Research shows that 80+% of the people who apply to executive recruiters when looking for a new job receive no response, whether by phone call or even email. Of course, there are reasons for this and just a few people outside of the industry know them.
What’s more, even though our firm responds within a week to each enquiry (years ago we allocated a dedicated resource to provide personal, customized answers to our applicants), some people still become upset when we say that we will arrange a meeting when we have an assignment that matches their profile.
I believe it would be good for the readers to have a behind-the-scenes understanding of the executive recruitment business, so I decided to write a few lines about it, especially since many still believe that recruiters are by default career counselors (the ones to call to discuss where to explore career opportunities). I hope this article provides clarity and I also hope receive ideas from you on how to better address this aspect even better:
- Your profile is truly remarkable(top online/not only reputation, top companies as employers, top business schools, clean, relevant, concise and condensed) and relatively rare thus, the recruiter will want to meet even though there are no openings currently available (unfortunately very few CVs fit the description, less than 3%). In this situation, the recruiter considers you to be a “rara avis”; which means that they would be able to further promote you to their main clients/wherever the fit is best, or even do it proactively when services are retained long term by their clients.
- You have immediate/near future business potential for the recruiter (as employer, as coachee, etc.). Recruiters work mainly in the in B2B sector, which means you have to be pivotal to their hiring needs (either a local CEO or HRD) or a regional /global executive. Some may be very eager to meet you if your reputation is very high, otherwise not necessarily.
- You have a good profile but no current assignment in recruiter’s portfolio requires your expertise: Your profile fits none of the categories above mentioned and matches no current search and therefore such a meeting is opportune only when an assignment becomes available to the recruiter; not prior. An invitation to meet in such a situation will most probably be met with a refusal, thus for both parties. Recruiters work mainly in the B2B sector, and as they receive tens of applications per week, they just don’t have the bandwidth to respond to each of them. Moreover, the specific timeslot you require from them is not billable/or at least not in a foreseeable future and thus could generate financial loses. It is not personal.
Conclusion: It is not realistic to expect a meeting with the recruiter you are reaching out to, and the reason is not their unwillingness, but simply their lack of bandwidth (they are already involved in assignments and meetings they have been contracted for). A suggestion for an improved method of addressing a recruiter would be: Provided you are running an assignment that requires my expertise I would be delighted to further explore the fit. Kindly let me know , Regards…” You will then be contacted when such an assignment becomes available as it is in their best interest to fill openings.
4. You do not fit in category 1 or 2, could be a fit for category 3 (or not) and you need career consulting. In this case, expect to pay consulting fees. Depending on your career level and the level of the recruiter you are addressing (junior, consultant, senior, partner, etc.) expect to pay anywhere between 50-600 EUR/hour or even more for career counseling. The question to ask yourself is whether or not the person providing counseling is experienced enough to advise you on the most suitable job. Most recruiters provide such services and such a meeting could usually be set within a weeks’ time.
Now, imagine you have tens of applicants per week and they all require meetings to discuss their careers and market prospects, plus a handful of assignments a month. How would you handle those applications that match no current requirements? Would you meet most of them even if they have different backgrounds than the ones required by your current projects?
As we try to improve the quality of our services, your feedback is highly appreciated.