Putting Your Best Foot Forward

The following article was taken from the AESC's Candidates Bill of Rights - a document created to inform senior executives of how they should work with executive search consultants (also known as executive recruiters or headhunters). Read below to learn how to put your best foot forward and achieve the most out of each engagement with search consultants.

Executive Search Consultants

The executive search process is not a one-way street. Although you have a right to expect courteous, professional treatment from the search consultant and the client, there are a number of things you can do to facilitate the process and advance your standing.

  • Be honest. Under no circumstances should you inflate your resume, misrepresent your work history or "hold some cards back." Also, be genuine about your interest (or lack of) in the position. Complete and accurate disclosure by the candidate is an essential element in the search process.
  • Be flexible. Make every effort to fit appointments and interviews within your schedule.
  • Educate yourself. Conduct your own due diligence on the search firm and the client organization, and understand the unique value of retained executive search consulting.
  • Have realistic expectations. Understand that the process takes time and that you will be one of several qualified candidates.
  • Negotiate in good faith. Do not lead search consultants to believe you are negotiating only with them if you are considering offers from more than one organization.

Above all, do not think you have a "done deal" just because you develop a close relationship with the search consultant. Remember that the consultant's job is to present several qualified candidates to the client, and it is the client who makes the ultimate decision.

Making the Connection

How do you get on the "radar screen" of leading search firms around the world? One of the best ways is to register with BlueSteps, a service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). Doing so will raise your visibility with the most appropriate search firms in an efficient, economical and confidential manner. It will also ensure that any search firms who contact you from the BlueSteps global database subscribe to the highest ethics and standards as put forth by the AESC.

The more you know about the executive search process, the better you can position yourself should you become an executive search candidate. In the meantime, remember that the most successful executive searches involve those where you, the search consultant and the client know your rights and obligations within the search process and adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

Find out more about how to work with search firms by reading the full AESC Candidates Bill of Rights.


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