I’ve been working in retained executive search since 2000, and have been in contact with over 10,000 candidates. Most people don’t understand what a recruiter’s function is – they believe that a recruiter will find a job for them, not that a recruiter is reaching out to them to find a client company a candidate. Much of my time is wasted on explaining the entire process, especially to those who keep contacting me over and over again because they aren’t getting hired for one reason or another. (Personally, if someone has contacted me more than 3 times – there’s a REASON they’re not getting hired, but that’s a story for another day!)
A retained executive search professional, such as myself is hired by a company who pays me (my firm) 33 1/3% of the first year’s base salary + bonus. Generally, this is a minimum of $60,000 per search. Retained firms get paid regardless of whether they bring in a candidate or not – good firms, such as the ones I work at always fill the search with one of our candidates.
I work for the client, not the candidate. When I present a candidate to a client and the client says no – there’s a reason for it. And nothing that candidate can say or do to me will change the client’s mind. It’s nothing personal – that’s how it is.
Recruiters such as myself will ask a candidate various questions about their background, based on what is written on their resume. I often ask a candidate something about their background that is clearly written on the resume – this does not mean that I cannot read. I want to hear the candidate describe to me what it is they did in that particular position. Many resumes today are written by professional resume writers – so there is a reason I’m asking a candidate to reiterate to me what may be written on the paper in front of me.
Another question I may ask is why a candidate left one position to go to the next. If a candidate refuses to answer this – this is a red flag. It’s much better to say – “I took time off to re-evaluate my position.” or “I took time off to travel after working for 15 years in corporate America.”, than not answer. That is.. if you want to be considered as a candidate for the position.
I also ask a candidate what their salary range is. I have found in recent months that some candidates refuse to answer this. My question for asking this question is the following: if the job is paying a lot more, or a lot less than what the candidate is making, I don’t want to spend 2-3 weeks of my time interviewing, prepping and presenting a candidate only to learn from the client company that the candidate is out of reach or too junior of a candidate.
Lastly, I enjoy networking, but refuse to accept LinkedIn invitations from people who are just collecting connections. This is one of the main reasons I ask those who invite me (whom I may not know) why they want to connect. If you don’t have a valid reason – we won’t be connected.