How to Work with Executive Recruiters to Get a Great Role

When you get a call from an executive recruiter about a great job opportunity how can you move the process along to get a job offer? Here are 10 tips to make the most of the candidate-recruiter relationship.

  • Initial Response - Retained executive search consultants contact you when they have a specific opportunity that you might be a fit for. Respond to inquiries, whether or not you are looking or interested. By listening and sharing ideas for the job, you will be remembered.
  • Online Brand - Update your LinkedIn profile with appetizer-sized descriptions of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Google your name and what comes up? Speaking, blogging, and media mentions will enhance your online brand. Make sure your online presence illustrates your personal brand and what you are good at.
  • Resume - Recruiters will want to see your latest resume highlighting your accomplishments; make sure this up to date. You will want your resume tailored to reflect experiences relevant to the specific job opportunity. Remember that recruiters may keep old resumes so remain consistent and forthright.


  • Research - Take time to understand the job specification and research the company: products, executives, latest news, financial performance, customers, competitors, partners or any other relevant information for the role. Understand the key experience and competencies needed and assess your strengths against those requirements.
  • Interview - Come prepared to share your relevant experience for this opportunity and how you can add value to the company. During your executive interview, deliver the information directly with short examples of relevant experience.
  • Compensation - Share your current base, bonus, and additional compensation, otherwise it looks like you are trying to hide something.
  • Communication - Leverage the recruiter to prepare for and debrief after interviews. This will help you better understand your positioning for the role.
  • Passion - Express your interest for the company and role. This goes a long way with recruiters and the hiring company, with the most interested and prepared often getting the job offer.
  • Negotiation - In most cases, work through the recruiter to negotiate your offer. They can help you get to an agreement while preserving your relationship with your new employer.
  • Relationship - Remain in contact with the recruiter during on-boarding and beyond to support you throughout your career.

To learn more about how to network with executive search consultants, register for the upcoming "Top Strategies for Networking with Executive Search Consultants" webinar.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

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About the author

Kathryn Ullrich's picture

Kathryn Ullrich is a Partner in Odgers Berndtson’s Silicon Valley office and a member of the Technology and HR Practices. She focuses on senior executive searches for major corporations and venture-capital-backed companies in software, systems and services, and has specific expertise in autonomous vehicle technology, cloud, cyber security, data analytics, Internet, IoT, and SaaS. Prior to joining Odgers Berndtson, Kathryn spent nearly twenty years building her executive search practice at several firms including Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds Associates and her own boutique search firm. Earlier in her career, Kathryn worked in software product marketing at Siebel Systems (now Oracle), strategy consulting at Accenture, and engineering at GTE (now Verizon) and Motorola. She is the founder of a Silicon Valley non-profit for women in technology and actively works with clients on increasing diversity in technology. Kathryn has a B.S. cum laude in electrical engineering from University of Michigan and an MBA with top honors from UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Odgers Berndtson is a proud member of the AESC. To learn more about Odgers Berndtson, visit http://www.odgersberndtson.com/en-us.

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Share your thoughts


This is a frank and solid work of advice for executive and professional individuals who will be contacted by an executive search or recruiting professional. I see a theme of honest and objective interaction expressed and I applaud its validity. Much of the lasting impression I formulate about a prospective candidate or network contact is based upon how effectively they engage and how objectively they participate in the interchange and exchange of insights. Great advice for the candidates!

Not sure why it is necessary to provide your current compensation.

Kathryn Ullrich's picture

Clients will always want to know your current compensation before making an offer, sometimes asking for copies of W2s. By not sharing your compensation, some clients may perceive this as not being open, or worse, being dishonest or trying to hide something. Many roles require someone who is open and honest.

Thank you

Hi there

I am currently working with an executive recruiter who is proving to be very frustrating.
In over 7 weeks I have not had a single interview, even though she says she has several great positions. offering the type of money I am looking for.

I contact her on a regular basis for updates, which she says she is just setting up the interviews,she never calls me when she says she will. I believe she is misleading me, however I am not sure whether to call her out on it for fear of destroying the relationship. What makes it worse is she was recommended by a friend of mine.

what to do?

I am just going to leave here alone now as she obviously doesn't have the positions she claims she does.

Kathryn Ullrich's picture

I am sorry for your experience with this recruiter. The recruiting industry is very fragmented, with contingent and retained executive recruiters, working on searches in different industries/functions and with varying levels of quality. Make sure you are working with good recruiters in your area of expertise.

Most jobs come from outreach to your network. Think of the recruiter as an extension of your network rather than rely on one for a job. It may be time to find other recruiters in your network.

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