You've Been Contacted by an Executive Recruiter - Now What?

Senior Executive answering a phone call from an executive recruiter

5 Key Steps to Working with Executive Recruiters

As a senior executive, are you prepared for a call from an executive recruiter who has identified you as a potential source or candidate? Read on for advice on how to ensure you are not caught off guard or screened out of a new executive job opportunity before you've had a chance to prove yourself.

  • Make yourself available – executive recruiters surveyed by the AESC report one of their biggest frustrations is with executives not returning calls, or with "tenacious gatekeepers" who refuse to put the call through to the executive. Tell the right people that you do accept calls from executive search consultants.
  • Find out who’s calling – check the status and reputation of the search firm. Are they retained and a member of their industry association? Who have their previous clients been? You should feel comfortable about getting involved with their search assignment.
  • Make the most of the opportunity – understand if you are a ‘source’ (someone who can suggest suitable candidates or give industry insight) or a ‘prospect’ (someone who has been identified as a potential candidate). Use the opportunity to build a relationship with the executive recruiter.
  • Inquire about the position – if you are a prospect, the recruiter should usually give you the name of the company, position, reporting relationships and scope of the open executive position, but do note that some assignments are treated as completely confidential.
  • Make final exchanges - exchange contact information and ask if you can send a copy of your resume/CV to the recruiter. Let him or her know how to get in touch with you so you remain on the recruiter's radar screen.


BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at