Recruiter Relationships

A few months ago, the C-Suite Career Catalysts asked C-level and Senior Executives a few questions about their experiences working with recruiters. One of the fascinating responses came from a question about what they (Executives) value in recruiter relationships.

Among both C-suite and Senior Executives, the #1 most-valued response was “Solid Leads / Opportunities.” I believe a few of the comments helped to clarify that selection …

– Match skill set and management philosophy with prospective company
– Knows / understands the company, CEO, opportunity, risks of company and position
– Corporate culture knowledge

What a waste of time for all concerned when recruiters contact CFOs for opportunities that are obviously not a good fit. Which begs the question, who is responsible for ensuring that recruiters can make an assessment based on a crystal clear value proposition and fit for culture?

The rest of the responses were pretty similar with the exception that reputation of the recruiter was much more important to the C-suite than to Senior Executives at large … 58% vs. 38%.

Here’s the breakdown of all the responses to the question “what do you most value in a recruiter relationship.”

ValueC-SuiteSenior Executives
Solids Leads/Opportunities
Landing a Great Position

One other consistent comment from the C-suite was around “honesty and integrity” in their relationships. While probably somewhat tied to the “confidentiality” answer, the list of comments that were added around this issue raises the importance of it in the eyes of Senior Executives and the C-suite.

The “best of the best” are looking to work with recruiters who tell them the truth, keep them informed, and contact them for opportunities that are a good fit.

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4 thoughts on “Recruiter Relationships”

  1. Cindy, did you think you could publish a blog about CFOs and Recruiters without having me comment???

    From a CFO candidate perspective, choosing to work with a recruiter that specializes in what you deliver on allows you gain comfort quickly on whether the role and cultural fit could be appropriate for you. The active CFO candidate may need to be less picky about the recruiters they work with because they are motivated to find their next employment opportunity, they should be aware that there is a difference. CFOs that are ‘keeping their eyes open’ for their next opportunity are better placed to limit who they work with to the best CFO recruiters in the market.

    It is important though to keep in mind that companies CHOOSE whether they will use a search firm and which search firm they use. From my experience, companies that don’t use a search firm are less worried about hiring the best CFO, and are more worried about the bill.

    For more of my thoughts on the subject, you may wish to read these blogs:
    1) Executive Search: Do CFOs understand the difference between Cost & Value?
    2) 4 Reasons you should use an Executive Search Firm when hiring your CFO

    Now if you’re a top-notch CFO that has been approached by a company that hasn’t hired a specialized CFO Search Firm, or by a recruiter who is not a CFO Search Expert, what does that tell you about the company that is looking to hire you?

    Samuel Dergel – The CFO Expert
    Stanton Chase International

  2. Cindy,

    As in any relationship, I think it is both parties who are responsible for clarifying value and fit. Recruiters want to put the best candidates for the position in front of the firm, and nobody wants to be put in for a role that is not best for them.


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