How to Impress an Executive Recruiter

October 2023
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“How do I get recruiters to pay attention to me?” and “How do I maximize my chances of getting shortlisted for a role?” people often ask Richard Triggs, an executive recruiter for the past 20 years.

If he’s recruiting for a CEO role for a client and advertises it, then perhaps he may receive 200 applications for this senior role. So, there’s only about 15 seconds to review each one at the outset to narrow down the pool for this opportunity. Then, he selects just 10 of those applicants for the initial interview.

In an article for Fast Company, Triggs outlines some tips and tricks to help you stand out from the crowd and make it through that first round.

Always be respectful of the recruiter’s time and show them why you deserve their attention. Don’t ask obvious questions or details already outlined in the ad. Only write a cover letter if it’s specifically requested.

Also, don’t be aggressive or leave multiple messages. “However, make sure you do follow up as each conversation is another opportunity to leave a good impression,” he says.

Share feedback with the recruiter after the meeting so they can let their client know. And if you aren’t selected, then offer to buy the recruiter coffee to talk about why and to build a relationship.

And remember to maintain a relationship with your recruiter. “They may have another fantastic job for you in the future, they may be able to introduce you to some relevant contacts in the industry useful for your career and potentially they may even recruit people into your team,” says Triggs.

Here are some more ways to impress an executive recruiter:

1. Ask specific, relevant questions in your application, aligning your résumé with the position.

2. Arrive on time, well-prepared and dressed professionally.

3. Give prompt interview feedback; let the recruiter handle salary talks.

4. Provide two direct work references; write a cover letter only if asked.

5.  Show appreciation with a thank-you note or small gift; nurture your relationship with the recruiter.

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