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Help achieve specific personal and professional goals by developing potential, improving relationships, and enhancing performance. As an executive, your career success will depend on an ongoing strategy, active engagement in your career direction, and routine updates of your resume and online presence.

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How to best approach executive recruiters as a candidate

By Jose Ruiz |

There is little doubt in my mind that one of the most frustrating moments in life is when we realize that we need to find another job, or when we suddenly find ourselves without one. The sense of urgency is high, and the world just seems to move a bit slower when we need it to move a bit quicker. It’s at that moment in time when people reach out to everyone they trust to ask for leads and the names of known executive recruiters to help them get a new job. That’s when most people realize that executive recruiters are not exactly aligned with the immediate needs of job seekers as they are with the potential candidates their clients seek. If you think job seekers, candidates, and clients are the same, keep reading.

Retained executive search firms are the gatekeepers to approximately 90,000 senior-level jobs worldwide every year. The clients (the ones who pay the bills) of these executive recruiters are organizations with a specific hiring need and so they seek candidates to fill those needs. The success and income of a recruiter is directly linked to finding the right candidates for their clients and doing it quick.

The life of a recruiter is very hectic, and it requires balancing their time between filling the positions that they have open with clients, proactively identifying candidates whom they feel their clients will need (a calculated gamble), and building client relationships.

Recruiters are typically so short on time and receive so many unsolicited resumes that most sit unread. In the best case scenario, a recruiter will open the resume, but if it does not catch their eye, it might not even make it into the database. You don’t stay top-of-mind by just sending a resume, selling yourself and calling every month to see if a position is available.

If you want to approach an executive recruiter with success and stay top-of-mind, then give them what they need (hint: It’s not always your resume).

Executive recruiters focus on a specific industry, region, or field to achieve a level of expertise that makes them more effective and efficient. So start by identifying and approaching recruiters in your industry, region, and field. Introduce yourself (don’t sell yourself), let them know that you’re in the market, briefly explain your area of expertise, and offer to help with any information or insight that can help them close their open positions. From there, build a relationship based on valuable interaction regarding trends and issues that affect the disciplines and industries where you have expertise. Help the recruiter stay on top of what is happening in that space. This level of interaction helps you and the recruiter build knowledge and expertise, making the relationship valuable for both beyond the specific transaction of a single job opportunity.

About Jose Ruiz
As CEO, Jose is a provider of vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness, helping clients create thriving cultures. Prior to joining Alder Koten, Jose was a Principle with Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Industry Practice, based in Houston, TX and Monterrey, Mexico. He is also a bi-weekly contributor at, writing about executive leadership and career development.

About BlueSteps
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for over 90,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at


About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. Our recruiters and executive search consultants bring to the recruiting process an in-depth understanding of the market conditions and strategic talent issues faced by clients within their particular industry. Our leadership consultants provide advisory services that are crafted to be collaborative, responsive, pragmatic, and results oriented. Focused on expanding the capabilities of the organization through talent.