeps in touch with our candidates over decades and we truly value the long-term relationships we’re able to establish and maintain with our candidates over the years.
Final Words of Advice: When returning an executive recruiter’s call, it is important to:
- Return the recruiter’s call promptly.
- Be upfront with the recruiter about your capabilities, credentials, and current compensation package.
- Be open to sending your resume to the recruiter for consideration for future opportunities even if the role being discussed is not a fit. Having a resume on file enables you to be more quickly considered for new searches that launch in the future, since recruiters will check their internal database and networks first when a new search launches.
- Be open-minded to exploring an opportunity even if the location is not ideal. There are so few senior-level positions the higher up you go in your career, that to take your career to the next level, it is important to be flexible when it comes to location.
- Keep in mind that even if you go through the recruiting and interviewing process and do not end up taking the position, that going through the process in and of itself is valuable, both from the standpoint of deepening the relationship with the executive search firm, as well as networking with the client company.